The unique Halloween books listed below are perfect for October classroom read alouds. Ideas for adding a writing workshop with each book are provided to extend learning. Ideally, the inherent relevance of the holiday-themed text will carry over into the writing practice, engaging students throughout the entire reading and writing experience.
Sir Simon by Cale Atkinson
Sir Simon by Cale Atkinson is a clever story about a ghost named Simon. Simon is employed as a professional haunter, and he takes his job very seriously! Just when Simon is getting tired of the same haunts day after day, he meets a young boy named Chester. Can Simon train Chester to be a professional haunter too? Only time will tell. This one of kind book will delight readers from beginning to end. Happy haunting!
Writing Workshop Extension: Onomatopoeia
- Review or introduce students to the definition and purpose of onomatopoeia.
- Share with students several examples of onomatopoeia found in Sir Simon.
- As a class or in pairs, brainstorm additional onomatopoeia examples.
- Have students include at least three examples of onomatopoeia in a short description of their morning (or evening).
Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins is an uplifting story about a hopeful stemless pumpkin. As the days get closer and closer to Halloween, Stumpkin still has not been taken from the store and transformed into a jack o’lantern. Readers join Stumpkin on his emotional journey leading up to Halloween night. Will he ever be chosen? This unique Halloween story will keep young readers on the edge of their seats.
Writing Workshop Extension: Point of View
- Together with students, determine the point of view used in Stumpkin.
- As a class, find two examples to support your point of view choice.
- Have students rewrite the story (or part of the story) as if it were being told by the gourd.
- Invite students to share their rewrites and discuss how changes in point of view create changes in the story.
Bone Soup by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Bone Soup by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a young reader’s Halloween version of the famous folktale Stone Soup. Three witches enlist help of their entire spooky community to make a delicious bone soup. Ghoulish and ghostly ingredients are added until the flavor is just right, proving that great things can happen when people share their ideas and work together!
Writing Workshop Extension: Sequence of Events
- Brainstorm with students types of signal words that show chronological order or a sequence of events.
- Refer back to Bone Soup to review the order in which the ingredients were added to the soup. Use signal words to describe the addition of each ingredient.
- Have students write a short recipe for a simple meal that includes at least four steps. Each step must start with a word that signals the event order.
Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler
Bonaparte Falls Apart is a silly story about a skeleton who can’t manage to hold himself together. Luckily, Bonaparte’s friends Franky Stein, Blacky Widow, and Mummicula join together to help solve the problem. The unique illustrations by Will Terry jump off the page and bring the story to life. Young readers will love this book!
Writing Workshop Extension: Vocabulary
- As a class, reread the sentences that contain the words clacked, hang loose, muffled, retrieve, and sensation.
- Call on students to try and define each word using context clues.
- In groups or pairs, have students use a dictionary to clarify the meaning of each word.
- Working independently, have students use each word in an original sentence.
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson is a rhythmic story that follows a friendly witch and her cat on an extraordinary broom ride. As the story progresses, helpful friends are invited to join the witch on her broom. Soon, there’s no more room on the broom for anymore friends, and the witch finds herself in a scary situation. Can her friends help her?
Writing Workshop Extension: Rhyme Scheme
- Review the process of determining rhyme scheme. You can do this by assigning a letter to the word at the end of each line. Words that rhyme get the same letter. An example is provided below.
Then out of the bushes (A)
on thundering paws (B)
There bounded a dog (C)
with the hat in his jaws. (B)
- Go through this process with several stanzas until students get the hang of determining rhyme scheme.
- Have students write their own poem using the ABCB rhyme scheme.
Snowmen at Halloween by Caralyn Buehner
What do snowmen do when no one is watching? Snowmen at Halloween by Caralyn Buehner follows the several snowmen as they celebrate all the festivities of Halloween. The imaginative story includes hidden pictures in each illustration, making reading time double the fun!
Writing Workshop Extension: Personification
- Review with students the meaning and purpose of personification.
- Read examples from Snowmen at Halloween that personify the snowmen.
- Together as a class, look back through the story to find another inanimate object. Write two original sentences that personify the object you chose.
- Have students work independently to write three sentences that personify the jack o’lanterns in the story.
If you want to add even more writing practice to your classroom read alouds, download the Summary Writing Graphic Organizers from Literacy in Focus on TpT. 10 printable, digital, and editable summary writing organizers for all types of texts are included!
“This is a great resource! There are so many fantastic graphic organizers and they’re done very well – both visually and in regards to the information. My students found their work much easier to do while both summarizing as well as writing their own work.” -Cassandra R.