There is so much to be grateful for in November, and I am so grateful for mentor texts that allow me to create engaging, timely + effective lessons for my students! I wanted to share with you my 15 favorite read alouds for November + teaching skills aligned with each! This is a mix of Thanksgiving, November, and Indigenous Peoples books! I have a separate post for Veterans Day. Read to the end for a huge freebie to use the week before Turkey Day!
When the first snow falls, a little girl writes down the things she’s thankful for on strips of paper and links them together. As one idea leads to another, her chain grows longer. A beautiful book for social emotional learning + figurative language!
This is the story of Robbie Robertson, a rock-and-roll legend, and his journey through music, beginning when he was taught to play guitar at nine years old on a Native American reservation. I use this book to focus on nonfiction text structure and pulling out the most important details from a story.
it’s Thanksgiving at Grandmas and the cousins are trying to make their own fun! But of course they encounter vicious guard dogs (in homemade sweaters), overly affectionate aunts, and worst of all, the great wall of butts. Can they avoid all the obstacles and find some fun before turkey time? I love using this book to make inferences based on character actions and making connections!
When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth’s water, one Water Protector stands in its’ way.
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption. This book is perfect for integration in science and social studies + teaching cases and effects!
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Parade. We use this to work on literal comprehension skills, focusing on how main events lead to a big event, and we work on our map skills with an amazing freebie from Jillian Starr!
Cherokee culture places a strong emphasis on expressing gratitude.
Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. We identify the main topic and theme of this story and use it for comparing texts (choose another grateful themed book). It is also perfect for Social Studies integration when we learn the history of historic tribes.
This beautiful and informative book paints a fascinating picture of what winter means to the farm year. As a family prepares their farm together, and shows what the farm during all of the seasons truly means to them. I use this as a mentor text for how-to writing + students work on order of events with sentence strips for this book!
A beautiful book that takes a traditional food shared by many tribes, and shows the memories a family makes while baking together. I love using this book to teach figurative language + point of view! I have an entire resource for this book that can be found here!here!
It’s a simple story, but it encourages kids to be grateful for even the smallest things in their life, and is so timely for November! The book is filled with figurative language (I love the personification!) and would be great for an SEL lesson, or class meeting!
The lyrical language captures the beautiful autumn month and all the blessings we can cherish! It is the perfect book for visualization strategies and asking questions as readers.
Tuyet and her Vietnamese American family are having duck for Thanksgiving dinner – not turkey! Nobody has duck for Thanksgiving – what will her teacher and the other kids think? Her nervousness turns to surprise when she loved Thanksgiving dinner. Then even more surprise when she goes to school on Monday and kids share all of their different traditions, too! Students from families with different traditions will enjoy this warm story about “the right way” to celebrate an American holiday. Use this book for comparing text + teaching perspective.
I love this circle story! As chicken admires scarecrows hat, the sequence begins, bartering her way to come full circle back to scare crow with a trade for the hat! This book is great to focus on problem + solution relationships in a story and summarizing!
The repetition, the illustrations! Oh how I adore this heart warming autobiographical story of a family in New York who has hosted an outdoor thanksgiving in the woods for 20 years! I use it as a mentor text for author’s craft during our writing mini lessons.
Everyone loves the story of Turk and Runt! Brother turkeys who couldn’t be more different. Turk, the “golden Turkey” who will of course get chosen first for anything! And Runt, the scrawny one nobody listens to. But finally they do, and Runt saves the family from becoming Thanksgiving dinner! We learn so much creating a plot rollercoaster of the events in this story.
Uncle and Windy Girl and Itchy Boy attend a powwow, Windy watches the dancers in their jingle dresses and listens to the singers, her imagination soaring. She falls asleep under the stars and her dreams are filled with even more wonders of a traditional powwow! I use this as a mentor text to infer character feelings + review theme!
What do you do the last school day before Turkey Day? A few years ago I made it a tradition to do a Read-a-Thon the last day before break! It was such a fun and cozy way to spend our day! Here’s how it worked:
Every hour I would kick off with a read aloud (you can find my 15 favorite read alouds for November here). This would take about 15-20 minutes! We would do a quick reading comprehension activity with the book (I included a few in the freebie you’ll get below!) and then students would independently read a book of choice for the rest of the hour, which was usually about 30 minutes.
As they read, students recorded every 10 pages on a turkey feather! Every time they finished 30 pages, they added another feather to their turkey! 😀🦃
Some of the other things we did throughout the day included having a turkey mix snack (chex, mini marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and pumpkin candy corn), students would ring the bell when they finished a book, did a flashlight hour, we partner read, and did book talk book shares!
I pulled up different ASMR Harry Potter rooms on our Clevertouch Board for ambiance, and we enjoyed every moment! If you want to have your own Turkey Day Read-a-Thon, sign up for my email list below to get a freebie and get started! (If you’re already a member, you can still enter your email for the freebie!)