Read Alouds for Building Classroom Community

One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of my first grade year is read.  It’s the perfect break in between hashing out routines and procedures…and MORE routines and procedures!  Here’s a look at my must reads for building community in our first grade classroom!

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First Day Jitters is a must read for the first day of school.  It’s the first book I read with my kiddos and it’s the perfect ice breaker!

Also on the first day of school, we start building our class rules.  We read David Goes To School and the kids write about what rule we should include in our classroom.  I love integrating this one into writing and it always gets tons of laughs!

Once we are through with the first day of school, it’s time to start our first integrated unit on citizenship.

We read about what a citizen is with this non-fiction favorite (I LOVE timing this around September 11th so we can tie it in to our We Remember Project.)

Then, we move on to fiction stories that show attitudes of good citizens in our classroom community.  These books are so important in our classroom for building a sense of community, respect, and making our classroom a place we want to be for the next 178 days of school!  The attitudes we read and write about during our unit are…

Enthusiasm – Morris Goes To School
Independence – A Bad Case of Stripes
Tolerance – The Sneetches
Creativity – Skippy Jon Jones
Integrity – Strega Nona
Curiosity – Curious George
Commitment – Horton Hatches the Egg
Appreciation – The Great Kapok Tree
Confidence – Sheila Rae the Brave
Empathy – Hey Little Ant
Cooperation – It’s Mine!

As we read each story, we post them in our room…you can read about that set up here and find anchor charts to go with each story here!

Once we discuss our attitudes and behaviors, we read more about being a good learner in our classroom community–how we can get the MOST out of first grade.  I use the learner profile words from the International Baccalaureate PYP program because I started my teaching career in an IB school.  Here’s a look at the books we use for each of the learner profile words.

Thinker – Look Book
Inquirer – The Hidden Alphabet
Communicator – Diary of a Worm
Open-Minded – The Brand New Kid
Knowledgeable – I Can Read With My Eyes Shut
Balanced – A Fine, Fine, School
Caring – My Friend is Sad

What are your favorite books for building classroom community?

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