The Best Beginning of Kindergarten Read Alouds

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One of the best ways to break the ice with brand new kindergarten students is by reading them an engaging story! In this post, I’m sharing some of my favorite beginning of kindergarten read alouds.

The Best Beginning of Kindergarten Read Alouds

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Benefits of Back-to-School Read Alouds

There are so many benefits to including read alouds in your first week of kindergarten lesson plans. 

  • Teach Carpet Time Expectations: Read aloud time is a great way for students to grow accustomed to sitting quietly at the carpet.
  • Discuss Beginning of the Year Emotions: There are a lot of big feelings in a kindergarten classroom at the beginning of the school year! Read alouds are a great way to address some of those feelings in an approachable way.
  • Address School Behavior Expectations: Many books can serve as a springboard for discussing school behavior expectations.
  • Give an Academic Sneak Peek: I love to use read alouds to give students a fun sneak peek of the topics they’ll be learning during the first few weeks of school.

There truly are so many reasons why read alouds can be a helpful addition to your lesson plans at the beginning of the school year! However, there can be an overwhelming number of options when it comes time to actually deciding on the stories you'll share. That’s why I’m narrowing it down to some of my all-time favorites!

11 Beginning of Kindergarten Read Alouds

Miss Bindergarten and First Day Jitters

1. “Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten” by Joseph Slate

I read this book with all of my kindergarten students on the first day of school. The story introduces each student in the class as they get ready for school. Students love that all of the characters in the story are animals! Plus, each student in the book has a name that starts with a different letter of the alphabet, which is a fun preview for letter practice. Check it out here on Amazon!

2. “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn

This tried-and-true book is another staple for the beginning of the school year. Chester the Raccoon is nervous about going to the first day of school, but his mom leaves a kiss in his hand to make him feel better. This is a great option if you have some students in your classroom who are nervous about being in kindergarten. Check it out here on Amazon!

3. “The Pigeon HAS to Go to School” by Mo Willems

In this story, the pigeon isn’t looking forward to going to school. In fact (in true Pigeon fashion), he makes excuse after excuse about why he shouldn’t go to school. However, the arrival of the bus causes Pigeon to decide that going to school won’t be so bad after all. If you plan to read other books by Mo Willems during the school year, this story is the perfect introduction! Check it out here on Amazon!

4. “Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Giles Andreae

This isn’t a very traditional back-to-school book but it’s one of my favorite read aloud options for the new school year. Gerald the giraffe feels very self-conscious about his dancing skills until he realizes that he just needs the right music. This is a great introduction to the growth mindset and the “power of yet.” Check it out here on Amazon!

Four different picture books sit on a desk

5. “How to Dinosaurs Go to School?” by Jane Yolen

This book is a great way to introduce your students to school behavior expectations. The dinosaurs exhibit many examples and non-examples of how to behave at school. Students always get a kick out of the dinosaurs roaming around the school in the illustrations. Check it out here on Amazon!

6. “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

This is one of my all-time favorite alphabet books! The lowercase letters climb up the tree until the tree gets too heavy. The letters fall out of the tree, but their parents (uppercase letters) come to the rescue! There are so many fun crafts and activities that you can use to accompany this read-aloud. Check it out here on Amazon!

7. “Alphabet Adventure” by Audrey Wood

In this story, the lowercase letters are heading to the first day of school. Unfortunately, the lowercase i loses her dot. Reading this adventure out loud as a class is a great preview for upcoming alphabet practice! Plus, students love to go back through the book to find the hidden dot on each page of the story. Check it out here on Amazon!

8. “Alphabet Rescue” by Audrey Wood

This is another great alphabet read-aloud for the beginning of the school year. The lowercase letters want to help the capital letters with their firefighting efforts. After a bit of a bumpy start with a fire hose, the lowercase letters ultimately find a way to be helpful. Check it out here on Amazon!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Alphabet Books

9. “Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes” by Eric Litwin

This read aloud is great if you’re planning on taking your students on a school tour. This book introduces a lot of different locations within the school and what students might expect in each location. It’s always fun for students to see these locations in real life after listening to this story. Check it out here on Amazon!

10. “Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker” by Christianne Jones

In this story, Lucy the owl loses her voice because she talks too much! While she silently goes about her regular routine, she realizes all of the things she has been missing due to talking so much. This book is a great way to introduce the “why” behind the different voice levels you use in the classroom. Check it out here on Amazon!

11. “First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg

Students can relate to Sarah’s big feelings about her first day at a new school. She drags her feet all the way to her new classroom. This can spark meaningful conversations about how your students feel about starting kindergarten. Plus, the surprise ending of this book is always a favorite! Check it out here on Amazon!

More Beginning-of-the-Year Read Alouds

Check out this video with even more books suggestions to use for your beginning of the year read alouds. If you like these videos with quick teaching tips, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Save These Books for the Beginning of Kindergarten

You can save this post if you’d like to come back to it later! Just add the pin below to your favorite Pinterest board of kindergarten ideas. You’ll be able to quickly find this post when you’re looking for books to use as read-alouds in your classroom.

11 Beginning of Kindergarten Read Alouds Your Students Will Love!

Amy

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