It’s no secret that story time is one of my favorite parts of the school day. Every afternoon, I read to my students from a storybook for at least twenty minutes. Nothing compares to the joy of sharing great stories with a group of eager listeners who stare at me wide-eyed and let the emotions conveyed in the story play across their faces as I read.
I have read many books aloud to my students over the years, and I always like to find new ones and to hear other teachers’ favorites. I also like to introduce my students to a wide variety of literature that includes various genres. Here are a few of my favorites that I have often read to my third graders over the years:
I have probably read this book aloud more often than any other, and it never fails to enthrall my students. A captivating story line with just the right amount of action and suspense, an excellent blend of imagination and realism, and the wonderful Christian allegory it contains—these all combine to make a great book. I also love that it is part of a series. When we finish the book, I tell my students, “If you want to read more, you can check out the rest of the books at the school library.” Often, I see them following my suggestion.
This book is uproariously funny in a wholesome sort of way. While not distinctly Christian, it does carry great themes of honesty, hard work, and thoughtfulness for others. It also shows a beautiful relationship between a boy and his grandpa. I especially love its smooth readability. Not all good books are great for reading aloud, but this one flows so smoothly that it feels as though it was meant to be read aloud.
This fanciful story of talking mice and rats is absolutely charming and delightful. It is a tale of imagination, heroic selflessness, and helpful community.
I could put a number of Patricia St. John’s books on this list, but Treasures of the Snow is probably my favorite of hers. Somehow she manages to fill her books with distinctly Christian content without being stuffy or preachy about it. She weaves it all into an engaging story. Like many of her books, Treasures of the Snow gives a fascinating picture of a different country, culture, and era. It also emphasizes the power of forgiveness.
When a whole classroom full of children is breathless over the fate of a silly china rabbit, it must be that a book contains some ingenious writing. This is one of those stories that, while written for children, contains some deep nuggets of truth that only adults can really get.
This is the true story of Brother Andrew’s adventures while carrying Bibles into communist countries. The first time I read this book to my students, I was afraid that it would be above their level. But I felt like my boys needed a story of action and adventure that introduces a better role model than sports figures or detectives. I do edit heavily as I read, in order to make it age-appropriate, but my students love the story.