Perfect Read Alouds for Second Graders
Second Graders love picture books just like other young readers. A great book will be your best friend for teaching reading comprehension strategies, vocabulary growth, and a love for reading. As far as book lists go, these are some of the best books for your 2nd graders’ read alouds and lessons! Not only will you find picture books, I have also added some of my favorite picture books too!
This list of 2nd grade books also works really well with other grades.
Read Alouds for Second Graders – Beginning of the Year
Here are a few of my favorite picture books to start the school year off right! Starting the year off with a good book about classroom community is a great way to build a foundation for the first day of school.
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The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson
The combination of Jacqueline Woodson’s poetic writing and Rafael López’s captivating illustrations remind us that we all experience feelings of being an outsider at times and that it takes courage to continue despite this. Furthermore, when we open up and share our personal experiences, we may find that others are willing to connect with us. This young girl is precious and students can really identify with her feelings.
This colorful illustrations are stunning. You may know I am a huge fan of this illustrator!
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
When I first read this book, I actually teared up a bit. I think we may have all experienced the feeling of being invisible. I sincerely love the message of including others and the discussion around character traits.
Here is what the publisher said about this young boy, “Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody in class ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.”
A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech
Tillie attends an excellent school where students learn about topics such as dinosaurs, construct pyramids, and create portraits. When the school principal makes a surprise announcement that school will now be held on Saturdays, this sets the precedent for school being held on Sundays, holidays, and even during the summer break. The principal becomes so passionate about education that he neglects to give any time off for the students and teachers.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
The main character, Unhei, a new student from Korea, is anxious that her classmates won’t like her because they can’t pronounce her name. Instead of introducing herself, she tells the class that she will choose a new name by the following week. Her classmates decide to help by filling a jar with names for her to choose from. But when one of her classmates visits her neighborhood and learns her real name and its meaning, Unhei chooses her own Korean name, Yoon-Hey, with the help of her new friends.
After the Fall by Dan Santat
This book is about facing your fears. Although the illustrations are laugh-out-loud funny, the story is deeply touching. This is the perfect book to use when you ask students to take chances in class.
After his fall, Humpty Dumpty is terrified of heights. He no longer wants to sit on the city wall to watch the birds.
See what happens to Humpty Dumpty after the fall!
This book is also excellent to use as a text for writing. The illustrations are full of mini-lessons you can bring into your writing instruction.
These books lend themselves beautifully for various comprehension strategies. We discuss cause and effect as well as sequence the story events in order.
Read Alouds for Second Graders – Fall Reading Books
Here are a few read-aloud books that are perfect for your second grade classroom in the fall.
Cinderella Skeleton by Robert D. San Souci
This great story is a twist of the classic Cinderella fairy tale! The illustrations are fantastic. It is a fun way for your students to compare story elements with other versions of Cinderella stories.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Author Jane Yolen has written a sweet, poetic story that shows the special relationship between a young child and their dad, as well as the connection between people and nature. The illustrations by John Schoenherr are soft and beautiful.
This is also a book you’d like to have when teaching writing!
Read Alouds for Second Graders – Best Winter Books
These winter books are perfect for second grade, but they also work well in kindergarten and first grade.
The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson, Ph.D.
Want to learn about snowflakes? This book has pretty pictures and tells us all about how they are made, what shapes they can be, and that no two snowflakes are alike! A nature photographer and a snow scientist wrote it, so it’s full of fun facts and will make you say wow! Perfect for reading on a cold and snowy day!
You can see more about this book in the following blog post:
Brave Irene by William Steig
Irene is a brave girl who wants to help her mother who made a dress for a duchess. Her mother becomes ill is unable to take the dress to the palace. Irene volunteers to take the dress, but it’s very snowy outside and it’s a big adventure for her. She has to be brave and smart to get the dress there on time. Irene does it even though it’s hard.
Read Alouds for Second Graders – Spring Time Books
These picture books are great to use with your second grade classroom in the spring!
Crickwing by Janell Cannon
Crickwing is a special kind of bug who likes to make art. But he has a cricked wing and the other bugs make fun of him. He wants to make them stop, so he starts picking on other bugs that are smaller than him. But he soon learns that it’s not nice to be mean to others and that everyone should be treated with kindness.
Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison and Keven Hawkes
Velma is the youngest Gratch and starting first grade. Her sisters were very good and everyone remembers them. Velma feels invisible. But on a field trip, a butterfly lands on Velma’s finger and stays there for days. Now everyone knows Velma’s name and she feels more confident. This is a story about a girl who learns to believe in herself.
Someday a Tree by Eve Bunting
The first time I read this book, I teared up. I knew it would be a great book to spark a conversation with my second graders. I had prepped the book for the lesson, and was ready to teach when my principal came in (unannounced) with a team of administrators from another school. Here is what happened:
- I cried (again)
- My students cried
- The Administrators cried
We had a great conversation. It is worth the read. Also a great book to read around Earth Day
Read Alouds for Second Graders – Great year-Round Book Options
These picture books are great to use with your second grade classroom at any time of the year.
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Grace loves listening to stories, whether they are in books, movies, or from her grandma. When she gets the chance to act in a play of Peter Pan, she knows exactly who she wants to be. The pictures in the book are so colorful and show what Grace is imagining in her head.
You can read more about this reading comprehension unit of study by clicking on:
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
This is a classroom FAVORITE! Dragons love eating tacos! They like chicken tacos, beef tacos, big tacos, and small tacos. If you want to have a party with dragons, you should give them lots of tacos to eat. But be careful, because some dragons might eat spicy salsa and it will make them very mad!
Read more about these lesson plans:
Doctor De Soto by William Steig
This classic book about a dentist and a fox is hilarious! This is a great book to read during dental health week!
You can find these lesson plans:
All of these book suggestions above have lesson plans DO FOR YOU! YAY! With each set you will find:
- Lesson plans that are simply “print and teach”
- Tier 2 vocabulary word lessons
- Grammar lessons
- Student response activities
- Text detail activities with picture cards like those seen in this blog post
- Assessments and rubrics
- Anchor charts
- Sentence study
- A fun craft to bring it all together!
Check them out here:
Read Alouds for Second Graders – Chapter Books to Read to Second Graders
Yes, I am a huge fan of using picture books for teaching comprehension strategies and vocabulary to students. But we should not forget these great chapter books as well!
Some of these books are part of a popular series and some may be new to you!
Frindle by Andrew Clements
We really loved this book and the discussion about how words get into the dictionary.
Marvin Redpost Alone in his Teacher’s House by Louis Sachar
This book is laugh out loud funny, but it also has a serious side.
Jada Jones by Kelly Starling Lyons
These series has taken off! If you are not familiar with it, it is worth the read.
Read Alouds for Second Graders
I hope you found a few new favorite books to add to your classroom collection.
Did I miss your favorite book? I’d love your recommendations.