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Best Read Alouds for 2nd Grade

Literacy, Read Alouds

Written by: Angie Olson

We know that reading aloud is crucial to literacy in the classroom. Whether through novel studies or engaging picture books these help us teach our students those literacy standards that are going to help them learn and grow! So, we created a “best read alouds for 2nd grade” list that gives you 15 amazing picture books and 15 enthralling chapter books that will capture your 2nd-grade readers' attention.

These titles are wonderful to sprinkle into any lesson and throughout the school day. Best of all – the stories will remain in your student's hearts for years to come.

15 picture books and 15 chapter books to capture 2nd-grade readers' attention

Also, enjoy this wonderful blog post that lists the 20 read alouds that are a must for your classroom library!

Note: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

But First, Graphic Organizers

Take your picture book and novel studies to the next level with novel graphic organizers focusing on 18 different comprehension skills, there is something here for every book on this list!

Jump to Read Aloud Type

Picture Books

Novel Studies

Picture Book Recommendations:

1. A Bad Case of Stripes

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A Bad Case of Stripes is one of those tried and true favorites for your students and a colorful addition to any library. Your students will love this fun tale as Camila Cream learns that being true to yourself is truly the best medicine!

2. Stellaluna

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Fly away with Stellaluna! This book is great to tie in with a fun science unit on bats or a great choice for the month of October. The sweet illustrations in this book tug on your heart strings as this lovable character struggles to find who she is.

4. Library Lion

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Library Lion is a book that is a roaring good time! Who doesn't love your local library? Well, this lion surely does! This book is one that is great for introducing the importance of rule-following, but also brings in the fun of a lion cuddled up for storytime.

5. Enemy Pie

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If you're looking fun a captivating book for those social lessons in class then Enemy Pie is a great pick! A young boy feels like his world is rocked when Jeremy Ross moves into the neighborhood. After a task given by his dad, he may just learn how to make his best enemy become his very best friend.

6. The Invisible Boy

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No one likes to feel invisible, and the book The Invisible Boy is a great lesson in empathy as well as compassion. Brian feels like he is invisible in his class. Whether its lunch, birthday parties, or kickball he just doesn't feel like anyone sees him. That's until Justin moves into his class and he begins to feel a lot more seen.

7. The Day the Crayons Quit

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The Day the Crayons Quit will have your students rolling with laughter. Duncan's crayons have a bone to pick with him. Read through their letters as they let him know their grievances and enjoy the fun that this book will create in your next read-aloud.

8. Rosie Revere, Engineer

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If you're looking for a great picture book that can also lean into STEAM Rosie Revere Engineer is a great find! Rosie Revere was a great engineer and loved to create new inventions! So what happens when her Aunt Rose wants to fly? Rosie steps up to create a new invention that will put a smile on your student's faces.

9. The Bad Seed

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The Bad Seed is a comical tale that follows a seed that believes he is just one BAD seed. So what happens when he decides he doesn't want to be bad anymore? Your students will be dying to find out!

10. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

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We all know the story of the 3 Little Pigs, but what if the story isn't what it seemed? The Big Bad Wolf comes forward in this tale to share his point of view of the events from that timeless classic. This is a great story to teach point of view and how there are always two sides to every story.

11. Henry's Freedom Box

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Based on the true story of the escaped slave Henry Box Brown the book Henry's Freedom Box takes you through the tale of how this man escaped to freedom. This is a great book to have on hand, and one that your students won't forget!

12. The Proudest Blue

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A beautiful story about the hijab and family, Faizah is excited for the first day of school. Not only that but for her sister Asiya's first day wearing her hijab. While the blue piece is beautiful to her she learns that not everyone sees it that way. Faizah will need to learn new ways to be strong and confident. This is a beautiful tale written by Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad.

13. Koala Lou

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Koala Lou has started feeling a bit out of place after she's no longer the only koala her mom cares for. In an attempt to hear her mother say the words, “Koala Lou I do love you,” she enters the Bush Olympics. Will she win the race or will she learn something far more important?

14. Salt in His Shoes

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Salt in His Shoes is a hit for any fans of Michael Jordan or sports in general. Michael wants nothing more than to be tall so he can play basketball better. His mom says that he will improve he just needs hard work, prayer, and a little bit of salt in his shoes. This inside look into the childhood of Michael Jordan helps emphasize that with hard work anything is possible.

15. We Don't Eat Our Classmates

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The book We Don't Eat Our Classmates will create plenty of giggles during your read-aloud time. This book follows a sweet dinosaur Penelope Rex as she enters her class full of…humans! As she learns the hard lesson that it's not fun to be bitten, your students will have a great time with some colorful and fun illustrations!

