Read alouds are a great way to engage second graders by sharing stories that are fun and thought provoking. Many second graders are emerging readers and read alouds give them a chance to hear the fluency of how to read and the intonation that makes reading fun and interesting.
Read alouds not only give students the ability to increase their listening skills, but creates a classroom community. Children are given a wonderful opportunity to use their imagination and make connections to the world around them.
1. The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
This twist on King Midas will have second graders wanting to hear more and more. John Midas loves chocolate and eats it whenever he can. He also doesn't quite listen to his parents about eating too much chocolate. He soon finds a magical gift that at first John Midas thinks is amazing but then he soon realizes maybe there is such a thing as too much chocolate. The Chocolate Touch also makes for a good book for chapter book readers.
2. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl books are classic wonderful books that are great for read alouds. His books will entice the most reluctant reader by taking them on fun adventures. On page one James finds himself orphaned and living with two very cruel aunts. He soon meets an old man that gives him a giant peach tree, which leads to adventures that will catch any second grader's attention.
3. The BFG by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl books are great read alouds for any reading level. The made-up language in The BFG makes for a wonderful read aloud that will have second graders laughing as they enjoy this lovable tale. The BFG-the Big Friendly Giant kidnaps orphaned Sophie who scares her at first, but she so realizes he isn't like the other giants. The strong character traits are what make this such a beloved story.
4. Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
Judy Blume writes the perfect read aloud books. Freckle Juice is sure to be at the top of students' favorite book list. Freckle Juice brings humor and laughter as Andrew Marcus tries to discover how to get freckles. Andrew's pursuit to become freckled becomes disastrous as he tries to prove to Sharon that he can get freckles without her help.
5. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
The Mouse and the Motorcycle is the perfect book to introduce the talent of Beverly Cleary. This Beverly Cleary book is a wonderful story of a young mouse named Ralph who meets a new pal Keith. When Ralph sees Keith's red toy motorcycle, he sets out to ride it. Second graders will love to hear about their adventures together with an ending that doesn't disappoint.
6. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Jon Scieszka takes a very familiar tale of The Three Little Pigs and puts a funny twist on the plot that will grab every second grader's attention. This version is told from Wolf's perspective with corresponding illustrations that paint what really happened according to the wolf. This is definitely a story that must be part of everyone's read aloud book list.
7. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Giving Tree is a must-read-aloud of the touching story about love and friendship. This beautiful story will have you thinking about how much you give and take from those you love. Second graders are given a lesson about giving and not expecting anything in return. The story follows a boy throughout his life and how the tree never stops giving.
8. Stuart Little by E.B. White
E.B. White has written some of the best chapter books that are a must on the list of read aloud books. Stuart Little is a wonderful story from E.B. White that will surely be a beloved chapter book by every second grader. This story will follow Stuart Little who is no ordinary mouse, born to a family of humans and always looking for adventure. When his best friend disappears, the adventure takes him far away from his home. The strong character traits are what drive this story right to the wonderful ending.
9. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
The animal lover in us all will enjoy this classic E.B. White story. This story is about Louis who is a trumpeter swan who can't trumpet like his siblings. Since Louis isn't about to trumpet, then he can't win over his love Serena. The question of how will he win her over will keep children wanting to hear more.
10. Stone Fox by John Reynold Gardiner
If you are looking for a few adventures in chapter book reading, then Stone Fox by John Reynold Gardiner is the perfect fit. Stone Fox is an exciting read aloud that will keep second graders engaged in this action-packed adventure story. Little Willy is determined to win the National Dogsled Race to win prize money and save his grandfather's farm from foreclosure. Little Willy must face experienced racers including Stone Fox who has never lost a race.
11. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are is an iconic picture book from Maurice Sendak, writer of some of the most loved children's books. This read aloud will have children asking for it to be read over and over again. Max goes on an adventure to an island that is inhabited by Wild Things where he fits right in.
12. The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter
The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps is a brilliant picture book that will captivate young children as they listen to the life of Jane Goodall from her childhood to her worldwide pursuit to have these primates from extinction.
13. I am Harriet Tubman (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer
Second graders will love this picture book depicting the heroic role that Harriet Tubman played in our history. I am Harriet Tubman is the fourteenth picture book from Ordinary People Change the World.
14. Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably) by Julie Falatko
Perfect for the 2nd grade classroom, Snappsy explores friendship. Snappsy finds himself with an annoying chicken who won't leave him alone when he just wants a quiet evening to himself. Children will enjoy the laughter in this series and learn a lesson about being a friend.
15. Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
Tomie de Paola is a beloved author who stands the test of time. In this retelling of an old tale, children enjoy a story of Big Anthony reciting the magic verse over Strega Nona's ever full pasta pot. The humorous writing and wonderful illustrations bring this story to a hilarious climax.
16. 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story by Ross MacDonald
7 ate 9: The Untold Story is a fun way to introduce or review math concepts. All the punny math lines will be enjoyed by 2nd grade students and adults alike. The mystery surrounding whether 7 ate 9 makes for a very entertaining and amazing picture book.
17. Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Sattler
Pig Kahuna is a wonderful picture book that follows Fergus and his brother Dink as they collect treasure that washes up on the beach but fears going into the ocean. One day when their prize surfboard is cast into the ocean, Fergus had to find it in himself to rescue it. The bright, colorful pictures of wonderful characters will make them a fast read aloud favorite.
18. Pirate vs. Pirate: The Terrific Tale of a Big, Blustery Maritime Match by Mary Quattlebaum and Alexandra Boiger
Pirate vs. Pirate: The Terrific Tale of a Big Blustery Maritime Match is a picture book with illustrations that depict epic ocean battles and sea lingo. Children will love the competition between Bad Bart and Mean Mo to see who is the best pirate in the world.
19. Miss Nelson Is Back by James Marshall
The Miss Nelson series by James Marshall has long been a favorite among second graders. In a very relatable story, Miss Nelson has to have her tonsils out in Miss Nelson is Back, so the students are ready to "act up" with the boring substitute Mr. Blandsworth. It takes Viola Swamp to set the students straight.
20. Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel
Tikki Tikki Tembo has a familiar chant that will soon become a child favorite. This Chinese folktale while enjoyable, provide some inaccuracies of the Chinese culture therefore there are many opportunities to have discussions about the Chinese culture. The catchy chant and story of two brothers will have children hooked on this story about character growth.
21. Hoodwinked by Arthur Howard
Hoodwinked is a humorously wonderful story of a young witch named Mitzy who is searching for a pet that is not cute and cuddly. As she tries out a few pets, none of them seem to fit until a cute cuddly kitten shows at her door. When the kitten appears at her door, she quickly judges that it is not creepy enough, but that soon changes.