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Home » Blog » Literacy » Top 20 Read Alouds for a 2nd Grade Classroom

Top 20 Read Alouds for a 2nd Grade Classroom

Literacy, Read Alouds

Written by: Angie Olson

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.

Choosing captivating chapter books will keep your students excited and interested in reading!  The following list includes my top picks for novels to read aloud to your 2nd grade classroom, as well as chapter book series to hook young readers.  I know that you and your students will enjoy these titles as much as I have in my own classroom! (Plus, read to the end for a tip on making your read aloud time even more meaningful!)

Diverse read alouds also give students the opportunity to learn about various people, cultures and customs they may not be familiar with yet. Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, author and educator, says:

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.”

Let’s give our students the gift of story to let their minds and hearts soar.

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Read Aloud Novels for 2nd Grade

1. Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!
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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.

2. The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

Brothers Caleb and Bobby Gene are ready for a summer of adventure, but they never imagined they’d meet a friend like Styx Malone. The trio set off on wild adventures, only to discover that there’s more to their new friend than meets the eye. A story of family, friendship, and facing unknown futures. The Season of Styx Malone

3. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

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The unique narrator of this book is Red, an old oak tree. When a new family moves to Red’s neighborhood, a young girl ties a wish to Red’s branches – a wish for a friend. This story of bravery, acceptance and new beginnings will speak to young readers. Short chapters and straightforward writing make this book a great read aloud to share with the class during any spare moment of the day. Wishtree

4. Willodeen by Katherine Applegate

Like many people, Willodeen is an animal lover. And not just any kind of animals, but the magical creatures that inhabit the land of Perchance. When nature takes a turn for the worse, it is up to Willodeen to restore the balance. 

5. Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Winner of the Newbery Medal, Hello, Universe tells the story of neighbors and classmates, who are brought together in the most unusual way. Told through multiple perspectives, students will find a way to relate to the characters, who are all trying to make their way through the world in their own ways. A novel of choices, changes, and connection. 

6. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Roz the Robot crashes on a remote wild island and is forced to use her instincts to survive. Readers will be drawn to Roz, as she realizes that she is capable of more than she was ever programmed to do. A heartwarming story about resilience, friendship, and the family we choose. The Wild Robot

7. Gooney Bird Green by Lois Lowry

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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!

8. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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.

9. Frindle by Andrew Clements

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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!

10. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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.

11. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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.

12. The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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!

13. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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!

14.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!

15. Doll People by Ann M. Martin

Doll People by Ann M. Martin revolves around the lives of the Doll family, who are dolls that come to life when no one is watching. The story follows the adventures of Annabelle Doll, who embarks on a quest to discover her missing Aunt Sarah, encountering miniature worlds and making unexpected friendships along the way. “The Doll People” is a charming tale that celebrates imagination and the magic of childhood play.

16. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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!

17. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is a heartwarming novel that tells the story of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in captivity at a shopping mall and spends his days painting and reflecting on his life. Through Ivan's perspective, the book explores themes of friendship, freedom, and the importance of empathy, making it a touching and thought-provoking read for both children and adults.

18. The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFG by Roald Dahl follows the adventures of Sophie, a young girl who befriends the Big Friendly Giant (BFG), a kind-hearted giant who catches dreams and has a mission to stop the evil giants from harming children. Together, they embark on a quest to save the world's children from the gruesome giants, making it a whimsical and imaginative tale filled with humor, friendship, and the power of dreams.

19. The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo tells the story of Despereaux Tilling, a small and courageous mouse with big ears and an even bigger heart. Despereaux sets out on a quest to rescue Princess Pea, a human girl, and in doing so, he embarks on a grand adventure filled with bravery, love, and the power of forgiveness. This heartwarming and beautifully written tale is a celebration of the extraordinary in the ordinary and the importance of following one's heart.

20. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo centers around a young girl named Opal Buloni who moves to a new town and adopts a scruffy dog she names Winn-Dixie. With Winn-Dixie as her loyal companion, Opal befriends various eccentric characters in her community, uncovering their stories and forming deep connections along the way. This touching and insightful story explores themes of friendship, family, and the transformative power of companionship.

Turn Read Aloud Time into a Teachable Moment (or Two)

Being teacher ourselves, we knew it would be valuable to have comprehension sheets to deepen your little learners' comprehension of these amazing books.

Our growing resource will have comprehension questions and activities for all 20 of these beloved reads.

Get the Read Aloud Companion


Chapter Books to Hook Young Readers

1. Zoey and Sassafrass by Asia Citro

Zoey is a kind and creative girl who loves spending time with her cat, Sassafras. When it comes to keeping young readers hooked, Zoey and Sassafras is a perfect story storm: friendship, adventure, magical animals, STEM, and more! The first book in the series, Dragons and Marshmallows, Zoey and Sassafras must figure out how to help a sick baby dragon. Will the friends be able to figure it out?

2. Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet by Megan Frazer Blakemore

Frankie and her classmates are excited to welcome a new pet into their classroom. But there’s one problem – no one can agree on what pet is best! Using science, math, and imagination, Frankie sets out to discover the perfect solution. Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet

3. Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly

8-year-old Marisol feels a little different from everyone else in her small town. As summer vacation begins, will she be able to save her friendship, and face her fear of climbing the tree in her backyard? Told with warmth, grit, and heart, Marisol is sure to appeal to 2nd grade readers. Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey

4. The Carver Chronicles by Karen English

Welcome to Carver Elementary School! Follow along with Gavin, the new kid at school, as he tries to make new friends, and learns a valuable lesson about responsibility. The Carver Chronicles

5. Meet Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi

Yasmin is a creative and curious 2nd grader, who is always finding thoughtful solutions to daily problems. Each Yasmin story centers around family, school, and real life issues that many 2nd graders deal with: trying a new sport, a new food, or making a new friend. Readers are sure to make a new friend in Yasmin! Meet Yasmin

6. Layla and the Bots by Vicki Fang

Layla is a girl who loves STEAM activities and is in a band with her rockin’ robots – how cool is that? Whether they are designing a dog amusement park, fixing go-carts, or inventing a new cupcake recipe, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this series. Layla and the Bots

7. JoJo Makoons by Dawn Quigley

JoJo Makoons is funny and smart – even if her mom isn’t always thrilled with her clever ideas. Young readers will giggle along with JoJo as she shares her observations on the world, tries to always do the right thing, and be a good friend. 

8. Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot

Jaxon starts off his day like any other, until he visits his grandmother, who is (surprise!) a witch!  Jaxon is tasked with a magical mission – to return a bagful of dragons to their magical land. Can he do it, or are things about to get wild? Dragons in a Bag

9. The Data Set by Ada Hopper

Danger! Action! Trouble! Adventure! That’s what the DATA Set gets into in every book. This series follows a group of four friends as they code, invent, and imagine their way through Newtonburg Elementary. Toss in the zany Professor Bunson, and there’s an adventure at every turn! This book series is a great way to include STEM extension activities. The Data Set

10. Dragon Masters by Tracey West

Drake is a farmer in the Kingdom of Bracken, until one day, his life changes forever. He discovers he can communicate with dragons. He meets other children around the world who share his power, and together they help the kingdom and learn their own strengths. Dragon Masters

11. Ranger in Time by Kate Messner

A time-traveling dog? Say no more. Young history buffs will love romping along with Ranger as he travels through time to assist as a rescue dog during some of history’s most trying times. Ranger in Time

12. Planet Omar by Zanib Mian

Omar is starting at a new school, and of course he is nervous! The first in the book series, Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet, touches on topics of family, friendship, bullying, and racism, in an age-appropriate and relatable way. An important book to share together. 

13. My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

This classic trilogy has been a childhood favorite since its original publication in 1948 – and for good reason! Follow along with Elmer Elevator as he ventures to Wild Island to rescue a captured baby dragon. Along the way, he encounters packs of vicious creatures, who would love nothing more than to gobble up an outsider. Elmer uses his ingenuity and compassion to save the day! (also soon to be a Netflix movie!) My Father's Dragon

14. Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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. 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!

19. Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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!

20. Ramona and Beezus Series by Beverly Cleary

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

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.

We hope you find some old favorites and new classics on this list. What other books do you enjoy sharing with your class? Tell us in the comments below!  If you share a book from our list, be sure to give us your class's review! Happy reading!


Ready to take your read alouds to new heights? Grab your set of these book companion sheets for an unforgettable reading experience with your students!

Get the Read Aloud Companion

 

Don't you just love a good chapter book read aloud?  One that hooks the entire class into the story & leaves them craving more!  Here is a list of our favorite 2nd Grade Chapter Book Read Alouds!

14 Comments

  1. Morgan

    Such a great list, thank you :).

    Reply
  2. tina_theis

    Thank you so much for putting this together. I taught kindergarten for 15 years. It’s my first year teaching 2nd grade and I want to be a great teacher. I look forward to learning more on your site. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Jennifer Quattrucci

    Thank you so much for such an awesome list! I am going to try to read all of these next year!

    Reply
  4. Nichol

    Thanks, it is quite informative

    Reply
  5. Candy

    I submitted my email address but did not receive an email from you to confirm it.

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Candy!

      Just wanted to let you know that you are in our system! Thanks so much for reaching out!

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  6. Shirley Herrera

    Thank you for the list! Do any of these come in Spanish? I teach 2nd grade bilingual and would love to read chapter books in Spanish….
    Shirley

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Shirley!
      Thank you for reaching out, unfortunately we do not have a Spanish version at this time, but I will add it to my list of potential ideas for the future! Thank you again!

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  7. Sammie

    Such a great list! I have taught 15 years, was so excited recognize some of my favorites and to find new titles that I will definitely be checking out.

    Reply
  8. Laura Morford

    Love all the new ideas for read aloud! These books look fabulous!!
    “My father’s Dragon” Series and “Toys Go Out” series are great also.

    Reply
  9. Karen

    Hi! This is my first year teaching Grade 1 and I’m looking for some good chapter books to read aloud. Do you think your Grade 2 book suggestions would be appropriate?

    Reply
    • Jess Dalrymple

      Hello Karen! I would suggest previewing the books with your class’ interests in mind, but yes, I think this list would give you a great starting place for 1st grade read alouds!

      Reply
  10. Robin Ingstrup

    Some of these books are way too complex for 2nd grade – even as read alouds. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Holes, and From the Mixed Up Files have very complex plots and vocabulary that would be tricky as read alouds for 2nd graders. These are more appropriate for 4th grade.

    Reply
    • Jess Dalrymple

      Robin, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about these read alouds! We surveyed 2nd grade teachers and they agreed with you overall. They also suggested some replacement books that they read to their 2nd graders every year. Thank you for taking the time to help us get these recommendations right. We appreciate you!

      Reply

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