Taking care of our Earth is a big job. Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with these Earth Day read alouds and activities for the 2nd grade classroom. These lessons and activities make it easy to celebrate Earth Day every day!
All About Earth
These books take a look at why Earth is unlike any other place in the universe, and why it is so important to respect our home.
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1. Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years
By Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by David Litchfield
Earth explains all about herself in this humorous first-person story. This is a perfect text to teach or review point of view.
Book Activity: In this story, Earth loves to talk about all the things that make her great. Encourage your students to do the same with the Earth Day Brag Tag, found in our Brag Tag Bundle.
2. Our Planet! There’s No Place Like Earth
By Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by David Litchfield
Book Activity: Our Planet! is part of a growing series of books about planets in the solar system. Check out the Order the Planets practice page in the Early Finishers Bundle.
3. One Earth
By Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Rogerio Coelho
Book Activity: Color along as you read with the Color by Number pack. The pack features adorable images to celebrate Earth Day, and doubles as quick math fact practice!
4. Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth
Written and Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Book Activity: Written as a how-to guide to life on Earth, Here We Are gives readers a glimpse into the beauty and wonder of our planet. Have students compose their own “how-to guide” for one simple thing they can do to help the Earth. For example, “How to sort the recycling,” or “How to conserve water.”
5. Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter To Our Planet
By April Pulley Sayre
Book Activity: Thank You Earth, is filled with stunning pictures of the plants, animals, and landscapes that make our planet amazing. For this activity, let students practice their photography skills! If you are able, take your students on a walk around the school. With a tablet or classroom camera, allow each student to take a picture of something on Earth for which they are thankful. Their perspectives will amaze you! Write about it and share your picture with the class.
6. We Are All Connected: Caring For Each Other and the Earth
by Gabi Garcia, illustrated by Natalia Jimenez Osorio
Book Activity: You will need a large ball of string for this activity. Gather all the students in a circle. Give one student the ball of yarn, and have them name a way they can care for the Earth. While holding on to the edge of the string, the student will pass the yarn to another person. Keep going until all students have passed the yarn – you should now have a large web of string. Discuss how our actions, no matter how big or small, connect us to other people. What happens to the web if part of the string is dropped? How do our actions connect us to the Earth?
7. My Friend Earth
by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Francesca Sanna
Book Activity: Practice informational writing skills with the Earth Day Writing Prompts. These writing prompts are no-prep, and easy to use in the classroom at any time!
Earth Day Activism
More than ever, young people are passionate about making positive changes to protect our planet. Explore Earth Day Activism with this collection of books.
8. This Class Can Save the Planet
By Stacy Tornio, illustrated by Kristen Brittain
If anyone can save the planet, it’s this class. Yes, the class you have right now! Everyone can play a small part in helping the Earth, and those small pieces can add up in a big way.
Book Activity: Go all in for Earth Day with this Earth Day classroom transformation.
9. Old Enough to Save the Planet
By Loll Kirby, illustrated by Adelinia Lirius
This book features examples of young activists around the world who are taking on the challenges of climate change.
Book Activity: Identify a young change-maker from this book. Have students make a video sharing important facts about this person. Share the video with the class.
10. Dear Earth…From Your Friends In Room 5
by Erin Dealey, illustrated by Luisa Uribe
The students in Room 5 want to know how they can help take care of the Earth – so they write the planet a letter. Filled with actionable suggestions on how to better care for our planet, Dear Earth… is a wonderful addition to the classroom library for Earth Day (or any day!) celebrations.
Book Activity: This book is a wonderful mentor text for friendly letter writing. Have students write their own “Dear Earth…” letter with ways they promise to care for the Earth. Check out these top tips for friendly letter writing.
11. We are Water Protectors
By Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade
This Caldecott Medal-winning picture book explores the essential relationship of Indigenous people as stewards of the Earth’s water. Water “affects and connects us all.” We must all be water protectors!
Book Activity: Explore the water cycle with the Life Cycles Directed Drawing Pack.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Taking care of our planet goes beyond the 3 Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, but everyone can do a small part to help take care of the Earth. This collection of books explores how to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
12. What if Everybody Did That?
By Ellen Javernick, illustrated by Colleen M. Madden
What if everyone tossed their trash on the ground? Can you imagine what the world would be like if this were true? This story helps students explore the consequences of their actions and to make wise choices.
Book Activity: Complete your own recycling sort with the Earth Day Lapbook. This lapbook comes with sorts, writing prompts, drawings, and activities to explore the meaning of Earth Day.
13. Little Turtle and the Changing Sea
by Becky Davies, illustrated by Jennie Poh
So much has changed in Little Turtle’s sea, that it is hard to recognize home. Can Little Turtle continue on in this environment?
Book Activity: Learn more about sea turtles and their habitats with the Directed Drawing Life Cycle Pack – Sea Turtles. Research the life cycle of a sea turtle and draw a picture to match.
14. What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting Our Planet
by Jess French
More resource book than read-aloud, What A Waste is a deep dive into the intricacies and interconnectedness of humans and their ecosystems. Read a few fast facts a day with the class, or put in a classroom nonfiction reading center. This is a great model for analyzing nonfiction text.
Book Activity: Practice recycling in your classroom! Have students participate in a recycling sorting activity. Using (clean and safe!) recyclable items like aluminum cans, glass jars, plastic bottles, magazines, etc – have students sort items into their correct recycling bin, compost, or trash. Then, practice spelling and sorting skills with the Earth Day Word Work activity.
15. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and The Recycling Women of the Gambia
By Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
This nonfiction text tells the story of Isatou Ceesay, and the positive change she brought to her village in Gambia by thinking of a new use for a troublesome material – plastic bags.
Book Activity: Have students participate in a STEM “Creation Station.” Students will explore how to turn discarded or recyclable materials into something new and useful. For example, a plastic milk gallon can become a bird feeder. What new and amazing ideas will your creative students think up?