There is something about the change from winter to spring that is different from other seasonal transitions! Flowers blooming, gardens growing, and sunshine aplenty bring with it a vibrancy that is beautiful to behold.
We can share this beauty with our students by reading books about spring and spending time outdoors with them to explore nature.
Below you will find 4 K-2 spring read alouds for lower elementary along with activity suggestions to go along with each selection!
Do you teach 3-5? See your spring read-aloud recommendations here!
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A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis
This beautifully illustrated book uses riddles and imagery to help students explore and experience nature. Riddles such “I am a comma in the long, long sentence of the stream, someday soon you’ll hear me croak” (tadpole) and “I am cool pudding on a muggy day, let your toes have a taste” (mud) make this book a fun guessing game to play as you read aloud.
For younger grades, have students guess what animals are being referred to with each riddle as you read. For older students, have them write their own riddle about spring and share it with the class.
Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring by Kenard Pak
Kenard Pak’s seasonal transition books are a read-aloud staple for classrooms as each season transitions into the next. In Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring, Kenard paints a vibrant picture of how winter fades into spring using beautiful illustrations and poetic lines. At the beginning of the book the character experiences a winter night by saying hello to snow falling, a frozen pond, bare trees, an empty nest and a howling winter storm. The following morning the sun comes up bright and beautiful and starts to melt the last snow of winter. The character then says hello to the winter thaw, new leaves, waking animals, sunshine, flowers blooming, birds returning, etc.
Have students create a two-sided illustration: one side illustrating winter and the other illustrating spring. Then have them go outside with a clipboard and pencil and make a list of the different ways they notice winter transitioning into spring.
Outside In by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Cindy Derby
Another beautifully illustrated picture book, Outside In explores the idea of how the human race has lost touch with nature (e.g. riding in cars instead of walking, spending more time indoors) but that the outside continues to call to us and invite us to spend time with her. The outside invites by singing to us with chirps and whistles and beckoning with smells and beams of sunshine. The book also shows how the outside provides for us with things like food, clothing, and furniture and how it helps us to find routines and rhythms (e.g. nighttime shows us when to sleep and daytime shows us when to rise). This exceptional book reminds us that spending time outdoors and in nature is good for us and our well being.
Take students outside and have them brainstorm and then write a sentence or a paragraph (or even a poem) about how nature makes them happy and brings them joy.
Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall
In this family-centric picture book, you’ll find Jabari outside with his dad and sister. While dad is working on his garden, Jabari is trying very hard to get his flying machine to fly. His little sister Nika wants to help but she’s really just getting in the way. After a few failed attempts, Jabari’s father recommends that he let Nika help since many engineers and inventors often have assistants. They try another way to get the flying machine to fly with no success and Jabari gets very frustrated and wants to give up. After a little breathing pause and encouragement from his father Jabari and Nika try again and are able to make the machine fly! This title also incorporates onomatopoeia (sounds words) and explores ways to calm down when we are overwhelmed or frustrated.
After reading, have students discuss the problem that Jabari faced and how he was able to solve it using a graphic organizer.
Additional books to consider for Spring:
- Green, Green: A Community Gardening Story by Marie Lamba, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
- Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
- The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
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!