During my teaching career, I've mainly taught upper primary school. One of my absolute favourite things about being a teacher is reading to my class. Here are my favourite read-aloud novels to read with students from grades 4 to 6 (ages 9-12).
Teachers Note: I love buying the Kindle/eBook version of each book as I read aloud so that students can follow along on the screen. I've found this makes a big difference for those kids who struggle to just listen, as they can be reading the words as I do.
1. Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone
Warning: I am going to talk about Harry Potter a lot on this blog. It was my literary bread and butter growing up. I even have a Potter-related tattoo! But borderline-unhealthy obsession aside, there truly is something magical in being able to share this with my students. I'm reading this aloud for the third time to my current class and they're so engaged.
I've read this both at the end of grade 4, and during grade 5, and there's never been a novel I've read aloud that has been so impacting. There are so many class discussions that are ignited by this novel, about bullying, friendship, discrimination etc. I've actually teared up both times I've read this aloud - which is nothing to say how badly I sobbed during the movie!
3. The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
I certainly wouldn't recommend this to every class. It's a tricky novel to read for kids - there's so much old fashioned language. I read this aloud to my Grade 5's - it was at a higher vocabulary level than most of them could have gotten through on their own. But reading aloud means that they have the opportunity to listen to unfamiliar language - and my class had so many beautiful conversations about right and wrong reading this together.
This only took a few days, but was a fun beginning-of-the-year read with my Grade 4's. It's funny, engaging and has a lovely message about reading. I honestly think you could read this with nearly any aged child and have great time!
For me, this sits in the Wonder category of books. As beautiful as it is as a novel, the thing I love the most about it is the discussion it inspires. A boy coming to Australia as a refugee, as young as a grade 4-5 student, who loves soccer and his family. The first time I read it, I was worried of scaring my kids - but the fact is that thousands if not millions of children have experienced a world as terrifying as this at the same ages as the kids that we teach. It's a case of educating them in empathy and understanding, rather than scaring them about the state of the world.