If you're looking for Read Aloud Books for First Grade, I've put together a fantastic list of chapter books. There are old classics and new favorites, perfect 1st grade read aloud books for home and school. Updated August 2022
I still remember being in the first grade and listening to my teacher, Ms. Bershad, read aloud from Superfudge by Judy Blume. It was my favorite part of the school day.
Superfudge, however, can be a little controversial (especially for first graders), so Ms. Bershad did some editing as she read, skipping scenes that might cause problems. I still have a very distinct memory of sitting in the back of our mini-van at my little brother's t-ball practice with my best friend Lindsay as we scoured each page of our very own copy of Superfudge for all the "inappropriate" parts.
Fudge is still near and dear to my heart all these many years later. And I still laugh when I think about Peter Hatcher peeing in the houseplant because four-year-old Fudge is so slow in the bathroom (this was one of the scenes Ms. Bershad skipped of course).
All that to say, First Grade is a wonderful time for read aloud books. By first grade, kids are ready to listen to longer books and more complicated stories. It's an excellent time to introduce these fantastic read aloud books and create reading memories that will last a lifetime.
Tips for Reading Aloud to 1st Graders
Choose Books Above Their Reading Level: By first grade, most kids are beginning to read aloud on their own. However, their listening comprehension is higher than their actual reading level. They can understand vocabulary and language patterns, even if they can't read them yet, so this a great way to introduce them to more complex stories and ideas.
Choose Book Series At Their Reading Level: While it's great to read aloud stories above their reading level, it's also helpful to read books, especially the first in series, at their reading level. This encourages them to want to pick up the next book in the series and continue reading on their own.
Ask Questions and Encourage Discussion: Whether you're reading aloud at home or in a classroom, it helps to ask questions as you read. Not only does this help your little listeners to engage with the text, but it also helps you know if they are understanding the story. I like to have my kids tell me in their own words what's happening in the story. I also like to ask them to imagine what they would do if they were a character in the book. (Note: I don't interrupt the story to do this, but rather wait until the end of a chapter or section).
Choose great books: A good book that will excite and engage little listeners is the key to a rewarding read aloud experience. Luckily, I've been compiling a list of my favorite read aloud books for first grade over the years and I'm more than happy to share them here!
Read Aloud Books for First Grade
Below is a collection of my favorite read aloud books for first grade. Almost all of them have illustrations to help keep little listeners engaged with the story, as well as simple storylines, and short chapters - perfect for kids ages 6 to 8.
I've read every single book on this list, most of them aloud too, and I love them all. Note: All of the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. You can also download a printable copy of the list below.
MORE HELPFUL BOOK LISTS
- Excellent Chapter Book Series for First Graders
- Read Aloud Books for Second Grade
- Read Aloud Books for Third Grade
- Easy Chapter Books for Independent Reading
Favorite Read Aloud Books for First Grade
Toys Go Out
By Emily Jenkins | Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky | 144 Pages
This is one of my favorite read aloud books of all time. Your first graders (and you!) will fall in love with Lumphy (a stuffed buffalo), Stingray (a stuffed stingray), and Plastic (Plastic isn't entirely sure what she is). The toys are ready for an adventure and you'll enjoy tagging along.
Willa the Wisp (The Fabled Stables)
By Jonathan Auxier | Illustrated by Olga Demidova | 112 Pages
Auggie is the caretaker at a very unique stable for one-of-a-kind creatures. In this book, the first in the illustrated series, Auggie has to help Willa the Wisp escape a group of hunters so she can take refuge at the Fabled Stables.
If your little listeners love a good adventure, this is an excellent book to read aloud.
The Miniature World of Marvin & James (The Masterpiece Adventures, 1)
By Elise Broach | Illustrated by Kelly Murphy | 128 Pages
James is going on vacation without his best friend Marvin, a beetle. Marvin is worried about staying home without Marvin, but he ends of having quite an adventure while James is away.
This is a fast=paced adventure story, with short chapters and really charming pen-and-ink illustrations.
