10 of the Best Read Aloud Books for 2nd Grade

One of my daily goals is to read a quality picture book and a chapter from a chapter book to my 2nd graders.  It doesn’t always happen but I am successful about 80% of the time. I firmly believe reading to our students needs to happen every day (along with time for independent reading). Kids LOVE to listen to books. Here are 10 of my favorite read-aloud books for 2nd grade.

When I was a substitute, at some of the most challenging schools I worked at, a good read-aloud always settled down a class of lively children. It’s imperative to keep a chapter book close by at all times. It’s the perfect solution for that awkward 8 minutes between recess and art or at the end of the day during dismissal.

Here are my top 10 favorite chapter book read-alouds for 2nd grade

Freckle Juice

Judy Blume Freckle Juice
Did you ever want something so bad you were willing to do almost anything for it? I remember wanting glasses as a kid. I would wear fake ones and it was ridiculous! (Now I have the real thing and it’s not so exciting lol) Well, Andrew Marcus wants freckles in the worst way and he is about to get the solution 🙂
This is a perfect short chapter book to start off the school year. I remember reading it when I was a kid and it brings back all the feels. My 2nd graders love the simplicity and silliness of this Judy Blume classic.
Length: 64 pages

Hallie’s Horrible Handwriting

Hallie's Horrible Handwriting
Hallie likes everything about school except handwriting. The story shares how, with the help of her teacher, she overcame her struggle with writing. This is a great story about having a growth mindset and accepting the areas where you need to make progress. It’s another short one so it’s great for the beginning of the year when students’ attention is still building stamina.
Length: 48 pages

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Another classic, your students are sure to love Ralph the mouse–his antics and bravery. I love sharing the made-for-TV movie after we read the book. And if your students enjoy this one, there are two more in the series I urge them to find in our library!
Length: 176 pages

The Candy Corn Contest

This is the perfect fall read-aloud! Richard Best can’t stop thinking about the candy corn contest in his class. Students earn one guess for every page of the book they read. It’s the perfect launching tool for your own class candy corn contest! Students will eat it up (pun intended-ha!)
Length: 80 pages
The Chocolate Touch
Who doesn’t love reading about candy? And you can never have enough chocolate, right? I love how The Chocolate Touch intertwines reality and fantasy. This would make a really great novel study for higher readers as well. There is a great free TpT resource by Create Teach Share here.
Length: 128 pages
Side note: I saw a story circulating about an adult who remembers her teacher handing out one Skittle to each student during their read-aloud time. She would savor the Skittle for as long as possible while she enjoyed being read to. And that was a memory that lived on for a lifetime.

The Tale of Despereaux

Introducing your students to the beautiful writing of Kate DiCamillo is one of the best things you can do for young readers. And while The Tale of Despereaux is deeper with complex vocabulary, Kate has many other great independent reading books for 2nd graders. The characters in this book stick with you long after you are done reading. This is another great one to watch the movie after–especially because it greatly differs from the book so there is a lot of great comparing/contrasting that can occur.
Length: 272 pages
Link: https://amzn.to/2Juw0ck

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This is one of my favorites <3 I have just ALWAYS loved Willy Wonka. He is such a brilliant character. And another fantastic movie to pair with the book. We always watch the old version with Gene Wilder because it’s way better—Sorry Johnny Depp #notsorry
Length: 192 pages

Pippi Longstocking

This is a new one I added this year and it will now be a permanent fixture. It’s goofy and weird (which can be a little difficult to read/animate the first time around) but lots of fun. My students really thought Pippi was super crazy which she is and I love it! I remembered the 1988 movie that I watched about 500x during my childhood. So, of course, when we were done we had to watch the movie (do you sense a theme here? I promise we don’t just watch movies all day). I have never seen a group of students so into a film before.
Length: 160 pages


Not going to lie–this one took me a while to get used to reading aloud because of the BFG’s made-up language (and because I always attempt to use a giant-like voice.) My friend Cait (@caitscoolschool) suggested playing the audio version which I think is a fantastic idea!
Length: 224 pages

Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

I like to save the BEST for last! The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is such a heartfelt and emotional ride. Second graders aren’t quite ready to take in the beauty of this story until later in the school year. I look forward to reading it and I cry every year. I don’t really know what could be more powerful communication to my students about how book shape and change us than for them to see the raw emotion a book can bring. If there is ONE book from this list you decide to try out-make it this one! But wait to read it–it will be SO worth it!
Length: 240 pages

I plan my chapter book read alouds strategically and I listed them in roughly the order I read them. In the beginning of the year, we keep it light with some easy, shorter, fun books. As the year progresses, the books get a little longer with some more complex themes. I do not read ALL of these in one year as there is just not enough time for that. My goal is 5-6 chapter books. I feel out my students’ interests and decide what I think they would enjoy the most. But these are my tried and true. I hope you can enjoy one with your class!

  What’s your favorite chapter book to read aloud?
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