8 Picture Books To Read Aloud During Testing Season Upper Elementary

childrens books about testing days

No matter how old students get, they still love to gather in the reading corner and get lost in a good book listening to the soothing sound of their teacher's voice reading. Navigating testing season in the classroom can be tricky. Some schools that I have taught in get knee-deep in test prep, while others treat it as a regular school day.

Whichever way your district and school approach it, we can agree that the testing season is stressful! Even with the most laid back approach, students know the schedule is different, the atmosphere is tense, and the long hours of testing is exhausting!

These books are perfect to share anytime before, during and after testing season. Add these to your social-emotional lessons, too, as the content in each book provides discussion starters that will engage your students in meaningful discourse to help them understand their feelings. Most importantly, the characters in these books allow students to make connections, share their own thoughts, fears and feelings. They help students to learn that they are not alone in having mixed-up feelings about standardized testing.

Below are my favorite tried and true testing season read-aloud picture books. Read on to find out more about each book and grab the coordinating FREE student activities at the bottom of this post.

A Little Spot of Anxiety written by Diane Alber

This book is an engaging book that talks about everything that comes with the feeling of anxiety. With specific examples of events that may cause anxiety and strategies to help children calm down, this is one to definitely read before the testing season begins. I especially love that this book sheds light on the fact that when feelings of anxiety are not addressed, they grow. Have your students try out the strategies included in this book to practice calming down and reducing their anxiety. Grab an activity to do with this book for free at the bottom of this post.

a little spot of anxiety book about testing days for children

Be You! written by Peter Reynolds

I cannot love this book anymore! All of Peter Reynolds books are colorful and uplifting, and this one is no different. This book encourages students to have self-love and reminds them to stay true to who they are. It celebrates individuality and persistence and is the perfect read to motivate and inspire students during the testing season. Have students draw a heart on construction paper and fill it up with everything that they love about themselves. This uplifting activity will have them go into the testing season feeling good about who they are! Grab an activity to do with this book for free at the bottom of this post.

be you! peter reynolds uplifting book for kids

Everybody Needs a Rock written by Byrd Baylor

This is my favorite book to share before testing begins. I cannot take credit for tieing this book into the testing season, as it was a tradition handed down to me by my grade level partners at my school. Before testing begins, each teacher in my grade level reads this book aloud to students and discusses how a rock can be a friend to them when needed. To do this all students need to do is rub their rock between their fingers. After reading this book, I invite students to select their own rock from a bucket of polished rocks that I present to them. We discuss how they can keep the rock while taking tests and hold and rub it when they are feeling stressed. My students love this and often come back years later to say how much the rock has meant to them. It is a tradition that I have loved being a part of.

everybody needs a rock picture book for testing days for children

Last to Finish (A Story About the Smartest Boy in Math Class) written by Barbara Esham

If you read this book at the beginning of the school year, revisit it during the testing season. If you haven't read it this year at all, now is the time! The story is focused around a student who panics and "freezes" during timed testing sessions, like his timed math fact quizzes. I love this book for its realness. It helps children understand how different everyone's brains work. After reading this book, take a class poll to see if students like or dislike timed settings and then discuss the results. Students love and connect with this book so easily.

last to finish picture book about testing days for children

Testing Miss Malarkey written by Judy Finchler

I love the Miss Malarkey series! This fun story follows Miss Malarkey, her students, and the entire school community as they prep for and take standardized testing. It's light nature and humor make it a fun read right before the testing begins. Teachers will especially love the humor and the illustrations on the last page! Grab an activity to do with this book for free at the bottom of this post.

8 Picture Books To Share During Testing Season

The Anti-Test Anxiety Society written by Julia Cook

I love how this book fully illustrates what anxiety looks like, feels like, and sounds like. The main character experiences much anxiety over upcoming tests, much like our students do, to the point where she literally feels sick. Her teacher helps her through it by helping her see the positive in testing situations, as well as sharing 12 tips to help her deal with her anxiety. These are great tips that students can put into action right away! Grab an activity to do with this book for free at the bottom of this post.

the anti test society childrens book about testing days

The Big Test written by Julie Danneberg

This is another one of my favorite series! I just love the teacher, Mrs. Hartwell. If you have read First Day Jitters and Last Day Blues, you know what a great classroom community Mrs. Hartwell has created in her classroom. This book teaches students the best lesson to learn when prepping for standardized testing is to relax. Grab an activity to do with this book for free at the bottom of this post.

the big test picture book about testing days for children

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes written by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein

This book is another popular back to school read-aloud that should be revisited around testing time. This book tells the story about a girl who loves to be perfect and is afraid of making mistakes. She learns that not everything is in her control and that mistakes happen. She learned to embrace making mistakes and gave up trying to be perfect. This is such a valuable message during any testing season! Grab an activity to do with this book for free at the bottom of this post.

8 Picture Books To Share During Testing Season

When it comes to creating a calm and relaxing environment for students before, during and after testing sessions, don't overlook the power of a great read-aloud. Be sure to leave these books displayed in the classroom so students can take them, reread them, and try out all the strategies as they need them. What is your favorite book to share during the testing season? Share your favorite below in the comments section.

                        Looking for test prep motivation? Click the picture below!

ideas to motivate and create calm testing classroom environment

                                   Need reading test prep activities? Try these!

                                                 Love these ideas? Pin for later!

picture books to help children during stressful testing days

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    This resource offers a selection of picture books for testing season, emphasizing relaxation and enjoyment amidst academic pressures. It includes a diverse range of themes to engage young readers, includes brief summaries of each book, and incorporates suggestions for fostering a positive reading environment. The books can alleviate stress or anxiety, address emotional needs during stressful times, and explore additional resources or activities. It encourages educators to prioritize students' well-being alongside academic goals. Overall, a valuable resource for supporting students during testing.

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