Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Selecting Read Aloud Books in K-5

For the last month I have been consumed with creating e-books that serve as guides for teachers conducting read alouds with children. I have read/reread hundreds of books in order to generate two modest units of study at each grade level. One of the challenges that has surfaced as I work in schools is the selection of texts that represent important content, high quality and are inclusive texts that children would more than likely not be able to read well on their own. The e-books are still be developed and when completed I will post a link as they will be downloadable from iTunes.

Here are some of the texts I've selected. Not all of the texts would be used as read alouds, but also as possible independent and paired reading choices. I also would add books via student selections. Alongside the reading will be art making/sense-making.

Unit 1: Traditional Stories and Wheat
Galdone, Paul . (1985 ). The Little Red Hen. New York: Sandpiper. 
Gershator, David and Phillis Gershator. (1998). Bread is for Eating. Illustrated by Emma Shaw-Smith. New York: Henry Holt. 
Hairston, Meredith. (2011). Little Red Hen. Illustrated by Jes Golden. Digital Story/Video. Retrieved 12.31.12 
Paulsen, Gary. (1998). The Tortilla Factory. Illustrated by Ruth W. Paulsen.  New York: Sandpiper. 
Sturges, Philemon. (2002). The Little Red Hen Makes Pizza. Illustrated by Amy Walrod. New York: Puffin. 

Unit II. Libraries and Reading
Gonzalez, Lucia. (2008). The Storyteller’s Candle: La velita de los cuentos. Illustrated by Lulu Delacre, San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
Hest, Amy. (2007). Mr. George Baker. Illustrated by John J. Muth. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Books. 
Mora, Pat. (2000). Tomas and the Library Lady. Illustrated by Raul Colon. New York: Dragonfly Books. 
Ruurs, Margaret. (2005). My Librarian is a Camel: How Books are Brought Around the World. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. 
Simon Schuster Video. (2012). Biblioburro. Digital Video in Spanish with English subtitles. Retrieved 12.31.12 from: 
Winter, Jeanette. (2005/2012).  The Librarian of Basra (Digital Version). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Retrieved 12.31.12 from: 

Grade 1:
Unit 1: Animal Migration
Berkes, Marianne. (2010). Going Home: Mystery of Animal Migration. Illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio.  Nevada City, CA: Dawn. 
Davies, Nicola. (2005). One Tiny Turtle. Illustrated by Jane Chapman. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. 
Dowson, Nick. (2011). North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration. Illustrated by Patrick Benson. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Books.
Miller, Lucas. Going Down to Mexico. (The Monarch Butterfly Song). Video. Retrieved 12.31.12 from
O’Flatharta, Antoine. (2009). Hurry and the Monarch. Illustrated by Meilo So. New York: Dragonfly Books. 

Unit 2: Ingenuity and Survival (More to come...)
Honda, Tetsuya. (1992). Wild Horse Winter. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. 
Kamkwamba, William and Bryan Mealer. (2012). The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. New York: Dial. 
Seyfi, Philip. (2010). Dosanko Horses. Japanese Blog, LingualLift. Retrieved 12.31.12 from From the Internet

Unit 3: Fables
Bruchac, Joseph. (2003). Turtle’s Race with Beaver. Illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. New York: Dial.
Lionni, Leo. (1974). Fish is Fish. New York: Dragonfly Books. 
Mora, Pat.  (2001). The Race of Toad and Deer. Illustrated by Domi. Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books. 
Paye, Won-Ldy and Margaret H. Lippert. (2005).  Head, Body, Legs: A Story from  Liberia. Illustrated by Julie Pachkis. New York: Square Fish. 
Pinkney, Jerry. (2000). Aesop’s Fables. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. 
Stevens, Janet. (1985). The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable. New York: Holiday House. 

