Top 10 Read-Alouds for Second Grade

Summaries and links to 10 read alouds perfect for second grade!
{The links in this post are affiliate links.}

One of the most common questions I see among teachers, especially teachers moving to new grade levels, is, "What are your favorite read-alouds?"  I'm very passionate about read-aloud time in my classroom.  It's non-negotiable.  If we don't have time for everything in the day and I need to cut something, it's NOT going to be my read-aloud.  It's my favorite part of the day. 

I love the fact that I get to expose students to books that they may not have picked up from the shelf themselves.  I love that I get to read books above their own independent reading levels that will stretch their minds.  I love that I get to model expression and fluency that captures their hearts!  I love the fact that half of my class will get their hands on a copy of the book somehow, someway (be it at the library or bookstore) so they can follow along or even read ahead!  I love read-aloud time and I have some favorite chapter books that are mainstays in my classroom.

My read-aloud time is typically 15-20 minutes.  At least, that's what it says on my schedule.  I may be known to stretch it out a bit. :)  I plan a "loose" read-aloud schedule at the beginning of the year so that I'm never at a loss to what I'll be reading.  However, I'm always up to try a new book with my kiddos so this schedule is very flexible.

In order to expose my students to a wide variety of books, I don't exclusively read chapter books during this time.  I also use this time to dive into some in-depth author studies.  There are about 4 weeks in a month - that makes 20 school days.  A chapter book may take me 10 days to get through.  Then, I'll spend about 10 days reading picture books by a certain author and focusing on the author's craft.  It sets a good balance.  You can see my outline on the top of my planning calendar HERE.

So, one chapter book a month....about 10 months in a school year.  That means, you'll need about 10 really great chapter books to read aloud.  Introducing my top 10 favorite read-alouds for my second grade classroom...

If you've talked read-alouds with me before, you know that my number one read-aloud is The Doll People.  I love this book y'all!  When I first heard of it years ago, I was reluctant.  I thought the name alone would turn away my boys.  I was wrong.  This book has something for everyone - mystery, adventure, fantasy.  It's simply captivating. 

It's about an 8-year old girl doll and her family who live in a doll house in the Palmer's house  The dolls have secret lives, but have to be careful not to let the Palmers know that they're living dolls or else they will be thrust into doll state.  In this book, Anabelle is determined to find her Auntie Sarah who has been missing for 45 years and along the way, she finds a best friend who brings out the best in her!

The first time I read this book aloud to a class, they stood and applauded at the end.  Talk about heart-warming!  They ate it up!  The next morning, my class was gathered at the backpack of a little girl who had just entered the room when I heard a gasp.  Interested in what they were doing, I approached them only to realize the girl had went to the library to check out the book and discovered (much to everyone's shock, including mine!) that there was a sequel to the book!  My students have even written to the author trying to persuade her to write more books and to turn this one into a movie!

There are actually now four books in this series and they are ALL on our must-read list every year.  The second one with the introduction of Mean Mimi is probably my favorite and the newest one is probably my least favorite.  It was very cool that the students noticed right off the bat that there was a new illustrator on the books with the newest addition.

Roald Dahl is not everyone's cup of tea, but I promise you that your students will LOVE his books!  I could easily insert some of his other masterpieces (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, or George's Marvellous Medicine) here, but I chose The BFG because my students always select it as one of their most favorites.  In fact, this past year, it was chosen as the best read-aloud by my class (yes, it even beat out The Doll People for the first time)!

Dahl's books are a bit on the darker side with humor that kids, especially boys, just love!  This book is about a Big Friendly Giant who befriends a little orphan named Sophie.  Together, they hatch a plan to take down the other nine Giants who eat "human beans."  It is sure to deliver some belly laughs (with the chapter about whizpoppers) and a few tense moments as well (as they talk about the other giants gobbling up children).  One thing is for sure, Dahl always makes the world of fantasy come to life!

