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What book will you read aloud on the first day of school?

Use the comments to share your favorite first-day read aloud.

When I was a middle school teacher, and now in most workshops that I lead, my favorite first read aloud is Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss (with some help from Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith). This book is not only perfect in its message, but a rich source for a  mentor text.

It sounds like Dr. Seuss and looks like Dr. Seuss, but only because Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith mentored themselves after Dr. Seuss.  At the end of the book, the story of how the book came to be is shared.  See, Dr. Seuss wanted to write a book for teachers, to help them keep the faith in the face of standardized testing.  So he began planning and sketching and listing in his writer’s notebook.  But, he couldn’t get the story to come out.  He used to walk around his office saying, “Miss Bonkers is driving me bonkers!”  (Miss Bonkers is the main character in Hooray for Diffendoofer Day.)  He ended up writing Oh the Places You’ll Go as he was waiting for Miss Bonkers to reveal the story.  However, before he could write it, he passed away.  When his editors found his writer’s notebooks (pages of which are shared in the back story), they decided there were enough plans laid out that someone could write the book.   They approached Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith about writing the book Dr. Seuss had envisioned in his voice and style. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day is what was created.

So, how about you?  What read aloud is your favorite for the first day of school?  Take a moment and share in the comment section of this post.

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

10 thoughts on “What book will you read aloud on the first day of school? Leave a comment

  1. Hi Girls,

    I’ve been lurking a bit these days due to a very busy summer schedule. I hope to pick back up with my writing submissions soon. I was intrigued by this book and ordered it from Amazon and I have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. So many possibilities. Thank you as always!


  2. I’m glad to have come across this blog. As a first-year teacher, I am looking for ideas for read alouds and find this site so full of great options! Thank You! I’ved added your site to my blogroll…


  3. I like “Cookies: Bite Sized Life Lessons” because it helps to define important ideas I expect in my class, like sharing, caring, respect, friendship. When I have had an allergy-free class list, we have made cookies on the first day as well.


  4. I go back and forth between many books, but I am thinking right now, You Are Special by Max Lucado…I normally don’t read First Day Jitters until we are in our predicting unit. I also read Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry and will have that as our first storytelling unit in writing workshop. However, I do admit, I feel my brain is not totally geared up for school mode yet.


  5. Hooray for You! is a fantastic read aloud for the first day of school. Beautifully written in poetic form. Amazing illustrations. Wonderful discussion starter for conversations about uniqueness and acceptance. Plus, it is the perfect length-not too long. Students’ attention spans are short at the the beginning of the school year. Appropriate for all ages and grades. As a follow up, I have students list words that describe themselves on cardboard puzzle cutout of childrens. We share and link each other together.


  6. When I taught first and second grades I loved beginning with Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Krauss– it was a great way to affirm ALL of the different readiness levels in the class and also a very subtle way of acknowledging the anxiety levels (pressure) of parents. Now, in third grade, I choose a book that will make my children laugh (we do a lot of that in third grade). I like Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock by Eric Kimmel or Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini. Our very first story, no matter what grade level, is not a book. It is a folk tale that I tell. At the end of the year, when children reflect on our year together, they always mention this. Storytelling builds relationship; it’s a good place to start.


  7. I liked reading Peter H. Reynolds’s Book Ish for the past two years. When I was in NYC, I read First Day Jitters and Nothing Ever Happens On 90th Street too. Those are also good options.


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