Collaborative learning is a big part of my instruction, but it doesn’t always come easy for kids. Since learning how to work in a group and as a team is an important lifelong skill, I’m always looking for ways to promote collaboration and teamwork in the classroom.
Of course, this means using lots of small group activities. And of course, setting expectations, practicing roles, and modeling early and often.
Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite read-alouds to use to promote collaboration for students in grades 3-5.
Picture Books about Collaboration and Teamwork
Grace Goes to Washington by Kelly DiPucchio
This follow-up to Grace for President is great for modeling how people compromise when they have differing opinions. Plus, I love that this book introduces the branches of government and the concept of checks and balances.
Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth
This one is an oldie but goodie. It’s great to introduce the idea that we each bring our own gifts to the table when we collaborate, and by doing so, create something much better than if we’d worked alone. I love doing a class cooperative activity after reading this together!
Boxitects by Kim Smith
While this picture book is aimed at a slightly younger audience, it’s another good choice for the upper elementary grades. The characters in this book move from rivalry and competition to working together, so this read-aloud will be one many students can connect to. It’s also a nice tie-in to STEAM and makerspaces.
A Little Spot of Teamwork by Diane Albe
This book from the “Little Spot” series is nice to use as part of a formal lesson on collaboration. It’s a helpful way to introduce leadership and what to do when conflict arises on a team.
Chapter Books about Teamwork and Collaboration
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Similar to Stone Soup, this middle grades chapter book examines what happens when experts bring their talents to work together. This book has been hugely popular with my students. And I love the tie-ins to libraries!
All Thirteen: The Incredible Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat
All Thirteen may be a little long for a read-aloud, but it’s definitely a must-have for your classroom library. I love this one because it’s a nonfiction example of why teamwork in the real world is important. This Newbery honor book had me at the edge of my seat and I highly recommend it!
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan
I’m a huge fan of novels-in-verse, and I love how Shovan tells the story from many different characters’ perspectives. Despite the character’s collaboration, they don’t actually achieve their goal, which is something valuable for students to discuss and explore.
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Sometimes there’s a blurry line between themes of teamwork and friendship in books, but I’m including this one anyway! This first book in the series will hook your students interested in mystery and adventure. The graphic novel is great, too!
Class Dismissed by Allan Woodrow
If you’re looking for a read-aloud on the lighter side, this is it! This book is narrated from the perspectives of different fifth graders, and may hook some of your students who have trouble finding books they want to read.
I hope this list helps you find some new read-aloud books to support collaboration and teamwork in your third, fourth, or fifth grade classroom!
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