November Read Alouds for Upper Elementary

With each season and holiday, I frequently include new books to explore different seasonal topics. For our November read alouds, we read several books about gratitude, family, and – of course – turkey!

November read alouds for upper elementary students, related lessons to use with each book, and seasonal activity ideas too!

Here are some of my favorite November read alouds, along with several classroom activities that are perfect for this month. You can easily browse all titles here on Amazon or use any of the links below (affiliate links).

November Read Alouds

Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen – During November, the season of thanks and gratitude, I think a lot about family. So, why not celebrate the family you’ve created within the classroom? After reading this book with students, create a collaborative bulletin board or door display for students to display the traits they think make up a family. For example, being there for each other, kindness, or love. 

Have students pick one of those traits and give an example of how they see it represented in the classroom. For instance, “When I am having a bad day, my friends at school ask me how I am doing. I know they care.”  Have students write on an index card or print out a seasonal template. Then display their responses on the bulletin board or door.

Gratitude is my Superpower by Alicia Ortego – It wouldn’t be a November read aloud if we didn’t talk about gratitude! After reading this book, discuss gratitude and appreciation for the small things in life. Then engage in a quick write activity.

Set a timer for 2-5 minutes and have students write what they are grateful for. When the timer is up, have students share their gratitude list with a partner or with their table.

All About Turkeys by Jim Arnosky – This informational November read aloud gives kid-friendly information about the American wild turkey. Have students complete a KWL for this book. Before reading, ask students what they know about turkeys, such as what they eat, where they live, etc. Then ask students what they want to know. Put these in the W spot.

After reading, complete the L or learned column. If there are still unanswered questions about turkeys, consider adding a research station to your next center rotation. You can have students read more about turkeys or research information online.

Thank You, Omu! By Oge Mora – This is the perfect read aloud to talk about the power of generosity, sharing, and gratitude. After reading, have the class generate an “Acts of Kindness” list. These should be easy items that students can complete throughout the school day. For example, sharing a ball at recess, giving someone a marker to borrow, or holding open the door for the class. Then, give students a specific timeframe to work on their kindness list and make sure to celebrate (even if it’s just a simple high-five) for completing an act of kindness.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak – While November is well into autumn, I still think this book is a great November read aloud. This book has beautiful illustrations for fall includes various features of fall, such as crunchy sticks on the ground or birds in the air.

Use this book to talk about imagery or figurative language. For younger students, display one of the illustrations larger on a screen. Then, have students use imagery to describe the illustrations. I suggest modeling first with a different picture before having students try their own.

For older students, have them create a simile or metaphor about fall. For example, the birds were as loud as a horn. Again, it never hurts to start off with some modeling, and then turn it over to students for independent practice!

More Great November Read Alouds

November Classroom Activities

Here are more seasonal ideas that are perfect for literacy, math, centers, and more throughout the month of November.

Thanksgiving Math Project

This Thanksgiving Dinner Digits math project engages students in planning their Thanksgiving dinner. If you’ve ever been the head chef for Thanksgiving, you know that it takes lots of planning!

Students will be in charge of picking the side dishes, buying the right sized turkey, calculating nutritional information, timing everything just right, and more. This is the ultimate math project, with just a bit of turkey madness thrown in. It's a great project leading up to Thanksgiving break.

Thanksgiving Procedural Writing

Thanksgiving is full of food, recipes, and preparation. Have students think of a food or task they can create a procedure for. For example, they can write about how to make a pie or how to set a table. Make sure to review transitions students can use in their procedural writing, and talk about the importance of details!

After students have written their procedural texts, have another student read it over for a peer review. They can offer any feedback, such as confusing steps, to the author. Then, the author can make their final edits.

Fall Reading Skills Task Cards

Want to add some fall-themed activities to your literacy centers? These fall reading task cards include inference skills, context clues, cause and effect fluency, and more. 

Each task card set comes in a different format, so students don’t get bored with the same tasks over and over. Your students will make inferences with pictures, choose between statements with cause and effect, and read paragraphs for fluency.

Thanksgiving Research

You can turn this into a project on its own or include it in a literacy station. Have students conduct research on a Thanksgiving related topic. I suggest giving them a list of items they can research. For example, cornucopias, turkeys, November weather, harvest, and more.

Have students write down what they learn during their research, and then write a paragraph summarizing the information. This is a great way to practice synthesizing and summarizing!

Inference Mystery

This seasonal inferencing bundle will actually help you get prepared for several major holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Back to School, Thanksgiving, and more. These are mystery-based activities, and who doesn’t love a mystery?

Each activity comes with six stations. With each station, students will be investigating a different place and looking through a set of clues. That is where the inferencing takes place! Then, students will take the information they learn and try to solve the mystery.

In this set of Thanksgiving inference centers students will become investigators tasked with figuring out who took a prized turkey!

Story-Telling with Comics

One of my favorite ways to get students thinking creatively and bringing in fictional writing is through comics. You can have students draw their comics on paper or use this site, Storyboard That

Have students create a short and sweet November related commit. This can be related to Thanksgiving, but it can also just have fall themes. This is the perfect chance to talk about plot, have students plan their story using plot, and then create the story with a comic strip.

Seasonal Reader’s Theater 

Just like the inferencing activities, this seasonal reader’s theater bundle will have you prepared for all the major holidays throughout the school year! These reader’s theater activities enhance students' comprehension and fluency.

Each holiday includes numerous skills-based plays that are perfect for the week or two leading up to a holiday. 

Need More Thanksgiving activities and lesson plans?

I hope these activities help make your planning easier all month long. Seasonal themes are such a great way to bring in new and exciting activities, and upper elementary students aren't “too old” to enjoy them!

If you're looking for more Thanksgiving lesson plans for math and literacy, head to this upper elementary Thanksgiving ideas post!

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