These books may just be my favorite to read aloud with my class.  This is a bit surprising because I hate to read books that make me cry.  I always cry in these, but it's such a powerful experience to share with my children.  The first time they see me cry they are shocked and in awe.  These books are written by Ann Martin, the same author who wrote The Doll People above.  I guess you could say, I'm a fan. ;)

These books are definitely at a higher level so they are books my students wouldn't otherwise read.  The first couple of chapters really start slow, painting a picture of the setting and characters.  But soon, your students will be captivated.  These books follow two stray puppies throughout their lives, which aren't easy for sure.  They are separated and we never know what happens to one of them....until the second book!  The second book may be my favorite for the way it is written.  The chapters jump back and forth between three storylines that all intertwine by the end of the book - with a shocking "AHA" moment for students.  It's a type of book that my students have never been exposed to and I love being the first to explore this format with them.

These books also help build an empathy in my students for life in general.  They are so eager to help animals after reading these books and we often use them as a spark to help out a non-profit animal organization.  The fact that a single read-aloud could spark a class to want to change the world...I mean, isn't that our ultimate goal?

Gooney Bird Greene is the perfect character for beginning of the year 2nd graders!  She's a second grader herself, but not just any second grader.  Gooney Bird is a new student who marches to her own beat.  She wears outlandish clothes, speaks her mind, and loves to be smack dab in the middle of everything, especially as a storyteller!  Gooney Bird Greene is a perfect inspiration for writing personal narratives.  She teaches students that stories need good beginnings, middles, and endings and that when you're stuck, a "suddenly" is the perfect word to keep the story going!

There are actually a lot of Gooney Bird Greene books!  Each book focuses on a different type of writing (or learning), so I like to integrate them into the units they match. 

I don't always have time to read them all, but the three above are must-reads in my classroom.  We read Gooney Bird Greene at the beginning of the year when we learn to write personal narratives.  We read Gooney the Fabulous as we learn about fables and Gooney Bird Is So Absurd is perfect for integrating into a poetry unit.

Edward Tulane is a stuffed rabbit.  In this book, he is separated from the little girl he lives with and finds himself in many different adventures.  Along the way, he has many different owners who give him various identities/names and along the way Edward wonders if he knows about love.  The ending is one students never see coming...often they take a pause and then you can watch the lightbulbs start coming on!  It truly is a heartwarming tale and a beautifully written masterpiece.  If it's not a classic, yet - it will be!

Sometimes, you're looking for a quicker read-aloud that is a little more light-hearted.  Snot Stew is a playful tale of two kittens, Toby and Kiki, who find themselves on their own after their mother leaves.  They are soon taken in by the Burkes and find themselves viewing the human world through kitten eyes, making this the perfect book for inferring as the kittens describe each new thing they encounter.  Students find that it's fun to hear a story being told from another's perspective.  Don't let the title of this book turn you's not actually about snot stew....or even snot at all.  How the title came about is one of the biggest surprises to be revealed in this book that teaches an important lesson of sharing and greed.

Speaking of greed, The Chocolate Touch, is a classic story of how greed can affect your life.  This is another fun, quick chapter book that students will eat up!  Who doesn't love chocolate?  Who wouldn't rather eat chocolate than dinner?  But, what if chocolate was the only thing you could eat (or drink) for the rest of your life?  Sounds good initially, but let this book take you on the adventure and you will soon change your mind as you learn a few important life lessons. 

If belly laughs are what you're looking for, Lulu will be loved in your classroom.  She is a bossy, rather rude little girl who wants what she wants when she wants it.  Lulu stories are short - I may have been known to read one of these in just a day or two - and students LOVE the fact that there are some chapters that are just a few sentences, chapters like Eight and a Half, etc.  I'm sure that they can all see a little of themselves in Lulu which makes them really connect with her as a character, but they also see what's wrong with Lulu and celebrate when she decides to change her ways....just a bit.

As of this post, there are 3 LuLu books out.  While I would suggest all of them, Lulu Walks the Dogs may be my favorite with the introduction of Fleischman, a know-it-all, goody-goody boy who lives nearby and tries to befriend Lulu.

