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Best Read Aloud Books for First Graders

Updated on February 7, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

images: sxc
images: sxc

The best read aloud books for first graders capture their imaginations. They often love fantasy stories that have enough reality that they can identify with them.  Preferably the chapters are somewhat short and the descriptions are rich but not too wordy. The characters should have some characteristic that young elementary children can identify with. Most of all, it needs to be a good story.

When you are choosing a book to read aloud to your first grader(s) spend a few minutes looking through the book.

  • Read a few paragraphs out loud from different chapters. Do the words flow?
  • Consider the story. Is it appropriate/interesting/entertaining?
  • Can a first grader take something positive away from this book?

Allowing a child to draw or play quietly while a story is being read can actually help him to concentrate on the story. It is a great idea to give him paper and crayons and ask him to illustrate one of the scenes in the story as you read.

Finally, if you start reading the book and the children seem disinterested and don’t become interested after two or three chapters don’t be afraid to put it down and choose another book.

Some of the Best Read Aloud Books for First Graders

Mrs. PiggleWiggle

Mrs. PiggleWiggle is a very special lady who lives in a very special house. Her pirate husband built it upside down and hid treasure in it before he disappeared.

Mainly though, Mrs. PiggleWiggle loves children and they love her. She understands them. When some of the children that visit her begin to have discipline problems the parents come to Mrs. PiggleWiggle for help. The cures are not only effective they are comical and children will be laughing as each cure unfolds.

Once you have read a Mrs. PiggleWiggle book (and there are several) you will only have to ask a disobedient child if they think you should call Mrs. PiggleWiggle for a quick change in behavior.

Family Under the Bridge

This is the poignant story of a family that loses their home in Paris. It is told in a gentle, humorous manner, with no violence or situations that would be upsetting to small children, and yet it inspires compassion and understanding of homeless people.

It is Christmas time in Paris and an old hobo falls in with three fatherless children and their mother who have recently lost their home. The curmudgeon hobo becomes and unwilling grandfather and leads the children through the streets of Paris.

This is an excellent book to use with a study of France or to read around Christmastime.

The Twenty One Balloons

This is a wonderful story of a scientist who lands on the island of Krakatoa just before it explodes. Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. Sadly, he lands on Krakatoa instead. There he discovers a world of wealth, eccentricity and incredible inventions.

This is a good book to read along with a unit on flight or volcanoes. Winner of the 1948 Newbery Medal, it is still a book that children enjoy today.

The Little Riders

The Little Riders is the story of how a little girl protects some very important artifacts during the German occupation of Holland in World War II. This is great story to read during a study of World War II. The themes of courage and patriotism are integral to the story.

Ben and Me

Meet Ben Franklin through the eyes of a mouse that helps him with all of his inventions. In fact, if the truth were known, it was Amos the mouse, and not Ben Franklin that invented the amazing things that were attributed to this famous Colonial personality.

This is a great way to learn about Ben Franklin and Colonial America.

Miracles on Maple Hill

This is a sweet story about Marley, Joe, and their parents as they try to help Marley’s father readjust to civilian life after coming back from World War II. Marley’s mother feels that a change of living conditions would be best and moves the family to her Grandmother’s old home in the country. The story follows the family and their new friends for that magical year of healing.

This is a great story, especially for children who have parents in the military, or as part of a study of maple sugaring or country life.

Reading Aloud Develops Important Skills

When you read aloud to a child you help them develop important reading and vocabulary skills. Not only that but you are teaching them to listen, to concentrate, and to remember. All the time you are reading you are developing closeness, memories, and relationship…and these will last a lifetime.

The best read aloud books for first graders will capture their imaginations and give them a lifelong love of reading.


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    • saif113sb profile image


      6 years ago

      Very informative hub for all students.

      Thanks for Marye

    • bredandagnes profile image


      6 years ago from Ireland

      Giving children enjoyment from books is a gift they will always have.Its hard for parents to choose books as there are so many out there-so this is a great resource.As a speech therapist I am constantly encouraging parents to read to their children as it really helps their concentration and their language.

    • htodd profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for sharing Marye ..This is nice post

    • megni profile image


      6 years ago

      Good and worthy hub. I am of an older generation but the books my children liked were Dr. Seuss, a whole list of others I don't remember. But books were everywhere.

    • msviolets profile image


      6 years ago

      Mrs PiggleWiggle is one of my kids favorite sets of books. They were read aloud, then read to themselves, then read to each other...and then read to themselves again. Great choices :-)

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      As I have grandchildren, I will look into some of these. Thanks for the recommendations. I am a firm believer in children being read to and reading themselves.

    • family2010 profile image


      6 years ago

      Well done with this hub . I am a mother of three boys, the best way that I started them to read is by letting the oldest read while the youngest follow/ listen. I achieved my goal as a mother in teaching them how to set themselves into the discipline of reading regularly

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 

      8 years ago from Chennai, India

      Good hub Marye. Thanks for taking me back to my childhood.

    • HealthyHanna profile image


      8 years ago from Utah

      As a grandmother who loves children and knows the importance of instilling a love for reading early, I am excited to have this reading list. I didn't think I would ever have a hard time remembering the books I loved as a young mother, but I do forget.

      Thanks for the list.

    • Brenco profile image

      Bren Brennan 

      8 years ago from North Texas

      Great topics for a hub. I am an avid reader and substitute in my kids' elem school library because I enjoy being around books so much.

      I LOVE Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! I told my kids about her because that series is one of my childhood favorites. I'm glad you mentioned her. More people should read them, especially since she teaches time-tested, "old-fashioned" family values, like cleaning up one's room!

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      8 years ago from NW Indiana

      No children around for several years but I loved to be read to when I was a child. My all time favorite was Green Eggs and Ham. Nice Hub.

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Mrs. Pigglewiggle! O such nice memories I have of that one. Thanks for reminding me. :)

    • earnestshub profile image


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thanks for this hub. As a grandfather of 6 with three little ones of this age I appreciate the information.

      I will bookmark this hub and buy some of these books to read aloud to my little people. :)

    • 2patricias profile image


      8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Pat knows a little boy who was still not talking by his 3rd birthday. She found that reading him suitable books that he enjoyed was a good way of encouraging him to try a few words.

      The child is now 6 and not only has a full vocabulaty, he is also a fluent reader.

    • mwatkins profile image


      8 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

      Great job! Every year we give the younger family members books and pajamas for the holidays and it's tough to pick one they will like because we aren't there all the time. Not only is this good advice for a first grade reader, but also for older children too! Books are great themes, gift baskets and just good I am thinking of you gifts for kids. Thank you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great share! To get kids interested in reading is ever so important.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi -

      We start every school day with a read aloud. It's a great way to start the morning (with cup-o-hot chocolate in hand). We've read a lot in the last couple of years and I'm enjoying reading books I never got to read in my youth.

    • rprcarz50 profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi Mayre,

      Very helpful Hub for getting the kids off to a head start in reading. Y our kids must have an advantage with your knowledge


      As Always also a2z50

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image


      8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Great hub! Is the Mrs. PiggleWiggle book any connection to the Uncle Wiggly board game? I have never heard of the books, but I loved the board game as a kid!

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      8 years ago

      Enjoyed the hub and some great book choices to read out - we really encourage reading in our family and the boys love it.

    • JerseyGirl profile image


      8 years ago from Jersey Shore


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for this hub. Believe it or not, I just wrote a children's book (due out in Fall 2010) and having never had children, wasn't sure what types of books kids really like.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Wonderful advice with great ideas and beautiful stories. Thank you.


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