Novel Studies:

The One and Only Ivan

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The book The One and Only Ivan follows Ivan the gorilla who has been in an enclosure in the mall for 27 years. His way of life is his version of normal, that is until he meets Ruby the elephant. Through her, he begins to see his world, home, and art with a new perspective.

2. Wild Robot

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Wild robot is a great tale of survival and what happens when technology meets the wilderness. Roz is a robot who finds herself in the middle of a remote island with no clue on how she got there. As she begins to create a new home for herself her past soon comes back to haunt her.

3. The Cricket in Times Square

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Chester the Cricket finds himself in New York City, and as a country cricket he is in for a culture shock! With his friends Tucker the mouse and Harry Cat they take on New York City through some fun adventures. The Cricket in Times Square is a wonderful tale with plenty of fun through the pages. Who knows? Chester the Cricket may just have a few things to teach his city friends.

4. The Chocolate Touch

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Though your students may not believe that you can have too much of a good thing – they may think differently after the book The Chocolate Touch. John Midas is about to learn that the gift of turning anything into chocolate may not be the gift he thinks is it.

5. BFG

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The BFG is a tried and true tale that always has your students laughing and ready to read more novels by Roald Dahl. The giant (BFG) and his little girl Sophie must work together to save the world from nine blood-thirsty giants. Can they save the day before more children meet their fate?

6. Shiloh

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Shiloh is the perfect book to read for any animal lover! This book is one that will capture your students' hearts and beg for their own Shiloh! It also is one that asks the question how far will you go to do the right thing?

7. My Father's Dragon

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My Father's Dragon is a long-time favorite and a great quick adventure book for your students. With dreams of flying, Elmer Elevator is off to Wild Island to save a baby dragon that is being held by cruel captors. Along the way Elmer uses unusual items in his backpack to bypass some crazy animals with odd demands to make his way to save the day!

8. Matilda

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Matilda is a beautiful story of a little girl with superhuman abilities. With parents that find her a nuisance, and a principal that is just plain mean, Matilda will find ways to fight back and find her way. This a book that will surely capture your students' hearts and a great book for a compare and contrast activity with the 1996 movie.

9. Little House in the Big Woods

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The first of 9 books in the series Little House in the Big Woods takes place in 1871 with four-year-old Laura. Through her story, we get to hear about life in rural Wisconsin and what it's like to be a child in that era. This a great book for a quick look at the past and to engage your students in a time beyond their own.

10. The Doll People

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The Doll People opens up a world similar to Toy Story where dolls live in a world all their own when their owners are away. In this world there are rules and consequences too! Annabelle Doll has been following those rules for decades, but a chance to go and find her missing aunt may push her to test those boundaries.

11. Miss Daisy Is Crazy

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The book Miss Daisy is Crazy is a wonderful introduction into the My Weird School Series. This is a great series for those students looking for a hilarious book and quick read. This is also a book that is great to use on those students who push back on reading chapter books. Enjoy some fun laughs and an easily enjoyable read-aloud with Miss Daisy is Crazy.

12. The Mouse and the Motorcycle

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By the popular author Beverly Cleary, Mouse and the Motorcycle is an adorable read as you follow along with Ralph. When a young boy brings his toy motorcycle to the inn Ralph cannot help but take it for a ride. With all the fun though comes some obstacles that make this book an action paced read surely to entertain your students until the end.

13. Flat Stanley

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There is no book more iconic to second grade than the story of Flat Stanley. Stanley Lambchop, recently flattened by a bulletin board, takes on plenty of adventures in his new 2D shape! This book leads to plenty of fun projects, and also plenty of other books in the series that your students can gravitate toward when you're done!

14. Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots

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Your students will be inferencing and asking questions until the very end of this thrilling book! In Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots there is a new teacher in the rowdy third grade class at Bailey Elementary. She has an odd accent, is from Transylvania, bought the creepy house down the street, and her favorite green brooch won't stop shining! The students are desperate to get to the bottom of the question, is their teacher really a vampire?

15. I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic

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Second graders love the story of the Titanic, and the book I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic opens up the possibility of reading all of the other thrilling I Survived books! This book will have your students sitting on the edge of their seats!

Whether it's a chapter book or a picture book these tales are ones that will surely peak your students interests in literacy! Are you ready to tackle some reading strategies as you work through this list? These 13 powerful strategies are a must!

Also, check out these amazing children's books on women's history to add to your growing list!

best read alouds for 2nd grade


  1. Jen

    Great books

  2. Josefina Lopez

    I love these books for my library.


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Hey there!  I’m Angie, owner of Lucky Little Learners. Our #1 goal is to support K-2 teachers.  We provide unlimited access to over 20,000 printables that are aligned to your standards.