September 21, 2014

Best Read Aloud for 4th Grade...Seriously!!

Every year, I waffle about my first read aloud of the year.  It's a big decision. I mean... it is the first book that you share with your class. It sets the stage and tone for all future read alouds.  Not to be dramatic or anything, but it's important. :)

But now, thanks to my fabulous new 4th grade team, I know the best read aloud for starting the year in 4th grade.  And, that read aloud is Gooney Bird Greene! 

I cannot believe I had not read this book until this year.  I love books and it seems criminal that I missed this one. If you've been waiting to read this book, don't wait any longer.  It's laugh out loud funny, full of fabulous description, and entertaining from cover to cover.  I mean, it IS Lois Lowry and everything she writes is pretty much literary gold.

Gooney Bird Greene is no exception.

So, why did I wait so long to read this little novel?  Easy.  It's about a second grade class and I thought it would be too young for my class.  Silly me. Silly me.

The story follows one second grade class that gets a new student, Gooney Bird Greene. Gooney is unlike any other student in class.  She's got style and flair.  She's always true to herself and most importantly she's an amazing storyteller.  Soon, the students are begging for Gooney to share more stories from her life that seem larger than life but are actually 100% true.

This book may have been about 2nd graders, but the story is captivating and entertaining no matter what your age. Every student in my room loved this book! They begged for more each and every day.

Naturally, this would be a great read aloud for any grade, but why do I specifically say 4th grade? Easy. Gooney not only tells stories from her own life but gives writing tips along the way. She talks about adding detail and description. She gives advice about staying on topic.  She offers suggestions for transitions and story ideas.  The entire last chapter is Gooney showing the rest of the 2nd graders they they have stories to tell in their lives and how to find them based on the stories she told. It's the perfect idea springboard.

As a 4th grade teacher that teaches personal narrative, I could not have found a better way to start the year.  The kids loved the read aloud and they are already referencing the book during writer's workshop.  They all want to be Gooney Bird Greene and I'm relishing all the great writing instruction they got without even knowing it.

Thank you Lois Lowry and thank you Goonie Bird Greene.

I will never have to worry about my beginning of the year read aloud again.


  1. Thanks so much for the recommendation! I'm always looking for a great read aloud, and I, too, teach personal narrative to 4th grade. We're in the thick of it right now, and I'm struggling with this group! They want to write 3 sentences and call it done. The revision process is so hard and I've found that each year the personal narrative is the HARDEST for them to write and write well. Fiction, they can do. Personal narrative, not so much. So, anything that will help - I love. Thank you!!
    Are We There Yet?

  2. I have this book...guess I need to revisit it. Thanks, always looking for narratives to state tests 4th graders on narrative writing.


  3. I have never read this! Last year we read The Doll People and my class loved it. I tend to lean towards the fantasy genre with my read alouds...not sure why that is!
    Chickadee Jubilee

  4. I have recommended this book to writing teachers ever since I first read it a couple years ago!

    Math is Elementary

  5. I've never heard of that book but it sounds fabulous!

  6. Thanks Amanda - Am going to see if we own a copy in our library and will read it straight away. Love learning about new books that are great for Read Alouds! So fun!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing! Love getting new read aloud recommendations..especially when there's an underlying lesson that I can sneak in. Already went and ordered it on amazon ..yeah!


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