Read-a-Loud Books

The read-a-loud books on this page are highly recommended by teachers and/or inquiry consultants such as Kath Murdoch. The books are not only for encouraging writing but for inspiring personal inquiry and illustrating the power of choice and voice and the nature of creativity - what it means to be human.

This is the beginning of what I hope will become, with your support, an extensive list of read-a-loud books that inspire personal inquiry and illustrate the power of choice and voice and the nature of creativity.

I welcome you to share your favourite read-a-loud book suggestions. If you wish to contribute, please submit your recommendation(s) HERE.

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'What Do You Do With An Idea?' is a children's picture book written by Kobi Yamada and recommended by Kath Murdoch. The book tells the story of a young boy who has an idea, but he's not sure what to do with it. As he wonders what to do, he learns that ideas are like seeds that need to be nurtured and cared for in order to grow.

One way to use this book in an inquiry-based instructional setting is to have students think about their own ideas and discuss what they might do with them. This could be a great way to spark creativity and encourage students to think outside the box. You could also use the book as a starting point for discussions about the creative process and how ideas can be developed and refined.

Another way to use the book in an instructional setting is to have students create their own ideas and then write or draw about what they would do with them. This activity could be done individually or in small groups, and it could be a great way to encourage students to think critically and creatively.

Overall, "What Should I Do with an Idea?" is a delightful and inspiring book that could be used in a variety of instructional settings to encourage creativity and critical thinking. It's a great resource for teachers and educators looking to encourage their students to think outside the box and pursue their ideas.

Also see the video: Where Do Ideas Come From.

Click/Tap image to view/purchase book from Amazon.com'What Do You Do With A Problem?' is a picture book written and illustrated by Kobi Yamada. The book tells the story of a young character who is confronted with a problem and must learn to deal with it in a positive way.The book has an important message about the value of facing and solving problems, and it could be used in an inquiry-based instructional setting in a number of ways. Here are a few ideas:Discussion starter: The book could be used to introduce a discussion about problem-solving and how to approach challenges in a positive way. Teachers could ask students to share their own experiences with problem-solving and encourage them to think about how they can learn and grow from facing challenges.Writing prompt: After reading the book, teachers could ask students to write a story or poem about a problem they have faced and how they solved it. This could be a good way to encourage students to think creatively and reflect on their own problem-solving skills.Role-playing activity: Teachers could use the book as a starting point for a role-playing activity in which students act out scenarios in which they are faced with a problem and must figure out a solution. This could be a fun and engaging way for students to practice their problem-solving skills.Art project: The illustrations in the book are bright and colorful, and teachers could use them as inspiration for an art project. Students could create their own illustrations or paintings depicting a problem they have faced and how they solved it. This could be a good way to encourage students to express themselves creatively while also practicing their problem-solving skills.Overall, "What Do You Do with a Problem?" is a great resource for teaching problem-solving skills in an inquiry-based instructional setting. It could be used in a variety of ways to engage and inspire students to think creatively and face challenges with determination and resilience.
Click/Tap image to view/purchase book from Amazon.com'What Do You Do With A Chance?' is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Kobi Yamada. It tells the story of a young character who is faced with a series of opportunities, and must decide whether to take a chance and try something new or stay within their comfort zone.As an instructional resource, "What Do You Do with a Chance?" can be used to encourage students to think about the role that taking risks and trying new things can play in their own lives. The book could be used to spark discussions about the benefits and challenges of taking chances, as well as the importance of staying true to oneself and following one's passions.One way to use the book in an inquiry-based instructional setting would be to have students work in small groups to brainstorm and discuss different opportunities that they might encounter in their own lives. This could include things like trying a new hobby, joining a club or team, or speaking up in class. Students could then use the book as a jumping-off point to explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of each opportunity, and decide whether they would be willing to take a chance on it.Another option would be to use the book as a starting point for a writing or art project, where students are encouraged to create their own stories or illustrations about taking chances. This could be a great way to help students think creatively about the concept and how it might apply to their own lives.Overall, "What Do You Do with a Chance?" is a thought-provoking and engaging resource that can be used in a variety of instructional settings to encourage students to think about the role of taking chances in their own lives and to consider the potential rewards and challenges that come with trying something new.

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‘The Idea Jar’ by Adam Lehrhaupt is where students keep their ideas—anything from a Viking to a space robot to a giant dragon. These ideas can be combined to make new exciting stories. But watch out when the ideas escape the jar—they might get a little rowdy! Adam Lehrhaupt’s newest picture book is sure to inspire creativity, imagination, and adventure.

Kath Murdoch says, "The book appeals on so many levels but it is its joyous recognition of the power of choice and the nature of creativity." It is he perfect companion to Kobi Yamada’s book 'What do you do with an Idea?' (See above)

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"Molly & Mae" is a children's picture book written by Danny Parker and illustrated by Freya Blackwood. The book tells the story of two little girls who are best friends and do everything together.

