It’s nearing the end of the school year! Can you even believe it?

Doesn’t it seem like the longer you teach, the faster the school year seems to zoom by?

The end of the school is the time when we help our students look back on their work and relive memories of the school year.

One of our favorite things to do is revisit and reread some of our favorite read alouds.

Read aloud has always been a favorite part of our school day, not just because we share books that hold much teaching potential for future minilessons. Read aloud is a time for us to take our students into another world where they can make new friends and have new adventures. We know…it sounds cheesy… But let’s think about it…the characters we share with our students connect with their own lives and have experiences that some of our students have had.

The books we share with our students help them reflect on their own lives. Of course, we model that reflective thinking, but throughout the school year our students develop their own reflective thinking processes while reading.

Since it’s the end of the school year, we wanted to share some of our favorites with you. They all have young characters that experience a similar theme of independence and the changes children go through as while growing up. Many of them are set during the summer season.

Hopefully, you are familiar with some of these titles and can revisit them to relive classroom memories. If not, then I hope you can use some of these titles to build some memories with your students before they move up to the next grade.

Read Alouds PERFECT for the End of the School Year

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

Who doesn't love reliving those family gatherings with relatives? This book provides a connection that most of us can relate to--spending time with family members.

Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe

Those summer nights spent catching fireflies. The excitement that a young one feels when they finally get to do something they've been waiting for.

My Rotten Red Headed Older Brother

Thank You, Mr. Falker &

Lightening in a Jar by Patricia Polacco

You cannot go wrong with ANY Patricia Polacco title. She is one our our favorites to use all year long. These titles provide a point for students to relate and connect to those family experiences--good and bad.

The Memory String by Eve Bunting

Students that have experience loss can definitely relate to the main character. She has to accept her new stepmother while she dearly misses her mother.

The Raft by Jim LaMarche

Spending the summer with grandmother is always and adventure and a learning experience.

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

Brothers, sisters, new friends and enemies... How great can a summer be with a little encouragement from Dad.

A Quiet Place by Douglas Wood

Everybody needs a quiet place. This short read can help students understand how to look inside themselves to find a quiet place. Love the one where the "only people talking are between the covers of a book".

The Ghost’s Grave by Peg Kehret

Who wouldn't want to experience Josh's eventful summer spend with Aunt Ethel? The first line of the book can hook anyone... "The night I moved in with Aunt Ethel, she shot a bat in the kitchen."

Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

This book is a "heavy" topic for older readers. We've read it to our 4th graders and 5th graders. Hollis is a foster child that has moved from home to home but establishes relationships that she desperately wants back. This complex text is a great read for older students.

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

The love of a girl and her dog, Winn Dixie. This book provides so many characters to which the reader can relate and connect. The characters evolve with each page of the book. An enjoyable book with a great message.

Wishes by Barbara O'Conner

Wishes by Barbara O'Conner

A book for older readers...

This is another book about tough social issues. A little girl is taken from her home to be placed in foster care with her aunt and uncle. She is looking to find her place and deal with her emotions. Sometimes what you wish for is not really what you wanted.

Summer of the Gypsy Moth by Sara Pennypacker

Another book for older readers...

Girls in foster care experience a tough loss and take matters into their own hands. It's a book about making tough decisions to keep their family together.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

You can't go wrong with sending students up to the next grade level thinking about the places they can go. A great conversation starter about the future. 

Look into the stack of books you have shared with your students this year.

What were their favorites? What resonated with the students the most?

Relive those memories and experiences by giving them one last time to enjoy those titles with you.

What are your favorite go-to read alouds at the end of the school year?

Snap a picture of your go-to read aloud for the end of the school year and tag it on Instagram with the #ConversationsandCuteNotebooks and #KTConversations

Until the conversation continues...

Spring has sprung.

Flowers are blooming!

For teachers, Spring means a few other not-so-fun things!

It’s testing season…ugh!

It’s the last quarter of the school year! Hold on for the roller coaster ride!

Summer fever is beginning, but I’m not sure who it’s affecting more—the teachers or the kids! 😊

Let’s get back to the warming temperatures and the blooming flowers.

It’s a perfect time to pull out a couple old familiar picture books to compliment lessons in reading and writing—The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola and Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco.

The Legend of the Bluebonnet…it’s about bluebonnets.

How can you even go wrong?

It’s a great folktale about how the bluebonnets came to fill the fields of Texas and the sacrifice a young Comanche girl makes to save her people.

The story is so much more than bluebonnets. It will get even the oldest kids thinking because it’s about making tough decisions, sacrifice and selflessness! WOW…that’s a lot! It’s great for the younger crowd because it focuses on a young girl and her being part of the Comanche people. If you are interested in the Response Activities, it's available in our Teachers Pay Teachers store. Just click on the image to take you there.

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco is also a great addition to your Spring reading and writing lessons. It follows 3 children (including Patricia) and Miss Eula Mae.

It’s about acceptance and getting to know someone before you pass judgement. It’s about the giving spirit and friendship! It’s a great Spring read.

It's also timely because it is set during the Easter season.

Click the picture for FREE access to ideas for sparking conversations with your students while reading this book. This product to supplement your read aloud is FREE to download in our Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Check out our Pinterest Board for more Spring read aloud ideas.

Until the conversation continues...

Let's think about our own reading habits!

When you sit down to read...

  1. What do you have with you?

  2. Where do you read?

  3. How do you read?

  4. What do you read?

Our reading choices and purpose determine how we read!

For example, if I am reading for pleasure, I have a nice drink and possibly a snack. I have cozy reading spot away from everyone else. I like to really get lost in my book.

If I am reading for work (or school), I have pens, pencils, highlighters, post it notes and anything else I might need to take notes and respond to the text that I am reading. I usually get into a comfortable position and set myself away from any distractions.

Our young readers have these same needs. Some already know what they need and others need a little nudge into making the best choices for them.

Take a look at the infographic below.

Let's take a quick look at each part...

A Reader's Notebook

In the classroom, the Reader's Notebook is a way for students to collect all the teaching, learning and practice they have been doing with comprehension strategies and reading skills. It's essential for young readers to have their Reader's Notebooks with them as they independently read.

A Reading Tool Bag

Reading Tool Bags are a management tool for students during Reader’s Workshop to gather and collect the tools they need for independent reading. As readers read independently, they are expected to have an inner conversation with the text, and track their thinking and new learning. Sometimes our students need a little boost to help put their reading thoughts together. Sometimes students are spending valuable independent reading time gathering materials to do reading work. Reading Tool Bags will help you solve this problem. Check out our Reading Tool Bag in the above picture and at the bottom of this post.

Cozy Reading Spots

If we want readers to do the best reading work, we need them to be comfortable. What's it hurt to let students lay on the carpet or sit in a comfy chair or put their feet up on a table? If that's what our students need to do the best reading work, then that's what they should do! Just our honest opinion... :)

Book Choice

Remember when you were in school and you were assigned a book to read that was not at all in your interest zone? We're not saying that you shouldn't nudge children to try out a new genre or a particular title. We are saying that their needs to be a healthy balance. Children need to practice comprehension strategies within their comfort reading zone. Reading skills and comprehension strategies that are new to our students need to be practiced within books that are their own choice and fit into their own interests. Students are more likely to work through a strategy or skill while they are reading books of their own choice and interests.

When students are comfortable and prepared for their own independent reading, they will grow as readers and their interests will expand.

When students are comfortable and prepared for their own independent reading, they are more likely to engage in conversations about the texts they are reading.

Until our conversations continue...

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