Read-aloud Fillers: Books for Substitute Teachers

Even the best-laid lesson plans do not always fit the time-slot perfectly.

Several factors feed into this. For one, if you are working from the regular classroom teacher’s plans, you might not work at the same rate, meaning that even if you teach the complete lesson carefully and creatively, you still might wind up with time left over at the end. For another, depending on the students who are in attendance that day, you may face more or less of the following time benders: questions, distractions, disruptions, and discussions.

That’s why it’s a good idea for all substitute teachers to keep age-appropriate books on hand to fill in those five or ten-minute spaces that sometimes crop up at the end of some class periods.

Books for Substitute Teachers to read aloud:

  • Classic Myths to Read Aloudby William F. Russell – Not only are myths a great choice for any class, since they’re foundational to understanding Western culture, each myth in this volume also gives an approximate read-aloud time, meaning you’ll be able to gauge which story to read based on how much time you have left in the lesson. The myths are accessible to middle and higher grade readers, alike, making this book a versatile part of any substitute’s toolkit.
  • Classics to Read Aloud to Your Children, by William F. Russell – Written in the same vein as those mentioned above (with the same benefit of approximate read-aloud times), these stories encompass classics by Dickens, O. Henry, Cervantes, Hawthorne, and other big names in the canon of Western literature. Recommended for children ages five to twelve.
  • A Treasury of Children’s Literature, by Armand Eisen – The fables, poems, and stories in this book, geared for younger readers, are perfect for when there are just a few minutes left before the next activity. Lavish illustrations throughout the book provide visual engagement, but be sure to practice with the book ahead of time so that you can hold it facing forward and read aloud without too much awkwardness.

These read-aloud suggestions, only few among many, are merely offered as good place to start. For more information on improving your substitute teaching repertoire, please feel free to contact us.

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