The 12 Best Back-to-School Read-Alouds

Make the transition back to school easier for you and your little learners with Novel Effect's 12 best back-to-school read-alouds!
12 back-to-school read-alouds featured on Novel Effect

The back-to-school season is a busy time of year! Kids (and their grown-ups) are making the most of the last days of summer while preparing to get back into the school-year routine. Make the transition easier with 12 of the best back-to-school read-alouds from our Back-to-School Collection. These awesome titles paired with our engaging soundscapes are sure to get everyone excited for the year ahead.

See a pencil next to your favorite classroom read? This title has no-prep PreK-5 activities available for purchase on our website. The best part? Premium subscribers can access our lesson plans for FREE! Now is the perfect time to join the Novel Effect family. Pay a flat rate—equal to the cost of 4-6 activity packs—for a year-long subscription.

Are you an educator? Consider our individual Educator Plan or tell your principal about our School Plan so your colleagues can join in on the fun!

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

A silly and relatable tale, First Day Jitters helps kids understand everyone gets nervous when starting something new—even grown-ups! The upbeat music in our accompanying soundscape is sure to have little learners excited for their first day.

I Promise by LeBron James

Teach your students about the importance of determination and self-respect through the sweet mantras found on every page of I Promise. The smooth sounds of the electric guitar throughout this soundscape will have you bobbing along to the book’s inspirational words as you read aloud.

A Letter from Your Teacher on the First Day of School by Shannon Olsen

Sometimes the heartfelt excitement of a new school year is impossible for a teacher to put into words. Thankfully, Shannon Olsen does it for you in A Letter From Your Teacher on the First Day of School. Listen for dolphin whistles, pencil scratches, and inquisitive students during the soundscape!

Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor

Like plants in a garden, every child is unique and grows in their own special way. Just Ask! teaches kids that being different, while sometimes challenging, is actually a superpower. Through jovial trumpets, guitars, and tambourines, this soundscape is a celebration of the things that make us all one-of-a-kind.

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin

Make a school day routine fun with a Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes read-aloud! Our soundscape’s swanky beats will be sure to have your blossoming bookworms grooving in their seats.

PRO TIP: Stuck inside for recess? Have your kids let off some steam with a Pete the Cat jam session!

The Cool Bean by Jory John

The Cool Bean shows kids that a little bit of kindness can go a really long way! Bluesy wails on the saxophone and excited little bean voices will have your kids enthralled with this soundscape from page 1.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

When establishing behavior expectations in a new classroom, it’s super important to make sure your kiddos know how their actions impact others. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? makes understanding empathy easy!

PRO TIP: Have your students listen for the character voices in this soundscape. Have them pick out the bucket fillers and bucket dippers as you read aloud.

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Sometimes you need to add a little silliness to childhood classics. Change up the endings to your little learners’ favorite fairytales while also teaching them the importance of patience with an Interrupting Chicken read-aloud. This soundscape even has an interrupting animal surprise!

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Teach your students about perseverance and believing in themselves through the story, Jabari Jumps. The buzz of happy swimmers and splashing water in this soundscape will transport your bookworms straight to Jabari’s local pool.

Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

Featuring your favorite furry forest friends, Do Unto Otters is a goofy and great take on The Golden Rule, “Treat others the way YOU want to be treated”. The bouncy and bright beats in this soundscape will make your lesson on manners a breeze!

We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Being nice can be tough when you’re the only dinosaur in a classroom full of humans! Your kids will be having too much fun listening to We Don’t Eat Our Classmates to even realize they’re getting a lesson on respect! The munching, crunching, and endearing voice of Penelope Rex in this soundscape will have you rooting for the story’s heroine from the very first sentence.

What Do You Do with a Problem? by Kobi Yamada

Read What Do You Do With a Problem? with your budding bookworms so they know problems aren’t always as scary as they seem. The classic piano overture during this soundscape will create a sense of hope for you and your listeners as it swells out of your speaker and into your classroom.

Our team of soundscape designers are currently hard at work creating even more back-to-school read-aloud soundscapes you are sure to love. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter to see when new books join the Novel Effect bookshelf!

Download the Novel Effect app to bring stories to life with music and sound that respond to your voice. 

Share this post


Supercharge the school year with a Novel Effect School Plan and transform learning!

Transform Summer Reading!

Engage & Inspire Readers with our Summer Reading Program!

Join the Challenge!

Turn the page and discover a new adventure!