As a children's picture book, "Molly and Mae" could be used in an inquiry-based instructional setting to encourage social and emotional learning in young learners. Here are a few ways that the book could be used in an inquiry-based lesson:

As a starting point for a discussion about friendship: After reading the book, you could ask students to talk about the qualities that make a good friend, and how Molly and Mae demonstrate those qualities in their relationship.

As a writing prompt: Students could be asked to write their own story about a friendship between two characters. This could be a good way to encourage students to think about the importance of friendship and the different ways that friends can support each other.

As a springboard for an inquiry-based project: Students could be asked to research different types of friendships and create a presentation or project about what they learn. This could be a good way to encourage students to explore the topic of friendship in more depth and think critically about the different ways that friends can support and help each other.

Overall, "Molly and Mae" is a charming and heartwarming children's picture book that could be used in an inquiry-based instructional setting to encourage social and emotional learning in young learners.

The book is recommended by Kath Murdoch who writes, " ...it is one of those picture books with layers and layers of meaning deftly achieved through both the texts and the illustrations. At its heart, this book is about friendship, communication, conflict resolution, building bridges and giving ground. It is particularly poignant within the current climate of what feels like a decreasing capacity for people to disagree respectfully and find ways to resolve differences. A must have."

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"The Old Woman Who Named Things" is a children's book written by Cynthia Rylant. It tells the story of an old woman who lives alone in a small town and takes in stray animals. She names each animal and cares for them, finding joy and purpose in her simple life.

Here are some ideas for inquiry-based instructional uses for this book:

Research the author: Have students research the background of the author, Cynthia Rylant, and consider how her personal experiences or beliefs may have influenced the themes and characters in the book.

Explore the setting: The Old Woman Who Named Things takes place in a small town. Have students research the history and culture of small towns and how they compare to urban or suburban areas.

Analyze the characters: Have students examine the characters in the book and consider their motivations, actions, and relationships with each other. How do the characters change throughout the story?

Analyze the themes: The book explores themes of companionship, caring for others, and finding purpose in life. Have students consider how these themes are developed throughout the story and how they relate to their own experiences or beliefs.

Compare and contrast: Have students compare and contrast the old woman's life with the lives of other characters in the book, such as the animals she cares for or the people in her town. How do these characters' lives differ and what can we learn from their experiences?

Creative writing: Have students use the book as inspiration for creative writing projects. They could write a letter from the perspective of one of the animals, create a diary entry for the old woman, or write a story about another animal that the old woman might have taken in.

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Click/Tap image to view booklist from Toddle (scroll down the page to view the books)

You will find that many of the books from this list are useful for more than one learner profile attribute. They’re also helpful while dealing with some of the concepts that are addressed in units of inquiry in the early years programme.

How to Make Your Read-aloud Sessions Engaging:

  • When reading books aloud, think of this almost as a “performance”. Use different voices for different characters, add changes in your narration pace, volume, pitch, and tone.

  • Pause frequently and ask students questions to check for understanding.

  • Engage your class by asking them to predict what happens next, or ask them to comment about what they’re hearing. This will develop their listening and speaking skills, as well as help them connect what they’re hearing to their prior knowledge.

Click/Tap image to view booklist from Toddle (scroll down the page to view the books)

You will find that many of the books from this list are useful for more than one learner profile attribute. They’re also helpful while dealing with some of the concepts that are addressed in units of inquiry in the early years programme.

Even as students at this age are growing in confidence by reading to themselves, studies have shown that reading aloud is the single most important activity that adults can do to ensure students’ literacy and reading success. This is because children in the lower primary years often have a “listening level” that is much greater than their reading level and therefore when we read aloud to them, we are able to engage them with vocabulary and concepts that they would find hard to read themselves.

The attributes of the learner profile are often quite challenging for lower primary students to understand. Therefore, when we read stories aloud, complex ideas become more accessible to them as opposed to students reading them independently. Discussions and questions about the book will promote comprehension and high-level thinking.

Many of you across the world are likely teaching remotely at the moment. The good news is that the joy of reading does not need to stop in this medium of learning. Stay tuned till the end of the blog for some tips on keeping reading going in the remote learning environment.

Click/Tap image to view booklist from Toddle (scroll down the page to view the books)

You will find that many of the books from this list are useful for more than one learner profile attribute. They’re also helpful while dealing with some of the concepts that are addressed in units of inquiry in the early years programme.

The Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report indicates that 83% of students aged 6 – 17 love being read to, and yet less than 1 in 5 parents of children aged 9 – 11 read to them.

Even though upper primary students are often confident and competent readers, it’s still important for teachers to read aloud to them frequently. This is a great time to choose books that will provide thought-provoking discussions around learner profile attributes, while also focussing on international-mindedness.

Students in Upper Primary question their values as they mature. Books provide a safe and inclusive space to have discussions about larger issues while maintaining an air of comfort for the students.