The last day of school is fast approaching. I know – it’s exciting and sad all at the same time. It also means that you’ll have some time to fill during those days when you are off your normal schedule. Read-alouds are great for end-of-year activities when you aren’t interested in cramming in another unit to study, you’re winding down from testing, or you just need to spend time reflecting with your students before they go to the next grade (or to new schools in the case of your 5th graders). Here are 11 read-alouds to consider reading with your 3rd-5th grade students.
1. Only One You by Linda Kranz
This is a sweet story about the relationship between parents and children, but it is also a great read for the last day to your students. You can reminisce about memories from class and what you hope they learn as they leave your class and go on to greater things.
2. My Teacher Likes to Say by Denise Brennan-Nelson
Such a fantastic book full of fun idioms and a nice reflection on what students pick up on their teacher’s favorite sayings. In add to great laughs, spark a conversation about the sayings your students have noticed about you this year. For an additional activity your students can write their own “My Teacher Likes to Say” about their own class.
3. Lizzie on the Last Day of School by Trinka Hakes Noble
Great things must come to an end, and Lizzie is not happy. This is a sweet story about a girl who loves school so much and can’t believe when it ends too soon. If you have students who hate that school is ending, read this goodie.
4. Sideways Stories from the Wayside School by Louis Sachar
This classic is one of my favorites. The stories are silly and a great way to unwind. Each chapter can be a stand-alone, so there’s not pressure to finish it all if you run out of time (which is a bummer but at least there’s a safety net). If you’re looking to do more with the story, it’s also great inspiration for creative writing.
5. Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg
Mrs. Hartwell’s class is very concerned about how much she will miss them over the summer. Seeing a class with big hearts making sure their well-loved teacher is taken care of is sure to bring a smile to your face. It also might inspire your class to love on you a little extra on the last day of school!
6. Top Ten Ways to Ruin the First Day of School by Ken Derby
A humorous read about a boy who wants desperately to make it onto Letterman. A book full of stunts and over-the-top antics that’s sure to get you laughing. But wait, isn’t this also a first day of school book? I love this for the end of the year to help start discussions with students about apprehensions for the next year. The end of the year can be emotional, and focusing instead on the fun things ahead is sometimes a better take than focusing on any apprehensions of the one ending. Plus, who doesn’t want to help students create their own Top Ten list for next year’s teacher?
7. Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna
This is a really amazing read for showing the importance of our words and the difficulty in trying to take back rumors. It’s a good lesson for any age to learn, but upper elementary students, in particular those getting ready to enter middle school, can use an extra reminder.
8. When It’s the Last Day of School by Maribeth Boelts
Little James is determined to get a last gold sticker for the year. He’s going to obey all the rules and have a perfect day. It’s a lovely story for excited kids who are excited about the last day of school.
9. Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Last Day of School by Julie Gassman
Who knew dragons love to party? This is in interactive story that’s part of a “Do Not Take Your Dragon to” series that’s sure to bring fun and whimsy to your last day activities. It would be so fun for students to create their own dragons and shenanigans they would get into.
10. A Letter From Your Teacher: On the Last Day of School by Shannon Olsen
Another potential emotional read. This could be a great “last day of school” book for your students, complete with a class activity where everyone fills out pages of a memory book. A cute keepsake for their year.
11. Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herber Yee
An adventurous book to get students thinking about and planning for their summer fun. It’s another fun, easy read that is light for the end-of-year feelings.
I hope these books and ideas inspire you to make the most of the end-of-year season with your students. I like the option to use various reading levels even with my older students. Whether you’re looking for something more reflective for the last days of school with you, or uplifting for your students’ year ahead, I like having book lists that give you options!