Anyone else a picture book collector? I love accumulating picture books to use in my classroom, and I love using them for my morning meeting read alouds. Using picture books during morning meeting provides a great opportunity to build relationships and discuss important topics with my students… and kids of ALL ages just absolutely love being read to!
I wrote a blog post previously about planning a morning meeting for upper elementary classrooms. In the morning meeting routine, I always include a read aloud and other morning meeting activities. Here are several picture books I use for my morning meeting read alouds, along with an engaging activity to pair with each book.
Morning Meeting Read Aloud Books
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The Very Last Leaf – In this adorable and meaningful book, students will talk about what it means to face and overcome our fears. Have students write down a fear on a sticky note or piece of paper. Then, have students write an “I Am statement” to help them reframe their fear. For example, if a student has a fear of failing a test, they can write, “I am trying my best and that is enough.” Be sure to model this for students before having them write their own.
What Do You Do With a Chance? – This inspirational book will challenge students to take new chances and opportunities. Have students turn to a shoulder partner and share their answer to the following question, “What is something new you want to try?” Gather a few responses from the class.
Save the Ocean – The name of this novel gives away its powerful message: our ocean is important, and we need to protect it. When you finish reading, challenge students to think of a way they can reuse, reduce, or recycle in the classroom. For example, not wasting paper by using both sides. Make a chart to hang in the room and challenge students to complete one of those actions today!
The Magical Yet – The Magical Yet speaks to all the things we can’t do… yet! Ask students to write down something that challenged them lately. Why was it challenging? How did it feel at that moment? Then, have them rephrase their challenge. “I didn’t pass my math test” becomes “I didn’t pass my math test, yet!”
Memory Jars – This morning meeting read aloud comes with a powerful lesson: some things are best saved as memories. Give students time after reading to reflect on one of their favorite memories. Then have them write a letter to someone they shared the memory with. Ask them to explain the memory and why it is important to them.
A Stone Sat Still – I love the unique story and perspective this picture book offers. Throughout the story, different animals and creatures describe what the rock is to them. This novel is a great opportunity to discuss how we all experience the world in different ways. Ask students about things they might experience at school such as recess, tests, and field trips. Are they excited? Scared? Nervous? Discuss how there is no one “right” way to feel or think, so we must learn to listen to other people’s experiences.
One – If you want to teach students about the power of their voice, this is an excellent read. A great morning meeting activity after reading is a discussion about standing up for each other. Ask students what they should do if they see someone getting bullied. Who should they ask for help? What can they do to help the person being bullied?
The Boy with Big, Big Feelings – We all know how important it is for our students to develop emotional intelligence, and this book promotes feeling all the feelings. Ask students a discussion question: when might anger be a good emotion? When might sadness be a positive emotion? This would also be a great time to make connections to Inside Out! (This post also has a great literacy activity to use with Inside Out!)
Listening to My Body – Here is another excellent book for helping students understand their complex emotions. After reading this text, write a few categories on the board: anger, happiness, sadness, worry. Then have students use sticky notes to identify different bodily sensations or expressions that might accompany these emotions.
Gratitude is my Superpower – This picture book will teach your students about the power of showing gratitude. After reading, help your students craft a list of three things they are grateful for. Throughout the week in morning meetings, give students a moment of silence to read what they wrote and practice gratitude.
Other Morning Meeting Activities with Books
If you need a break from read alouds or want to mix up your morning meeting activities, then I have a few other ideas for how you can use your picture books.
Cover Discover – For this activity, display several picture books on a table or around the room. Ask students to walk around and preview the book covers. Then have students select a book cover they feel represents either how they were feeling or something about them. Remind students that they aren’t looking for a book to read, but rather an interesting cover they can relate to. Finally, have students explain how the book title relates to them.
Book Share – Give students a moment to reflect on a book they really like. This can be a book read during morning meeting, independently, or at home. Have students share with their elbow partner the title of this book and three things they love about it.
Fictional World – Many picture books are filled with beautiful drawings. Give your students a chance to flip through a few picture books, then have them select one of the books they would love to live in! This might be a jungle book or a brightly colored city. Have them write down why they love these book illustrations and why they would like to live there.
I hope this book list has been helpful! If you're looking for more picture book and novel recommendations, check out these other great book recommendations!
More Ideas to Build Community
Want more morning meeting activity ideas? Here is another blog post about building classroom traditions during morning meeting, with tons of ideas and descriptions on how to implement the traditions. These are great for creating a strong classroom community.