Kids are heading back to school, and it’s time to stock your shelves with independent texts as well as read alouds. Our favorite Back to School Books for Upper Elementary involve strong characters to help demonstrate voice. Check out these chapter books you’ll love to share with your students.
Here are my Top Back to School Chapter Books for Upper Elementary
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder is a perfect way to teach your students multiple perspectives and point of view as the chapters are all told in first person through different character’s narration. The voice is strong with each of the main characters, especially the protagonist, Auggie, who teaches readers about empathy and kindness.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Told in third person, this story gives voice to Edward Tulane, a china rabbit, who loses his way and takes an extraordinary journey. Read this aloud with your students and take the opportunity to talk about loneliness, friendship, and finding a way to belong.
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
Little Willy, a young man who loves nothing more than his grandfather, his grandfather’s farm, and his dog attempts to win the National Dogsled Race in this courageous story. In the process, he meets the title character, Stone Fox, who has never lost a race. This third person narrative is a great way to teach character development through the journey of the protagonist, Little Willy.
Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats is a character as interesting as his palindrome name and so are his fellow members of Camp Green Lake, a detention center he is sent to for a minor “crime”. When he uncovers a mystery at the camp, your students will learn a lot about Stanley, the “warden” of the camp, and Stanley’s bunkmates in this novel that will help your students learn about plot and characterization.
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan
Ms. Hill’s fifth grade class is about to lose their beloved elementary school. To hold onto the memories, each of the students writes a poem to be included in a time capsule, which forms this verse novel. A great first back to school read in poetic form, this sweet story will teach your kids about friendships and appreciating what you have.
When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne
An oldie but a favorite, this collection of “Winnie the Pooh” poems is appropriate for upper elementary through its whimsical storytelling and character development. I love using poetry books as back to school reads because they’re easy to divide and read for short periods of time. They’re also an excellent way to introduce poetic elements and form!
Whether you are reading these gems to your class or encouraging your students to read these novels or poetry books on their own, these fantastic Back to School Chapter Books for Upper Elementary have strong characters, voice, and will leave your students wanting more! Try a few of these classroom favorites with your young readers.
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