Fall. The most wonderful time of the year!
October brings with it many fall seasonal changes that are both fun and a great way for students to learn more about seasons and how they move from one to the next.
Below you will find fall read alouds for lower elementary that will help you and your students usher in the new season. There are also activity suggestions for each book!
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Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kendard Pak
This beautifully illustrated book walks us through the transition from late summer to early fall. In the beginning the character notices how late summer begins to get cooler and more windy and how the animals start to migrate or forage for food to prepare for colder days. As she continues her walk, she notices flowers that bloom in early fall, such as asters and phlox, along with the leaves changing colors and beginning to fall to the ground. Both words and illustrations help students experience the seasonal change from summer to fall.
Have students go on a fall/nature scavenger hunt and look for things that represent the transition to autumn mentioned in the book (e.g. leaves changing color, squirrels, acorns, crunchy leaves, pine cones, colors: orange, red, yellow).
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
In this Lois Ehlert creation, she uses the leaves of fall to create her illustrations. The first illustration is Leaf Man and the book follows him as he is blown by the wind. Leaf Man used to be in a pile of leaves, but then the wind carried him away past many places including: over the chickens, the marsh, the fields of pumpkins, past a turkey, and over the orchards and the river. As Leaf Man is blown by the wind the illustrations change to match the scenery. Throughout the book, Lois Ehlert uses leaves to illustrate a chicken, ducks and geese, a turkey, a field of pumpkins and squash, orchards, prairie meadows, a spotted cow, a river, a bird, and many more. The beginning of the book also includes leaf illustrations with names making it a great book to use for a leaf study.
Have students go outside and collect leaves to make their own leaf illustration by picking one of the illustrations used by Lois Ehlert to recreate on their own. An alternate activity would be to collect leaves and have the students sort them by feature (e.g. color, size, etc.).
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
Jasper Rabbit has a strong passion for carrots. So much so that he likes to swipe them from Crackenhopper Field as often as he pleases. But one day, the carrots from Crackenhopper Field begin to follow Jasper. At first he thinks it’s his imagination getting the best of him, but then he realizes that creepy carrots are really following him. He sees them all over the place: brushing his teeth, in the bathtub, in the shed, and in his bedroom. He tells his mom and dad but the carrots are always gone by the time his parents arrive on the scene. Once Jasper has finally had enough, he decides to build a fence around the carrot field so that the creepy carrots can’t follow him anymore. Little does he know that the carrots concocted the creepy carrot plan so that Jasper couldn’t continue to eat them.
In the book, Jasper thinks that carrots are super yummy. Have your class take a vote about who thinks carrots are yummy and who thinks they are yucky. Make a class graph showing the results and/or have students complete their own graph.
How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
This book offers many ways to incorporate math and science activities (see below for suggestions). In the book, Charlie and his classmates are led by their teacher Mr. Tiffin to predict how many seeds are in three different sized pumpkins (small, medium, and large). The class makes their predictions and shares their reasoning. The next day Mr. Tiffin opens the pumpkins and has the students extract the seeds. On the final day, the students work in groups to count the seeds. Once the results are in, Mr. Tiffin helps the students to understand why some pumpkins have more seeds than others.
As you read, have students estimate along with the characters about which pumpkin will have the most seeds and explain their reasoning. At the end, help students make a list of all the ways the class learned from Mr. Tiffin that might make a pumpkin have more seeds. Math: Use dried pumpkin seeds to count, subtract, and add. Science: Dissect a pumpkin and make a list/chart of all of its parts.
Click here to get a free pumpkin mini unit!
Teacher tip: This post had many activity suggestions. Once you have the books, get a sticky note and write down the activity and stick it on the inside cover of the book. Any time you do the read aloud, you can remember the easy no-prep activity!
This post was written by my friend Erienne Jones. She is a former school librarian turned entrepreneur who continues to immerse herself in the world of books!