6 Books to Read to Elementary Students on the 1st Day of School

The first day of a new school year brings all kinds of emotions to the surface. While some kids are psyched to be with friends and begin a new adventure, others are dealing with first-day butterflies and shedding fearful tears. Using special books to break the ice with new students is a great way to help them feel at home in their new environment. Here are just a few favorites that dedicated teachers, like those in the Teach for America program, have shared with their students to help make the first day a great day.

”The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn

This book is perfect for the youngest students and especially for those who are struggling with being away from family for the first time. In “The Kissing Hand,” Chester the raccoon is nervous about leaving his mom to head off to the first day of school. Chester’s mom calms his fears by placing a kiss in the palm of his hand, so Chester will be able to enjoy that kiss from his mom throughout the day whenever he needs some reassurance.

”How To Get Your Teacher Ready” by Jean Reagan

Reading “How To Get Your Teacher Ready” offers a different perspective and gives kids some pointers on helping their new teacher prepare for the year ahead. The book walks all the way through the year from first day to last, acknowledging all the fun that is to be had in between, empowering students to be excited about all that may lie ahead throughout the year.

”School’s First Day of School” by Adam Rex

While you are turning the tables on first-day stories, check out this unique peek into what the school itself may be feeling on the first day of school. You can read “School’s First Day of School” to students before they look around their own school buildings. This book helps familiarize students with their new surroundings and may even endear the building to them in a unique way.

”If You Take a Mouse to School” by Laura Numeroff

Building on the popular line of children’s books, “If You Take a Mouse to School” offers the same rhythmic humor of its predecessors. Young children may already be acquainted with the main character and will be able to travel along with him as he familiarizes himself with school tools such as a lunchbox, pencils and paper. It is a light-hearted and fun read for students on the first day.

”The Day You Begin” by Jacqueline Woodson

Beautifully sentimental and encouraging, “The Day You Begin” helps students feel special and unique in their new school environment. The book emphasizes the importance of every single student in the classroom and invites kids to reach out and get to know the students around them.

”First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg

This book offers a fun twist. “First Day Jitters” appears, at first, to be addressing a reluctant and frightened student, but in the end, you find out the person suffering from jitters is the teacher! This book lets kids know they are not alone in being nervous on the first day and helps bring out some lighthearted laughs.

Reading to students, especially the younger ones, helps build an immediate bond between teacher and pupil, one that can be built on in the school days ahead. With so many choices and lists of great books to use for the first day, you will be well-equipped to begin building that bond.

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