Read-alouds have always been a favorite classroom activity of mine – and my students love them too! Reading a book aloud can really bring it to life for your students. It is also a wonderful way to build a positive classroom culture and expose your students to appropriate fluency. It also helps build language acquisition and literacy skills in a fun and engaging way.
All that being said, there is no doubt that some books work better for read alouds than others. Choosing captivating chapter books will keep your students excited and interested in reading! The following list includes my top 20 picks for great books to read aloud to your 2nd grade classroom! I know that you and your students will enjoy these titles as much as I have in my own classroom!!
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1. Gooney Bird Green by Lois Lowry
Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry will grab your kid’s attention and won’t let go till the very end. They will love hearing all about the quirky new girl in school, Gooney Bird Greene. She’s feisty, funny, and totally eccentric in every way!
2. Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo takes readers on a heartwarming journey in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. This book an absolute favorite of mine with it’s beautiful message about the miracle of love and loss that is experienced through the travels of a little rabbit.
3. The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Boxcar Children Books by Gertrude Chandler Warner are classic chapter books that have been adored by kids for years! Your students will love the story of Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, four orphaned siblings, who make a home in an abandoned red boxcar they find in the woods! Reading these books aloud will allow your student’s imagination to run wild!
4. Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Clementine will quickly become a favorite among your students with its relatable and lovable main character Clementine. Your kids will be laughing non-stop as they hear about all the trouble that Clementine gets herself into!
5. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald is a lifelong favorite of mine, and after you share this hysterical story with your class, it will be a favorite of yours, and theirs, too. With her upside-down house that always smells of cookies, and a magical hump on her back, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is an imaginative and adorable choice for your read aloud.
6. Frindle by Andrew Clements
The creativity in your classroom will skyrocket while reading Frindle by Andrew Clements aloud. A clever story about the power of words and letting your imagination run wild will keep your class totally engaged – and probably have them inventing new and creative words along the way!
7. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
Your class will enjoy a non-stop thrill ride with this action-packed tale about a thrilling dogsled race. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner tells the tale of a young boy who must win a dogsled race to save his Grandfather’s farm. A heartwarming story that also happens to meet Common Core State Standards.
8. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis is my absolute favorite children’s chapter book. The second book in the Chronicle of Narnia series, this book will enchant and amaze your students as they travel with four siblings through a wardrobe into a magical land called Narnia. Even though it is the second book, it is perfectly acceptable as a stand-alone read.
9. Ramona and Beezus Series by Beverly Cleary
A favorite series of mine since I was a kid, the The Complete Ramona Collection by Beverly Cleary follows the life of a funny, charismatic Ramona as she makes her way through this world. Her curiosity and spunk will have your students begging you to read all the heartwarming titles in this series.
10. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
A long beloved story, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White tells a tale of friendship, love, life, and death. This tender story focuses on the relationships among various farm animals, especially the special bond between pig, Wilbur, and spider, Charlotte. Your kids will love hearing this story over and over again.
11. The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney
Kids love class pets! Which means that they will adore The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney! This cute book follows the adventures that class pet, Humphrey, embarks on as he goes to a different student’s house each weekend!
12. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
The first in the Fudge series by Judy Blume, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing may be about fourth grade, but your second graders will love it! Many of your kids will relate to the sibling rivalry between Peter Hatcher and his mischievous little brother, Fudge. Filled with humorous adventures and debacles, your kids will be hooked on Judy Blume after this entertaining story!
13.The Miniature World of Marvin and James by Elisa Broach
The Miniature World of Marvin & James by Elisa Broach is a sweet book about James and his best friend – a pet beetle named Marvin! When James goes on vacation for a week, Marvin is left home alone with his cousin Elaine. Your students will love hearing about all the crazy adventures that they experience while home alone!
14. Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon
Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon is the first in this lively series about a charismatic little sister with a BIG personality. With siblings who want nothing to do with her, Dory is left to her own devices to entertain herself – and your students will love the hysterical situations she gets herself in to.
15. Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive by Jack Chabert
The Eerie Elementary series is aimed at newly independent readers and does a great job keeping students entertained and wanting to read more! The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert is the first in this spooky series and follows Sam Graves as he tries to defend himself and his friends against the evil school.
16. Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
Ivy & Bean by Annie Burrows is the first in the Ivy and Bean series and tells the endearing tale of two girls who could not be more different and are certain that they will never be friends. But when Bean finds herself in trouble and Ivy comes to her rescue, the girls reconsider a possible friendship.
17. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
Kids love the world’s funniest kindergartener, Junie B. Jones! And Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park is the first in this series and the perfect way to introduce your class to all the wonder that is Junie B. Jones. Follow Junie B. Jones as she makes her way through the first day of school and all of the nervousness that comes with it.
18. Holes by Louis Sachar
This Newberry Medal winner will be a huge hit with your entire class! Holes by Louis Sachar is a modern day classic that tells the tale of Stanley Yelnats and the other boys at Camp Green Lake detention camp. Your students will be on the edge of their seats as they try to figure out why the boys at this camp are forced to dig holes in the ground day in and day out.
19. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is a magical tale that will capture the hearts of your students. Readers will love hearing about all of the whimsical things that happen after James drops some magic crystals near his aunt’s peach tree. It’s a fun-filled story that will not soon be forgotten!
20. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg tells the story of Claudia Kincaid, a young girl who decides to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her younger brother Jamie. Your kids will love following these siblings as they work to uncover the mystery behind an angel statue purchased by the museum.
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“Teaching 4th grade for four years has helped shape me as a teacher who is passionate about creating a classroom that engages and inspires my students, integrates technology-driven learning, offers real-world experiences, and breeds creativity. I have taught highly diverse classes with high populations of ESL learners, Special Ed learners, and behavior challenges–granting me a deep understanding on the importance of personalizing learning for each and every student. As a teacher, I am constantly learning and evolving, but the one constant is always putting my students first!”