It’s that time of year again! The excitement and anticipation of back to school is in full swing as children are getting ready to head back to school. For kindergarteners, the first day of kindergarten can be an exciting but also anxious time.
I believe that reading books to our children and students is always a good idea, especially on the first day of school! Books have so many benefits, and I’ve selected ten books that I feel are especially beneficial on the first day of kindergarten.
How to Pick the Perfect First Day Read Aloud:
You want to keep your students’ attention, which can be extra tricky on the first day! Here are some characteristics to look for when selecting a good first day read aloud book:
- Short and sweet
- Have familiar or relatable characters
- Could be funny or amusing
- Are never sad or scary
- Engaging and entertaining
- Colorful, captivating illustrations
Ten First Day Read Aloud Books:
1. Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin
Kids LOVE Pete the Cat, which makes Rocking in My School Shoes an obvious choice for a first day read aloud. You can find several videos and songs, including one for this book, on the Pete the Cat Books website.
Also, if you don’t have a Pete the Cat plush for your classroom, you can get one here! I love having a basket with several plush characters in my library area to use as reading buddies.
2. A Letter From Your Teacher on the First Day of School by Shannon Olsen
A Letter From Your Teacher on the First Day of School is one of my new favorites. I absolutely love the positive and reassuring tone of this book. It also has a sweet note to teachers from the author – be sure to grab it to read it for yourself!
3. The Pigeon Has to Go to School by Mo Willems
The Pigeon series by Mo Willems (or really, anything by Mo Willems) is always a go-to for me. The Pigeon Has to Go to School has the familiar silliness of the Pigeon that kids love.
You can grab a Pigeon plush character here!
4. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
This is a popular favorite for the first day of kindergarten. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten has fun rhymes that pique your new students’ interests. It’s a relatively quick read with animal characters students will love.
5. The 12 Days of Kindergarten by Jenna Lettice
The 12 Days of Kindergarten uses repetition (similar to “The 12 Days of Christmas) that your students will definitely pick up on. Children will be engaged when listening to this book read aloud!
6. If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff
This is from another one of my favorite children’s book series. My own children love reading If You Take a Mouse to School all year round. There’s something so reassuring about the Mouse character and illustrations, which makes it a winner for the first day of school.
Be sure to check out this puppet and interactive story board set here. Additionally, there’s an adorable “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” series on Amazon Prime and you can find a version of this book by clicking here. Note that i’s not an exact match to the book, but it’s still a good video!
7. On the First Day of Kindergarten by Tish Rabe
I really love kindergarten-specific books, so On the First Day of Kindergarten is another book I recommend. This is a charming read-aloud that uses repetition. Your students will love trying to recite it with you!
8. All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold
All Are Welcome Here is a must-have, whether you read it on the first day of school or save it for another day. The illustrations are beautifully detailed and designed to remind students that no matter who they are, they are welcome.
9. Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London
Who can resist Froggy? Froggy Goes to School is sure to produce some side-splitting giggles from your students. It’s a good book to read anytime of the school year. The humor makes it a great choice for the first day of school as well; some students who are a little nervous can’t resist giggling at Froggy’s antics!
Here’s a Froggy plush that would make a cute reading buddy!
10. Clifford Goes to Kindergarten by Norman Bridwell
Clifford is such a loveable character. In Clifford Goes to Kindergarten, the students get to bring something from home. Can you guess what Emily Elizabeth brings? 😁
If you want to do a similar activity with your own students, consider doing an All About Me bag! I’ve always loved doing this. We don’t do a typical show-and-tell throughout the year, so this is a chance for students to bring a few special things to share. Getting to talk about things that are familiar to them is a good way to practice speaking in front of the class. Of course, some students might still be to nervous, so be sure to help students as needed! This activity shouldn’t be stressful, so work that kindergarten teacher magic for your more anxious kiddos! 😉
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Have a wonderful first day of school! I hope this list was helpful. Please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or via email if I can help with anything.