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Books to Use in the Classroom

Pet the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons - Eric Litwin, James Dean

This is a book I recently read to a group of preschoolers at the library.  They loved this book!  We talked about not getting upset over small things and how to just keep on going with life!  It has a cute song that the kids can sing along with for an engagement strategy. We could do a fun activity with this that involves gluing buttons on something.  We could do a writing activity where we write about a time we got upset about something and how it got resolved.


It has a 2.0 reading level.


There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System - Tish Rabe, Aristides Ruiz

I absolutely need this Cat and the Hat book about space!!  It would be great to do to teach about space.  There are so many space activities that could go along with it.  I would love to do a virtual field trip of the moon or something like that to go along with it. It has a reading level of a 2.0.  I just love this book!  It is "out of this world"!!

Freckle Juice

Freckle Juice - Judy Blume

Freckle Juice has a reading level of 3.6. It is a high-quality read about a boy who desperately wants freckles, and how he ends up making a deal for a "freckle juice" recipe from his annoying classmate Sharon.  It is a good little read for a guided reading center.  It could simply be used for fluency building, comprehension, etc.  We are using it in my class and the kids really seem to enjoy it.

Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush - Tomie dePaola

I love this book!!  It would be to broaden my students horizons with their knowledge of other cultures by reading this book.  It is very out there and mystical, but it does teach a pretty good lesson on not comparing your gifts to others', and on realizing that everyone plays an important role.  It has a 2.8 reading level.  I could have my students paint their own sunset scenes for fun.  It would be fun and different.

Kitten's First Full Moon

Kitten's First Full Moon - Kevin Henkes

This book is one I personally get a kick out of, being a cat lover! I think this would be a good book to just keep in the classroom that kids could read from the class library.  These are the kinds that catch kids' eyes and interest them in reading.  I don't know if it would be such a good one to do a big unit on or anything, but I want it in my class library because it teaches a cute lesson on new experiences and it would interest students.

Johnny Appleseed!

Johnny Appleseed - Reeve Lindbergh, Kathy Jakobsen

I remember really enjoying this book when we read this in third grade.  It has a 4.5 reading level surprisingly!  It is about the legend of John Chapman, whose distribution of apple seeds and trees across the Midwest made him a legend and left a legacy still enjoyed today. There is rhyme in the story, which could be good to use in a lesson on rhyming.  We might could do something like plant an apple tree somewhere!  The illustrations are great! I will use this in my class.

Helen Keller biography

A Girl Named Helen Keller (Scholastic Reader Level 3) - Margo Lundell, Irene Trivas

This is a neat little biography about a person I strongly admire- that is Helen Keller.  I am actually from the town she was born in, and her story means so much to me.  I definitely want to have a biography unit in my class where the students can select one of these nifty little biographies and do some kind of poster project on their person they choose to read about. I will definitely have this book in the mix for them to read about! It is a 2.8 reading level.

Capital Letters

The Case of the Incapacitated Capitals - Robin Pulver, Lynn Rowe Reed

This book is about a town where capital letters are being so neglected in Mr. Wright's classroom that they are nearly incapacitated, and a medical team must be summoned to perform CPPR.  This book is super cute and and would be great to use for grammar lessons in the classroom.  It has a 1.6 reading level.

The Chocolate Touch

The Chocolate Touch - Patrick Skene Catling, Margot Apple

This book is about a boy named John Midas who would eat nothing but chocolate all the time. Then one day, John finds a strange coin on the sidewalk and uses it to buy a box of chocolate at a mysterious new candy store. Suddenly, everything his lips touch turns to chocolate! It is a delightful story. It was actually first published in 1952. We could talk about the theme that too much of a good thing can be bad. Maybe we could do a fun thing and have chocolate goodies in class.  If money and location were not issues, we could take a trip to a candy store and let the kids get some candy. It has a 4.4 reading level.

The Raft

The Raft - Jim LaMarche

I love this book!! I recently read this to my class I observe in.  It has a reading level of a 3.5.  It is a great story about a boy who is reluctant to spend the summer at his grandma's river house, but finds a raft and ends up having a wonderful summer on the river with his grandma.  We could use it in the classroom to talk about how the character changes in the story. We could focus on this lesson of character development. 

Kidnapped at Birth?

Kidnapped at Birth? - Louis Sachar, Neal Hughes

This book is just too cute. It is a funny story about a boy who thinks he is actually the lost Prince Robet, kidnapped at birth.  Through a series of events, he decides he does not want to be the prince he thinks he is. It could be read in a center setting as guided reading material. It has a 1.8 reading level.  We could read through it a chapter or two a day as a center and do fun activity sheets to work on reading comprehension.  We could use it to work on fluency.

Oh the Places You'll Go

Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss

This is the book I will read to my students every year at the end of the school year, no matter what grade I teach!  Even if it has a 3.2 reading level.  My 12th grade English teacher read our class this the day before graduation, and I remember how relevant and special it was.  It is so encouraging and meaningful for youth who are about to cross over into a new chapter.  I love this book!

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web - E.B. White, Garth Williams, Rosemary Wells

Charlotte's Web is a great work to do in a whole-group setting. It has a 4.4 reading level.  It has a great circle of life theme that could be discussed. A Newbery Award winner, Charlotte's Web has warmed the hearts of millions for nearly half a century. E. B. White's style makes this novel accessible for even the most struggling reader. We could have farm day at the end and maybe visit a petting zoo or have just a farm day in our classroom and watch the movie after we finish the novel.


Coraline - Neil Gaiman

Coraline is a great read for the upper grades.  It is a 5.2 reading level.  It is in the horror and supernatural fantasy genre.  This would be a fun read for the month of October- as it is kind of creepy and fitting for that time of year. There are good lessons in the novel, and these could be discussed in the class.  It would be a good whole-group read.

Bud, Not Buddy

Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

I must use this book if I teach in the older grades. It's a 5.0 reading level. It is a historical fiction work with great insight into the time of the Great Depression and the Jazz Age. We could do it along with a study of that time period.  It is sad, but the sad parts are often tinted with humor. It is a great work that is classic and worth doing in the classroom. For an activity, we could have 30's day party and dress like someone from that era. We could play Jazz music and have a special snack. Possibly there could be some kind of project to go along with it, where the students pick something to research about that time period and we could present during on 30's day.  Great possibilities.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

— feeling amazing
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis

This book is one of my all-time favorites. C.S Lewis is an absolute genius.  I love this story- it is beautifully symbolic of the Gospel.  In a classroom setting, I could use it to discuss literary elements, like figurative language and other concepts that the students would need to begin being introduced to (this is a 6.1 reading level so they would be close to going on to middle school and would need to have a good grasp on this).  We could have a party at the end and watch the movie.  We could have a special snack for this and have Turkish Delight!