Even upper elementary students love read alouds, and especially at the end of the year. The end of the year is a great time to read short picture books as most of the time your novels or class read alouds have been wrapped up. This post will share three of my favorite end of the year read alouds for 3rd-5th graders (with free printable activities).
Note: Depending on the students you teach, some 5th graders may not find these activities as engaging at this point in the year (middle school fever and all). As always, use your judgement and your knowledge of your students when choosing books to read aloud. 🙂
Amazon affiliate links included if you wish to purchase the books mentioned on this post.
My Teacher Likes to Say by Denise Brennan-Nelson
If you have never watched your students impersonate you (and not in a mean way), you are missing out. It cracks me up every year that the students seem to pick up on my mannerisms and sayings very easily. They often pick up on things that I am not even aware of. This end of year read aloud is perfect for letting the students show you just how much they have picked up on.
My Teacher Likes to Say is full of different common idioms and other sayings that teachers may say. As you read aloud the book to your students, discuss the sayings, their meanings, and whether or not you say each one (or something similar).
The other aspect of the book that I like is that the student doesn’t seem to understand the sayings so he or she gives his/her own meanings to them, often taking a literal interpretation. This would make a fun activity for the students to do with things you say.
They could choose a phrase that you say often, write a quick paragraph/poem in the same format as the read aloud, and then illustrate it. In the free download section of this post, I included a simple free printable that you can use (and a few other variations).
Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg
This cute end of the year read aloud is about a group of students reminiscing about the school year and what they will miss. They also share what they are looking forward to. This lends perfectly into a quick writing activity where the students make lists or poems about the parts of school they will miss and what they will look forward to.
In the book, the students are also very worried that their teacher will miss them and be miserable over summer. Throughout the book, they brainstorm the perfect gift for her. As a fun end of the year activity, the students could figure out what would make the perfect gift for you and why they think that. You could even have the students present their gift ideas to the class and have the class vote on which gift they think you would like the most. You could make it realistic gifts or let them go all out, even making up gift ideas that don’t exist.
And my favorite part of this read aloud is the end when the author reveals that the teacher is just as excited for summer break as the students. This will probably not come as a surprise to many of your students, but it is still a cute little twist.
Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden by Edith Pattou
This short read aloud contains an extended metaphor, comparing gardening to teaching. At the beginning of the book (which is set at the end of the summer), the principal gives Mrs. Spitzer a packet of seeds and she tends to them all year.
For this end of year read aloud, you can have the students find the activities and objects that are similar to teaching or objects found in a classroom (the flowers are like students, the tools she uses are like books and activities, tending to the garden is like teaching, etc.).
Another activity is to have the students brainstorm other activities that can be compared to teaching and writing similar stories or simply writing about those comparisons.
Here are some ideas we have come up with in the past:
- Running a zoo
- Raising children/raising a family
- Building a house
Bonus End of Year Read Aloud
Each year, I love reading Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School. I save it for the end of the year and we read a few chapters a day. Some years, we are not able to finish it, but because each chapter tells its own separate story, it works out fine. I like to keep the book on hand and pull it out to read when we have a few extra minutes.
FREE Printables for the End of Year Read Alouds
Click here or on the image below to download the free printables shown to use with the end of year read alouds.
Do you have any favorite end of the year read alouds? Let me know in the comments!
Need End of the Year Math and Literacy Activities?
Are you still needing academic resources to engage your students until the end of the year? Check out these end of the year activities (with digital activities) for math and literacy.
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As a teacher whose teaching path went from elementary to high school (math) and back to elementary, your work has helped me grapple with multiple subjects again! I can’t thank you enough!