The days are growing shorter, and as winter starts to penetrate most of the United States (you're lucky, Hawaii). There's no better time in the classroom than when students have just come inside from playing in the snow. Their cheeks, nose, and ears are red from the cold, and everyone settles on the carpet for some fun winter read-alouds.
When winter hits, students often realize that Hanukkah, Christmas, and many other major holidays are upon them. But that doesn't mean all your read-alouds have to revolve around one of those holidays! Winter-themed read-alouds are just as fun and can make for great discussions about animals, the weather, and more. Plus, fun winter read-alouds can be read from November to March.
15 Fun Winter Read Alouds
1. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keas
Pre-K to Kindergarten
Peter puts on his red snowsuit and starts his adventures in the deep snow. An excellent book about a special time in every kid's life and wanting to keep the wonder forever (even after it melts away).
A book written in 1962, The Snowy Day is a timeless classic that all students will love. Showing diversity in books and allowing students to see every child enjoys the snow.
- As you are reading, look for causes and effects. There are many throughout the text.
- Using a Venn diagram, have your students compare what Peter likes on a snow day to what they want to do on a snow day.
2. The Story of Snow by Jon Nelson Ph.D
Kindergarten to Third Grade
This nonfiction book will answer snow-based questions, like how ice crystals form. Or why are snowflakes never the same? Not only is this book filled with snow-based information. But the photographs and snow-catching directions bring this book up another notch. Making it the perfect book for homeschooling or the classroom.
If your class is totally into nonfiction, many activities and exciting information can come from reading The Story of Snow.
Create a schema anchor chart before reading. This will help show what students already know about snow.
Use The Story of Snow, and have students go through the writing process to write an informational piece about snow.
3. There Was a Cold Lady That Swallowed Some Snow! by
Pre-K to Kindergarten
Another wonderful story from the There Was an Old Lady Series; this time, she swallows all the makings of a snowman. Students will love this rhyming and funny text and the excellent illustrations, and there is a surprise no one will expect this time!
There Was a Cold Lady That Swallowed Some Snow! is a great book to help teach many standards and help students with comprehension while laughing along the way!
Practice sequencing by having students organize pictures of each item the old lady eats and putting them in the order they are consumed in the story.
Create a winter-themed sensory bin with fake snow and fill it with the cards from the story or even items like a pipe, arms, coal, etc. Let students explore and have snow winter fun!
4. Sneezy the Snowman By Maureen Wright
Pre-K to 2nd Grade
Have you ever heard of a snowman who is cold? Well, Sneezy the Snowman is feeling the cold. To try and warm up, he drinks cocoa, sits in a hot tub, and then melts! But the children build him back up and know how to make him feel just right.
Sneezy the Snowman is a funny book about a cold snowman and is perfect for teaching cause and effect, predictions, and other E.L.A. standards students need to know.
Have students make predictions about what will happen to Sneezy after he does each activity.
Give students cards representing different parts of the story and have them figure out the causes and the effects.
5. Snowzilla by Janet Lawler
Pre-K to 2nd Grade
Cami Lou and her brother have built the largest snowman in the world. Soon tourists from all over poor into their small town. Although many think this snowman is super cool, others think this giant snowman is causing significant problems. Can Cami Lou and her brother save Snowzilla?
Snowzilla is the perfect book to show students how they can make a difference even when they feel small!
- Students can focus on winter vocabulary words and practice them with worksheets like matching, fill-in-the-blank, and other vocabulary options.
- Have students write a "how to" piece with directions on how to build a snowman.
- Have fun building your own clay model snowman. How big will he be? Check out this step-by-step resource from TeacherGoals' author, Tricia Fugelstad. Grab snowman lesson here.
6. The Mitten by Jan Brett
Pre-K to 2nd Grade
Nicki dropped her white mitten in the snow while walking in the woods. One by one, woodland animals find it and crawl inside. Finally, a brown bear finds its way inside, followed by a tiny mouse. What happens next makes this book wonderfully funny!
Jan Brett is the queen of wintertime stories. Most of her books focus on woodland animals and their winter adventures. This an excellent opportunity to read multiple books by the same author this winter!
Conduct an author study on Jan Brett. Read a biography and some of her books, and complete fun book-themed activities.
7. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Pre-K to 2nd Grade
Late one winter night, a little girl and her father go owling. Everything is still and quiet. There is no answer when her dad calls out to the nighttime bird. The two march through the woods in silence because you don't need to talk when you go owling. Sometimes you find an owl, and sometimes, you don't.
A Caldecott Medal winner, Owl Moon, is a story that all students should listen to at least once in elementary school.
Incorporate science and have students dissect owl pellets.
Learn about the moon's phases and create each phase using Oreo cookies.
8. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
3rd Grade to 5th Grade
Willy's grandfather has fallen ill, and he is determined to win the National Dogsled Race to help save his family farm from foreclosure. This tale of danger, adventure, and love is a remarkable winter-themed chapter book for students.
A great story about perseverance and trying even when the cards are stacked against you: Stone Fox is a great read!
Students can research the state of Wyoming (where Willy is from) and learn about the state capital, flag, bird, etc.