I feel like Toys Go Out is really different from any other book on this list.  It is a silly, goofy story about the lives of a little girl's three favorite toys - a buffalo, a stingray, and a bouncy ball.  They explore a world of unkowns (like the washing machine and the beach) and help each other understand what really makes each one special.  This is a short read-aloud for beginning chapter book readers that also gives great opportunities for making inferences.  If you're looking for a quick book to fill a few days, this one might be perfect.

There are so many more great books I could add to this list.  I really struggled with this last one.  Charlotte's Web, Trumpet of the Swan...there are so many classics that are deserving.  However, most of my students have already been exposed to Charlotte's Web by the time they get to me (either the book or the movie).  Don't worry, I don't let that stop me from sharing it with them again, but I will let it stop me from adding it to this list.  Instead, I'll go with this classic - Freckle Juice.  I'm always shocked that almost none of my students have ever heard of this book, especially since it's such a short one....possibly perfect for a first grade read-aloud.  But, since not, I usually read it towards the beginning of the year.

My copy is, mine from when I was a child, and a bit tattered, so I didn't get a picture of it.  In fact, I'm going to order a new copy today!  But, the story of Andrew wanting something that he doesn't have (freckles) and know-it-all Sharon selling him the secret recipe for freckle juice makes for a classic tale of well as endless writing opportunities in the classroom.

I hope that these suggestions have given you some new ideas for read-alouds in your second grade classroom.  If you have some great read-alouds you think I should check out, comment with them below!  I would love to explore some new stories with my class! :)


  1. Edward is mu favorite! Gets me every time:(

    Tonya’s Treats for Teachers

  2. I have read the Freckle Juice and The Chocolate Touch and loved both! I haven't read the Runaway Dolls, but sounds like it would be a fun read! Thanks for sharing your list!

    Teaching Tidbits and More with Jamie

  3. This will be my first year teaching 2nd grade, so this is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  4. These are great suggestions! I think Edward Tulane is ripe with ways to include deep thinking activities and I love Toys Go Out (did you know there's a sequel-Toys Dance Party) and Gooney Bird Greene.

  5. This is a great list of read-alouds. Thanks for the suggestions

  6. Awesome list - I just added some titles for my next trip to the library! Thank you! :)

    I love reading some Beverly Cleary books (Henry Huggins or The Mouse and the Motorcycle) each year. Those two titles are also the beginning of a series, and I love getting my kids hooked on a series of books! (The Boxcar Children is another great read aloud, with over a hundred more that the kids can choose from afterward!)

    My favorite children's author - besides J. K. Rowling, and my second graders are too young for Harry Potter - is Andrew Clements. I've used Frindle with reading groups, but I'm tempted to teach it as a read aloud next year instead. He has so many excellent stand-alone chapter books, plus a series of easier chapter books, plus picture books . . . and the kids love them all!

    I do a daily read aloud at the beginning of the year, but that tends to fall away sometime in October as the rigors of curriculum and reading group take over. Your post has inspired me to make more of an effort to keep it up next year! Thank you! :)

    :) Amanda

  7. I did something different this year. I read the 6 book set about the American Girl doll, Kit Kittridge. This series is set during the Great Depression. Both boys and girls ate it up, and it gave us a wonderful connection to what is happening in our area, where the economy is depressed and many parents have lost their jobs. I was impressed with the writing, the vocabulary and the connections to students in the 7 to 10 year age range.

  8. Thank you for sharing these ideas. Several of these are books that I have not seen before, so it's great to see the covers and hear a summary. Reading to my students is my favorite thing to do!
    Teaching Tips and Treasures

  9. I'm headed to the library today with my 2 sons today. Thanks for these suggestions! They read The BFG out loud in my son's 2nd grade class and he loves it. We have The Chocolate Touch at home.

  10. Nice article and your are sharing a wonderful information to the readers. I would like to thank you for sharing this good article. You can use this college paper writing service for any writing guidelines.


Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing ideas! I love to read your comments. I like to reply back by email, so make sure you have that option enabled so we can chat! :)

Back to Top