Babe: The Gallant Pig
By Dick King-Smith | Illustrated by Melissa Kashiwagi | 128 Pages
This charming classic story about an intelligent pig with a talent for sheepherding is always a big hit with big and little listeners!
Written and Illustrated by Alex Milway | 192 Pages
This is such a fun series about a hotel run by a little girl named Anna, T. Bear the doorman, Madame Le Pig the chef extraordinaire, and Lemmy the ring-tailed lemur that runs the front desk.
This book sparked a lot of imaginative play at our house - my kids turned every room into a hotel! So fun!
The Cricket in Times Square
By George Selden | Illustrated by Garth Williams | 144 Pages
Chester is a cricket who accidentally ends up in the Times Square subway station, far from his country home. The story itself is a sweet, simple, old fashioned, yet timeless, story, filled with music and fun.
Every time Chester learns a new song, look it up and listen to the music along with Selden’s written descriptions. It really makes the book come to life! I can't think about this book now without humming the Blue Danube Waltz.
Jenny and the Cat Club
Written and Illustrated by Esther Averill | 176 Pages
Jenny Linsky is an orphaned black cat who lives with a sea captain in Greenwich Village. She wants nothing more than to be able to join the very fashionable local Cat Club, with memorable characters like Madame Butterfly, a fancy Persian cat who rules the roost. But Jenny is a shy little cat - will she have enough confidence to join the club?
This sweet, funny classic was the book that turned my daughter into a reader. It's darling!
The Children of Noisy Village
By Astrid Lindgren | Illustrated by Ilon Wikland | 128 Pages
While she is better known for her Pippi Longstocking books, this is my favorite book by Astrid Lindgren. Get ready to be completely charmed!
The book follows 6 kids on three neighboring rural farms in the Swedish countryside. There are no cars or electricity, so they do all the wonderful things you'd want happy children on a farm to do. They catch crayfish, and swim, and run errands in the big village, and play all the best pretend games you can imagine.
If you love this one, be sure to check out Happy Times in Noisy Village too - it's just as good!
Brand New School, Brave New Ruby
By Derrick Barnes | Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton | 130 Pages
This is the first book in a fantastic series by Derrick Barnes. This would be a great read aloud book for first grade, and then your kids will be able to continue reading the series on their own by second and third grade.
Ruby Booker has three older brothers and they're the most popular boys on Chill Brook Avenue. But Ruby is not about to be left behind by the Booker Boys - she's just as tough as the boys, maybe tougher!
By Sara Pennypacker | Illustrated by Marla Frazee | 160 Pages
All of my kids have loved the Clementine books! She's a spunky character (reminiscent of Ramona Quimby) and all of her misadventures and antics will keep young listeners engaged in every chapter.
If your first grader enjoys this one, there's a whole series to continue with!
By E.B. White | Illustrated by Garth Williams | 192 Pages
This is, in my opinion, an absolutely perfect book. It needs little introduction from me, but I will say this: you will enjoy reading this book aloud just as much as your first graders enjoy listening to it. Also, be prepared to cry.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
By Beverly Cleary | Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers | 176 Pages
This is the first chapter book I read aloud to three of my four kids, always with great success. Ralph is just such a fun character for kids to engage with.
And if your little listeners enjoy this one, you can read the sequel, Runaway Ralph, too!
Written and Illustrated by Abby Hanlon | 160 Pages
Dory has the best imagination, which makes this book so much fun to read aloud. Best of all, it's hilarious and will have your first grader(s) laughing out loud through the whole book.
Princess Cora and the Crocodile
By Laura Amy Schlitz | Illustrated by Brian Floca | 80 Pages
This one is shorter than most of the books on this list if you're looking for something quick. It's only 80 pages, with pictures too.
Princess Cora takes lessons all day every day, takes three baths a day, and isn't allowed to do anything fun. She's tired of it all and she dreams of getting a pet dog. But everything changes when she meets a misbehaving crocodile who just wants to have a little fun.
George's Marvelous Medicine
By Roald Dahl | Illustrated by Quentin Blake | 112 Pages
Like many Roald Dahl books, this one is full of naughtiness and mischief, so you may want to preview it ahead of time. That being said, I think it's all in good fun! This is a shorter novel and a great read aloud.
