Reading aloud to children is one of my favorite activities in this world! I get really into the characters and read with all kinds of voices. I usually start the year by reading chapter books that are right at grade-level for my students and then move quickly to a few years beyond to build the vocabulary and interest in longer stories. This page is dedicated to FABULOUS read-alouds that I used with my second graders over the years. There are many more out there, so if you have a MUST READ, be sure to leave it in the comment section!
1. ANYTHING BY AVI- He has been around for a long time and is a fantastic writer! He has a lot of different genres, but his adventures are my favorite. This author definitely knows how to write page turners and how to fully develop his characters. BEST PART-THESE BOOKS ARE GREAT FOR THE BOYS and the GIRLS. The main character in Poppy is a little girl mouse, while Windcatcher's is an 11 year old boy. Both are full of continuous adventure and intriguing characters. 
Poppy is a book that I have read to my classes for the past 10 years.  I give it five stars because I never tire of reading it! I have former students notice me carrying it in the hall and stop to say, "Oh your reading POPPY?  I still LOOOOVE that book!"  Some hear me reading as they pass in the hallway and stop to listen for a few seconds, smile, and give me a thumbs up.  I've even had some come back and borrow the books once they reach the reading level or to use if for activities in upper grades.  It is THAT good!  Windcatcher isn't far behind, the mystery in the book to find the treasure makes it a five star book too.  Avi is SO creative and intertwines two stories from different centuries.

I have two boys and a former Superintendent used to come into our rooms and say, "Remember to have a lot of high-interest books for boys. We need to catch them early!"  I have two boys of my own and this really resonated high with me. Yes, they love non-fiction, but finding great fiction is important too.  I came across this article by James Moloney that is very interesting.  

2. Skinnybones by Barbara Park.  Yes! The same author of the Junie B. Jones series.  This book is hilarious and the main character is funny. It isn't like the Junie series though as the main character is upper elementary, but my second graders have LOVED it each year! The way the character talks directly to the listener is very endearing.  It is an EXCELLENT example for adding "voice" to writing! 
The titles of the chapters are SO FUNNY!  My class giggled everytime I told them, "Tomorrow we will read...."
3. The Haunted Hotel A to Z Mysteries- This series IS written at a 2nd grade level and your students will love them all!  I start out with this book as my read aloud to introduce the series and a mystery unit that I got from Beth Newingham's website.  This book is FABULOUS for discussing setting.  Most kids have been in a hotel before and can relate well. I turn out most of the lights in the room to set the tone. Your students will love Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose! After this book and unit, my mystery book tubs are cleaned out for the rest of the year...especially A to Z's!
4. Kaya-The American Girl Doll Series- Now I must admit when I read that the boys in the class groan a little, but they end up being the ones to remind me that I need to read our chapter book each day.  This book has a lot of adventure in the outdoors!  What I love most about this historical fiction is that the author describes what Native Americans did during a typical day, how they survived with what they had,  and what the inside of the tepee is like...all within the context of the story!  

I always play Native American music from youtube before I begin reading and then taper it off so that they can all hear.  I kick it back in as we finish and as I put the book away.  I also pulled up some pictures of what they were talking about on my Smart board.

I'll keep adding to the list!  What do you read to your primary students?  

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