Stone Fox is considered a legend. Have students find and read other famous legends.
9. Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater
4th Grade to 7th Grade
A regular house painter soon becomes the owner of a group of penguins. Their crazy antics and funny way of living attract attention from all over. Children enjoy them, and adults find them interesting. But the Poppers just love them.
Mr. Popper's Penguins is a funny and engaging chapter book, perfect for students looking for a text full of "Ps."
- Read the book Mr. Popper's Penguins and then watch the movie starring Jim Carrey. Discuss the similarities and differences between the two. Why are movies often so different than books?
- Have students choose a species of penguin and research it. They can learn about their habitat, food, life cycle, etc.
- Make a clay penguin. Check out this adorable lesson from TeacherGoals' author, Tricia Fugelstad. Grab clay penguin lesson here.
10. Most Marshmallows by Rowboat Watkins
Pre-K to Kindergarten
Most marshmallows are born to marshmallow families, go to marshmallow school, and have marshmallow friends. But this book is not about most marshmallows. Like kids, some marshmallows have big dreams and can do anything they set their minds to!
Most Marshmallows is a sweet book that teaches everyone that as long as we are true to ourselves, we can do extraordinary things!
Have students use toothpicks and marshmallows and create a tower, design, or something unique.
Use Most Marshmallows as a social-emotional read-aloud. Teach students about being different, being yourself, and not changing for others.
11. The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear
Pre-K to Grade 1
Charles wants to find a wish tree. But his brother and sister do not believe such a thing exists. But his friend Boggan is ready to join him on the journey, and along the way, they discover wishes come true in unexpected ways.
The poetic and beautiful illustrations inside The Wish Tree make it the perfect winter or holiday read-aloud.
Help your students understand the meaning of perseverance and kindness by using this book as an S.E.L. lesson.
Charles is great for a character study. Have students analyze how he feels, acts, and thinks throughout the story.
12. The Magic of Friendship Snow by Andi Cann
Pre-K to Grade 2
Everyone seems to have a friend except for Jojo. She feels sad and lonely. Then Jojo meets puddles, a snowman made from friendship snow. Jojo learns that she can make a friend if she tries.
This is a wonderful book that helps students see that making friends can sometimes be difficult.
Teach the theme of the story through Jojo and her struggles. Ask students questions like what problem is the main character facing. How did she overcome those obstacles? What life lesson did you take away from the story?
Another great S.E.L. read-aloud. Have students discuss how they make friends and how it can sometimes be challenging.
13. Snow Stuck by Nick Courage
Grade 3 to Grade 7
A massive blizzard rages on the eastern seaboard, and three kids are about to get stuck right in the middle. Three cousins head to N.Y.C. to experience wintertime and the city's magic during Christmas. But when Ashley's dog gets loose, the three cousins find themselves trapped in a dark, snow-covered city!
The perfect book for students who love the I Survived… series, Snow Stuck is full of fun and adventure.
Students can write about a time they had no power and what they did to entertain themselves.
Research some of the biggest snowstorms to hit the United States. Have students create a presentation on one.
14. The Lights that Dance in the Night by Yuval Zommer
Kindergarten to Grade 3
A book where Yuval Zommer imagines the Northern Light's journey from space to Earth. A great story that explains how they weave their magic into the animals and people who live in the towns, woods, and ocean below.
A book with absolutely gorgeous illustrations. The Lights that Dance in the Night is the perfect book to introduce students to the beautiful Northern Lights.
Research the Northern Lights and how/why they happen.
Have students create a beautiful Northern Lights picture on black construction paper using oil pastels.
15. A Loud Winter's Nap by Katy Hudson
Pre-K to Kindergarten
The tortoise always sleeps through winter. He doesn't feel as though he misses anything important or fun. But his friends try to convince him otherwise. Will he stay up during winter to see if his friends are right, or will he sleep the months away again?
A Loud Winter's Nap will convince any winter hater that there is magic and fun when you have friends by your side.
Students can practice story mapping by determining the setting, characters, problem, solution, etc.
Practice having students make connections to the story. Use the connections text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world to get them going in the correct direction.
16. Curious About Snow by Gina Shaw
Grade 1 to Grade 3
Using photos taken by Wilson Bently in the 1890s, this Curious About book helps teach students about the science behind snow, the history of record-setting blizzards, and how people have fun in the snow!
Curious About Snow is the perfect book to read with students before jumping into a snowflake-themed research project or a snow pile!
Have students use q-tips to create their own snowflakes.
Use paper and scissors to create different paper snowflakes, punch holes in them, and put a fishing line through them. Hang them from your ceiling so it looks like it's snowing this winter.
If you are looking for other ways to celebrate snow and snowflakes. Try these FREE Snowflake Mandala Coloring Sheets—the perfect activity after a winter-themed read-aloud. Students can listen to holiday music and enjoy a relaxing activity coloring unique and beautiful snowflakes.
Want ideas for more read-alouds? Check out these:
- 10 Social-Emotional Learning Books for Children
Want to grab all these books for your classroom? Check out our Amazon Idea List with all our favorite books for the winter season here.
What is your favorite winter activity?……. Share in the comments below.
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