Classroom Communities / Teacher Talk

Best Read Aloud Books for the First Week of School

3 weeks until the first day of school! The countdown is beginning, and my to-do list is growing! One of my biggest tasks every year is planning my first week of school. Building classroom community and setting expectations of kindness and inclusion is so important to me. I always try to start off the year with some books that we can use as starting points for team building conversations.

I have pulled together a list of some of my all-time favorite books for starting off the year on the right foot, all organized by category. Some of these are brand new to me, and I am so excited to add them to my read aloud library this year!

First Day Of School

These books are a wonderful, clear statement that my classroom is a place where we love and support each other, and that everyone is a welcome part of this community. A Tiger Tail is a fun one because it talks about feeling nervous on the first day of school, and how it’s normal for everyone!


I am super excited about this set of books this year! I decided to do a special read aloud focus on names this year. Looking at my list, I am in love with all the beautiful names that we have in our classroom. As part of my goal to decenter white culture in my classroom, I want to right away normalize all the different kinds of names there are in the world. These books are a great way to start!

Diversity and Inclusion

These books are helpful to talk about all the wonderful ways that we are all different from one another, and how our classroom will be a place to celebrate these differences. I use these books to start conversations about how we should be proud of all the parts that make us who we are, even if some of them are different from our classmates. We talk about how there is no “normal”, and how it’s okay to talk about how we are different from others in a way that isn’t hurtful. These books create wonderful opportunities for students to proudly talk about things they love about themselves.

Kindness And Justice

In my classroom, we always talk a lot the first month about how to treat each other. We set expectations, we do role playing, we create word lists, and we revisit them all the time. These books help my students understand on a deeper level the importance of treating each other with kindness, and the importance of speaking out when you see something wrong.

Classroom Behavior

And of course we also talk about classroom rules and behavior expectations. These books help to start conversations about what kinds of behaviors we need in order to learn. And reading these books together as a group helps us all feel united in our commitment to upholding our classroom rules.

What is one of your favorite read aloud books for the
first week of school?


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