George's grandmother is a horrid, grouchy, grizzly old lady but George has a plan. He's going to make the most marvelous medicine and cure his grandmother of her grouchiness!
Gooney Bird Greene
By Lois Lowry | Illustrated by Middy Thomas | 128 Pages
Gooney Bird Greene is the most unique kid at Watertower Elementary School. She wears tutus and cowboy boots to school and she always has a story to tell.
This is a fun book to use in a classroom (or home-school) to discuss the different elements of storytelling. Sweet Gooney Bird Greene inspires everyone to be a storyteller!
Three Tales of My Father's Dragon
By Ruth Stiles Gannett | Illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett | 96 Pages
This is a wildly imaginative book from the 1940's that is still delightfully entertaining today. It's simple, silly, and so much fun. I loved reading this one aloud with my young kids.
The book follows young Elmer Elevator and a baby flying dragon named Boris, who Elmer rescues from a jungle island where he is being held captive. The book is filled with fun illustrations too. If you enjoy this one, there are three books in the series.
The Chocolate Touch
By Patrick Skene Catling | Illustrated by Margot Apple | 128 Pages
This is a fun twist on the King Midas tale, but in this book it's a young boy, John Midas, who wishes for a magic touch, and instead of gold, everything John touches turns to chocolate. Such fun!
Ribsy (Henry Huggins)
By Beverly Cleary | Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers | 240 Pages
I don't always love books in which an animal is the main character, but Ribsy the dog really stole my heart.
Told from the dog's point of view, readers get to follow Ribsy as the poor lost dog tries to make his way back home to the boy who loves him. It's a grand adventure!
The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure
By Doreen Cronin | Illustrated by Kevin Cornell | 112 Pages
A group of chickens (with names like Dirt, Sugar, and Sweetie) are launching a galactic expedition from the backyard. This is a super silly book, but kids love it.
Ramona the Pest
By Beverly Cleary | Illustrated Jacqueline Rogers | 240 Pages
Ramona Quimby is one of the greatest characters in all of children's literature. Not only that, but Beverly Cleary writes about real life, childhood, and family dynamics with a simple wisdom that is nothing short of brilliant. Read this book!
The Doll People
By Ann M. Martin | Illustrated by Laura Godwin | 288 Pages
Annabelle Doll has lived in the dollhouse for over a hundred years and aside from Aunt Sarah's disappearance from the dollhouse 45 years earlier, nothing much has changed for a hundred years. But when the Real Pink Plastic Funcraft Family moves in next door, everything changes for the Doll Family!
My girls adore these books. All the books in the series make wonderful read alouds.
Jada Sly, Artist & Spy
By Sherri Winston | 272 Pages
Jada Sly may be a kid, but she's also a spy in training and she's ready to embark on her greatest spy adventure yet. She's heading into New York City to find her missing mother. She was told her mother died in a plane crash, but she's quite certain that her mom is also a spy and Jada is going to be the one to find her. (And don't worry, this one has a happy ending).
This is an action-packed book, with a few fun illustrations scattered throughout too. It makes a great read aloud!
A True Home (Heartwood Hotel, 1)
By Kallie George | Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin | 176 Pages
Mona the Mouse is caught in a terrible storm when she discovers the Heartwood Hotel, a grand hotel in a tree in Fernwood Forest where animals come from far and wide for luxury and comfort. But there's also danger lurking and Mona has to figure out how she can help protect her new home.
This series is adorable and really engaging!
By Judy Blume | 208 Pages
Last, but certainly not least, is Fudge. As I mentioned above, you may want to screen this one first, but don't skip it just because it's rowdy - it's so much fun to read aloud! Fudge is the kind of character that will stay with you forever.
Sarah Brown says
I can't find the link for a printable list. Thanks!
I emailed the list to you Sarah. I'll troubleshoot the problem now - the link is showing up for me, but maybe not for anyone else? Thank you for bringing it to my attention!