101 read-alouds for creating a caring classroom

Book recommendations for teaching kids responsibility, team work, manners, etc. Perfect for ages 3-11.

One of the best ways to prevent behavioral issues and conflicts in the classroom is to teach kids how to get along with others. And what could be a more fun approach to that than a shared read-aloud?

The slideshow below features some excellent books to read aloud to children ages 3-11, not only during the first few weeks of school as you set new expectations, but throughout the year to address behavioral concerns as they arrive. I’ve selected titles that teach about kindness, sharing, team work and cooperation, personal responsibility, dealing with bullies, manners, and more. I’ve also included a few teacher resource books that I think have good ideas for preventing discipline issues and interpersonal conflicts between children.

Morning Meeting is an excellent time to read books like these and talk about how the concepts apply to situations you’ve noticed (both positive and negative) in your classroom. I also used read-alouds like these at the end of the day during dismissal time to help my students reflect on their choices and think about how they would treat one another the following day.

After reading the books, make sure you place them in your class library for the kids to look at throughout the year. Most students love to re-read anything that you’ve already shared with the whole class, and they’ll return to these books over and over again.

To click through the images quickly, mouseover a book and use the forward and backward arrows that appear at the top. (ETA: The slideshow is an Amazon widget that apparently isn’t compatible with mobile devices–I’m sorry about that! I won’t be using their slideshows in posts again now that I know this.)

If I had to pick a favorite book from the slideshow above, I would recommend What If Everybody Did That? It’s a very short, easy book which resonated with my third graders in really powerful ways. The premise is this (from the book description): “If you drop just one soda can out the window, it’s no big deal … right? But what if everybody did that? What if everybody broke the rules … and spoke during story time, didn’t wash up, or splashed too much at the pool? Then the world would be a mess. But what if everybody obeyed the rules so that the world would become a better place?” I read this book aloud a few times each school year to help students reflect on how their personal choices affect everyone around them, and I often heard kids using the phrase with each other when they noticed one another making irresponsible decisions.

What If Everybody Did That? book that shows kids the consequences of their actions, great for a read aloud!

What are your favorite read-alouds for teaching classroom norms and creating a positive learning community?

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Angela is a National Board Certified Teacher with 11 years of classroom experience and 7 years experience as an instructional coach. As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has created printable curriculum resources, 4 books, 3 online courses, the Truth for Teachers podcast, and The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. Subscribe via email to get her best content sent to your inbox!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allison September 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I wasn’t able to see the slideshow of the books, although I am very interested in seeing the list of books. Is there any way to access the titles?

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2 Peg September 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I also would love to see the list of books. Thanks!

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3 Angela Watson September 4, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Hi, Allison and Peg, I’m sorry there’s been some trouble with Amazon’s slideshow widget. It appears not to work on mobile devices. :( Please try accessing the post from a computer. Thanks for your understanding!

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4 Angela Watson September 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Here’s an update from Amazon for anyone else who’s having trouble:

“Our widgets are designed to work in both the newest versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer. If your widget is not appearing, please check to make sure that the newest version of Adobe Flash is installed on your computer. Our widgets do require this update to function properly.

If you’re using Internet Explorer, open the Tools Menu and click on “compatibility view settings.” Check box for “Display all Websites in Compatibility View.”

You may also want to:

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You can also try using a different browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. I have heard from others who have experienced this issue that those browsers are able to load the “My Widgets” page properly.

There are many ad blocking programs that will also prevent this widget from appearing. Please also check any ad blockers that are installed on your computer to see if this may be causing the problem.”

Hope that helps!

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5 Corri September 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Hi there,
Thanks for all the reading you did to make this list! I did manage to go through the slideshow but having the books in a list which I can run off and refer to when I am planning my classes and lessons would be really helpful.

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6 Angela Watson September 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Hi, Corri! It would take me quite a while to type up 101 book title and author names, but if I have chance, I’ll do it! I thought I was making things easier by using an Amazon widget so you all can see the book covers instead of just a plain long list of books, but I think I just made things more complicated. Sorry!

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7 Laura September 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Bummer! I tried it on Chrome and Firefox, but to no avail.

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8 Angela Watson September 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Sigh. Lesson learned: no more Amazon slideshows! Sorry about that.

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9 Stephanie September 8, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Max Lucado’s books : You Are Special, If Only I Had a Green Nose and, The Best Of All are my 3 favorites. All teaching that we all have a great value and different gifts and talents to make us each unique!! I put the book Have You Filled a Bucket? In this 1st week too!

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10 Mary Lynne August 4, 2015 at 2:24 am

Did you remove the slideshow? I don’t see any link to it, just one to the book, “What If Everyone Did That?” One of my favorites is “Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson. I don’t know if that’s already on your list.

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11 Angela Watson August 4, 2015 at 10:25 am

Hi, there, the slideshow is visible, but only on desktop devices, unfortunately! Sorry about that.

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12 Mary Lynne August 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Thanks. I did read the other questions. I’m working on a laptop. The information said mobile devices so I thought I was okay. I can’t seem to see where the link is.When I click on the book picture it just takes me to its amazon page. I see a link to “What If Everyone Did That?” which takes me to a blank amazon page. I don’t see any other links.

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