The best children’s books that every kindergarten teacher should have! From the first day of school to the end of the year, this list of kindergarten books is perfect for read-aloud time in your classroom. Plus there are lesson ideas, too!
As teachers or parents, we want to establish a love of reading in young children and eventually, young readers. There are SO MANY great books that teach students wonderful life lessons and promote creativity and critical thinking, among so many other traits. I am here to share some of my absolute favorite books to read aloud to kindergarten students. Many of these books lend themselves to lessons that you can teach and I will share some resources that can be used along the way.
Research tells us that when read-aloud books are read with enthusiasm and attention, young readers automatically gain a better understanding of the text. Again, it’s important to note that studies show read-aloud books help children develop stronger vocabulary and comprehension skills, as well as foster better reading fluency.
Best Books to Read for Kindergarten Teachers
Younger children especially love the onomatopoeia and audience participation element of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. This is a great book for the beginning of the year. Capital and lowercase letters are making their way to the coconut tree. Plus, there are super cute activities that kindergarten children will love.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
A timeless classic! I like sharing this book during the first couple of days because so many students have heard this story before, oftentimes at home, and it brings a sense of comfort for them. It is also a great book to read if you teach about the life cycle of a butterfly.
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
Molly Lou Melon is a short, clumsy little girl with buck teeth whose grandmother has always told her to walk proudly. And, she does just that! I love this book!
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon:
The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes
This is a fantastic book! It is the story of a young boy who is confident about starting his first day of kindergarten.
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’neill
In this great picture book, two young girls become new friends. This is a good book to talk about conflict resolution with young students.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, The Recess Queen:
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
This is another one of those great back-to-school books. There are some super cute craft ideas on Pinterest for this book!
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Alexander is in a terrible mood and for good reason… from starting his day with gum in his hair and ending his day with eating lima beans for dinner. This is a great book to share with students! Sometimes, we just have bad days.
You can find lesson plans and activities for the book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day here:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This Caldecott Medal-winning book is a great addition to your classroom. This is a favorite of older kids, too!
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
I just love the combination of photographs and colorful illustrations in this book!
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, Knuffle Bunny:
The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can… This one is an oldie, but goodie.
Otis by Loren Long
Such a sweet story about the friendship between the beloved characters – a little calf and a tractor.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, Otis:
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
I pretty much love every book by Kevin Henkes! Wemberly, a little mouse, has a lot of worries! So many of our students can relate to this sweet character. Sharing this book is a great way for your little learners to connect and find comfort and understanding of their big emotions.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, Wemberly Worried:
Nerdy Birdy Tweets by Aaron Reynolds
Two bird friends experience some differences and come to realize that it’s okay to not agree on everything and still be friends.
You can find lesson plans and activities for the book, Nerdy Birdy Tweets here:
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
I just can’t resist a Cynthia Rylant book! This sweet book, with beautiful illustrations, is one of my favorite books. This book was written from a child’s perspective of when family comes to visit and stays a while, and how sad it is when they leave. I love sharing this book with students around the holidays.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, The Relatives Came:
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
Sometimes you just need an entertaining read aloud where students can have a good laugh. What a fun story for a child’s imagination!
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Mary, just an ordinary child, creates a chain reaction of kindness between different characters in this sweet story.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed:
Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats
A little boy has a hard time adjusting to the idea of a new baby sister.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, Peter’s Chair:
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
This author writes such great stories! This is for sure one of the best read-aloud books! This book was written in 1962 and was “one of the first picture books for young children to portray a realistic, multi-cultural urban setting”.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, The Snowy Day:
Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
You will have a great time reading this book about Grandma Witch and her magic pasta pot!
Brave Irene by William Steig
A powerful story about being brave and overcoming obstacles along the way.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, Brave Irene:
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
A little girl is afraid to let others know something unique about her because she is worried about what they may think. This is a definite addition to your reading list!
You can find lesson plans and activities for the book, A Bad Case of Stripes, here:
Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
This book tells the story of Rodney (AKA: Wodney) who has trouble saying his “r’s.” He’s terribly shy at school but hoping to make new friends. Then, it only gets worse when Camilla Capybara comes to school. What follows will have children laughing out loud as Wodney accidentally becomes a hero and saves his whole class from the fearsome Camilla. A perfect story to show kids how to be brave in the face of adversity.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, Hooway for Wodney Wat:
Three Billy Goats Fluff by Rachel Mortimer
I love fairy tales and this book is a fun twist on a classic tale, Three Billy Goats Gruff. You will have a good time reading this one to students.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, The Three Billy Goats Fluff:
How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham
Oh, my heart! This is such a sweet book!! Super simple text, but amazing story.
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas using the book, How to Heal a Broken Wing:
Hey Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose
A little boy is about to squish an ant. The ant starts talking to him…wait til you see what happens next in this story, you’ll have a hard time stepping on an ant too! This fantastic book has a lovely message about stopping to think before we hurt another living thing.
You can find lesson plans and activities for the book, Hey Little Ant, here:
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
This book has my heart! A little old man, Amos, has the best friends and they come to see him when he is sick. The different animals in this book are adorable!
Click below to read a blog post for lesson ideas including zoo activities using the book, A Sick Day for Amos McGee:
The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
A fun book filled with playful rhymes!
You can find lesson plans and activities for the book, The Pout-Pout Fish, here:
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
What better way to turn an enemy into a best friend than with Enemy Pie? This story lends itself perfectly to a lesson about kindness.
You can find lesson plans and activities for the book, Enemy Pie, here:
Life by Cynthia Rylant
This is one of those books that you could share with absolutely anyone and they would receive the wonderful message.
There you have it! The best kindergarten books to read aloud in your classroom. I love sharing these books with students and using them as a learning tool as well. Research has shown that read-aloud books are a powerful teaching tool when it comes to improving literacy skills in elementary school. Not only do these books provide kids with fun, interactive experiences that they can relate to, and remember long-term, but they also build comprehension. They also develop their listening skills which gives them a head start on reading fluency, as well.
Read-aloud lessons are essential to the kindergarten classroom for lots of reasons:
They build a classroom community – kids love to look around and see that others feel the same as them, as the story unfolds
They provide us with a great way to help our young students develop a love of reading.
They’re a great way to build listening skills and focus stamina
Read-aloud lessons lend themselves well to teaching essential reading skills in both a whole group and small group setting
When we ‘model read’ for kids, they get to learn expression, pronunciation, vocabulary, fluency, and more!
They’re a fun and engaging way to teach many different elements of reading!
We have a bundle of resources including lesson plans, reading comprehension activities, crafts, and so much more for several of the books listed above. You can find that bundle by clicking this link: