Back to school books and activities

by C. Elkins, OK Math and Reading Lady

As part of building a classroom community, you likely will have many discussions about diversity, friendship, and showing respect in various ways.  Here are some great resources for literature that might emphasize the point you are trying to make. 14 books with great follow-up ideas.

  • This site is one of the best because it doesn’t just give a summary of the story, but it provides very practical follow up ideas include a get-to-know-you bingo, anchor charts, self-portrait, writing, posters, brainstorming, drawing, etc.
  • For the above book, “Dear Teacher,” she suggests writing a postcard to a friend or family member telling them about the first week of school.
  • For the book, “Name Jar,” the article suggests brainstorming and creating a poster showing different ways to greet a new student.  

5 Back to School Books for 3rd Grade (Pinterest from

  • There might be some new titles here that kids haven’t heard in previous years.

Back to school books for upper elementary (

  • This teacher provides some printables to accompany the books she recommends. These deal with more advanced issues such as kindness, diversity, perseverance, homework and writing.
  • One of the books she features is “The Important Book” by Margaret Wise Brown. It’s been around for awhile (for a good reason). A perfect book for getting kids to write details around one topic. This can actually be used any time of year – not just the beginning. For the schools I visit, I have a set of these books you may borrow. Or send me a message and I will send you more information about this book and its link to writing possibilities! Or, of course, I can help you do a lesson using these any time of the year.

Don’t have the books mentioned? Your school library might be able to get it from another library. Or – check  Many books are shared this way!

Enjoy!  And please share some other titles and/or beginning of school activities you love.

4 thoughts on “Back to school books and activities

  1. These are some great resources. I appreciate the ideas for some new books I haven’t used in the past. One to add to the list is Roald Dahl’s The Twits. It’s a chapter book, but a very short read. Editions with Quentin Blake illustrations are great. The character descriptions are fantastic and it provides a great opportunity to talk about how to treat people. (Plus Roald Dahl is my personal favorite and I love sharing that with my kids.)

    • Hi Kristen!
      Thanks for the reference to another good book. I like Roald Dahl, but wasn’t familiar with this one. I’ll be visiting your school again, so I’ll be sure to stop by and say Hello!

  2. Last week we read Miss Nelson is missing and talked about the importance of following classroom rules and then came up with our rules together. I asked them would they prefer a Viola Swamp teacher or Miss Nelson type of teacher and of course you know what they said. 😉

    • I love the Miss Nelson books! Then on the occasions you have to be gone, be sure to ask them again!! Thanks for sharing!

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