Grade 2:
Unit 1: Beginnings: Science and Mythologies
deGrasse Tyson, Neil, Ph.D. (2012). What is The Most Astounding Fact You can Share With Us About the Universe?  You Tube video.
Fox, Karen C. (2011). Older Than the Stars. Illustrated by Nancy Davis.Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
Grady, Monica. (2007). Stardust from Space. Illustrated by Lucia DeLeiris. London: Frances Lincoln Books.
Kelsey, Elin. (2012). You Are Stardust. Illustrated by Soyeon Kim.  Toronto, ON: Owl Kids Books. 
Nelson, S.D (Lakota). (2003). The Star People: A Lakota Story. New York: Harry Abrams.
O'Brien, May (Wongutha). (2010).  The Legend of the Seven Sisters: A Traditional Aboriginal Story from Western Australia. Illustrated by Sue Wyatt. Canberra, ACT: Aboriginal Press.
Sayre, Alice Pulley. (2005). Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust. Illustrated by Ann Jonas. New York: Greenwillow.
Wlliamson, Ray A. and Jean Guard Monroe.  (2007). They Dance in the Sky: Native American Star Myths. Illustrated by Edgar Stewart. New York: Sandpiper.

Unit 2: The People and the Place: the Himalayan Mountains
Jenkins, Steve. (2002). The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest. New York: Sandpiper.
Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. (2010). The Chiru of High Tibet: A True Story. Illustrated by Linda Wingerter. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Books.
Morris, Jackie. (2007).  The Snow Leopard. London: Frances Lincoln.
Reynolds, Jan. (2007). Himalaya: Vanishing Cultures. New York: Lee & Low Books.
Soros, Barbara. (2007). Tenzin’s Deer. Illustrated by Danuta Mayer. Cambridge, MA: Barefoot Books.

Intermediate Grades 3 to 5
Unit 1: Charles Darwin and Evolution
Campbell, Eileen & Judy Rand. (2011). Charlie and Kiwi: An Evolutionary Adventure. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. New York: Atheneum. 
This is a link to the website, Charlie & Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure, that accompanies the book. 
Chin, Jason. (2012). Island: A Story of the Gal├ípagos. New York: Roaring Brook Press. 
Hoberman, Mary Ann  and Linda Winston (Eds.). (2009). The Tree that Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.
Jenkins, Steve. (2002). Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution. New York: Houghton MIfflin.
Lasky, Kathryn. (2009). One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary adventures of Charles Darwin. Illustrated by Matthew Trueman. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. 
Loxton, Daniel. (2010). Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press.
McGinty, Alice B. (2009). Darwin: With Glimpses into His Private Journal & Letters. Illustrated by Mary Azarian. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. 
Schanzer, Rosalyn. (2009). What Darwin Saw: The Journey that Changed the World. Washington D.C.: National Geographic.
Schertle, Alice. (2007). We. Illustrated by Kenneth Addison. New York: Lee and Low Books.
Sidman, Joyce. (2010). Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors. Illustrated by Becky Prange. New York: Houghton Mifflin. 
Sis, Peter. (2003). The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Wood, A.J. and Clint Twist. (2009). Charles Darwin and the Beagle Adventure. Templar.

Grade 5
Unit 1: Observing and Chronicling 
Ellabbad, Mohieddine. (2006). The Illustrator's Notebook. Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.
Hooper, Meredith. (2001). Antarctic Journal. Illustrated by Lucia de Leiris. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.
Obed, Ellen Bryan. (2012). Twelve Kinds of Ice. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Powzyk, Joyce Ann. (1998). In Search of Lemurs: My Days and Nights in a Madagascar Rain ForestWashington, D.C.: National Geographic.
Pratt-Serafini, Kristin Joy. (2002). Saguaro Moon: A Desert Journal. Nevada City, CA: Dawn.
Sis, Peter. (1998). Tibet through the Red Box. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Wallace, Mary. (2008). Inuksuk Journey: An Artist at the top of the World. Toronto, ON: Owlkids.
Webb, Sophie. (2011). Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Webb, Sophie. (2004). Looking for Seabirds: Journals from an Alaskan Voyage. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Webb, Sophie. (2000). My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Wright-Frierson, Virginia. (2003). A North American Rain Forest ScrapbookNew York: Sandpiper.
Wright-Frierson, Virginia. (2002). A Desert Scrapbook: Dawn to Dusk in Sonora Desert. New York: Sandpiper.
Wright-Frierson, Virginia. (2002). An Island Scrapbook: Dawn to Dusk on a Barrier Island. New York: Sandpiper.


  1. These look like great books - the kind that would engage while instructing the children about important cultural and scientific information. We need more people like you engaging in childhood education!

    1. So nice of you to say Laurie. Please feel free to add to the list.