4 Read Aloud Books for the End of the School Year

end of school year picture books

It seems that each year the school year flies by faster than the year before! September, November, holiday season, February, BLINK and suddenly it is the end of the school year. 

Those last few weeks of school are as crazy as the first few. End of year assessments, report cards, assemblies, celebrations, and fitting in the last pieces of the curriculum. My plan book the last few weeks of school fills up so quickly, which is why I can never plan too early for those memorable end of year activities and read alouds. 

And I don’t know about your end of year schedule, but mine always seems to be choppy, with small windows of time to do activities here and there. To make the most of those in-between times, I like to be prepared with as many end of year activities as possible! These sweet picture books and activities are the perfect way to fill those holes and create even more unforgettable moments with your students.

Here are my favorite four picture books to read aloud during those last few weeks (or days) of school with your students. Read on to find out more about each book and be sure to grab the coordinating FREE student activity that goes with each book. Click each book title to see more about each book.*

Breathe Written by: Scott Magoon

This book stumbled across my path recently and I couldn’t be happier to have found it! What a sweet book that is a quick read perfect for that emotional last day of school! This book can really stand alone as the last thing you do with your students before dismissal on the last day. Each page is incredibly meaningful with powerful words that not only represent the expectations that you had for each student during the school year, but also the hopes that you have for your students for the summer and as they continue to grow. Have your students complete this illustration and writing companion activity about how they plan to spend their summer, following a read aloud of this book. Grab the free activity to use with this book at the bottom of the post!

The Raft Written by: Jim LaMarche

If you follow me on social media than you know I absolutely adore this book! It is a staple in my classroom. We read it at the beginning of the year and refer back to it all year long during almost every reading unit. We use it to help identify character traits, how the character changes, theme, symbolism and just about any other reading topic you can think of. The main character in this book has to spend the summer with his outdoorsy grandmother who does not have a TV. The main character, Nicky thinks he will have a terrible time, but instead ends up having a summer filled with discovery. We can never get enough of this book! If you have already read it this year, revisit it and try this summer sketches and writing companion activity with your students to mirror what the main character does in the book. Grab the free activity to use with this book at the bottom of the post! 

My Teacher Likes to Say Written by: Denise Brennan-Nelson

This book is so much fun to read and a perfect way to wrap up the school year! It is a compilation book of classic idioms, proverbs, and clichés that you have surely said at some point during the year! Not only does this book illustrate each saying to help them understand what each means, but the author explains each in detail. Wonder which one of your catch phrases have stuck with your students this year? Have your students complete this reflection activity all about you, after reading aloud this book. These come out adorable! Compile into a book for a fun memory book. Grab the free activity to use with this book at the bottom of the post!

Last Day Blues Written by: Julie Danneberg

Is there a more classic story to read to your students on the last day of school? This companion book to First Day Jitters, The Big Test, and First Year Letters, also written by Julie Dannenberg will give you and your students all the happy feelings as you realize your school year has come full circle, especially if you have read the other titles in this series during the year. The characters in Last Day Blues worry that their teacher will miss them all summer long (how sweet)! The book focuses on the students coming up with ways to make sure that their teacher is not sad all summer without them. It is a heartwarming story and your students will love to see these familiar characters once again. What better way to reflect upon this book, then by having your students illustrate and write about what they think YOU will do all summer long! Have your students create two different illustrations in the sunglasses on this page and write about the two things that they can "see" you doing over the summer. Grab the free activity to use with this book at the bottom of the post!

end of year freebies

The end of the school year sure is an emotional roller coaster! Reading these books together at the end of the school year always help us to relax and reflect on the many days and memories we shared together. I look forward to sharing each and every one of these picture books with my students each year. I hope that you enjoy sharing them with your students, too! 

Check out my favorite end of year projects!
Like this one!


*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)



  1. I love the "My Teacher Likes To Say" freebie, but what about male teachers? Anyway I can get a male version of this awesome freebie?

    1. Oh my goodness, I am just seeing this now, my apologies! Of course you can, please email me and I will send it right over! thirdgradegiggles@gmail.com

  2. Oh my goodness, I am just seeing this now, my apologies! Of course you can, please email me and I will send it right over! thirdgradegiggles@gmail.com

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