Reading to every classroom every month is by far one of my favorite things I do as principal. It is a fantastic opportunity to build personal relationships, set the tone for expectations, and prioritize literacy as a leader. Reading tons of books to students is one of the most important things we can do to provide equity and experiences. The poverty achievement gap begins with students who are not read to at home before they attend school in kindergarten. We must close this gap by reading as many books as possible to them which will increase vocabulary and provide experiences through literature that they may not have had otherwise.
I read to individual classes mostly but other times I read to the grade level as a whole. I connected the books to specific issues I want the students to grow in or reflect on. I also try to add an activity with the book for follow up. Sometimes I dressed up or had the students act out the book to make it more interactive. I read other books to individual grades or classes, but I made sure to get all of the classes with at least one book a month. Check out #principalreadaloud for more examples.
Many other school leaders have asked about doing this and what books to use. My list of books from this previous year is below. Before you totally adopt my list or any other’s list, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to read the perfect book. Find books that are award-winning or known books that are quality. Find books that interest you. Find books that tell a story or give a specific message that you would like to teach the students. Good luck and let me know what books you pick!