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Books to Teach Rules for Back to School

Building classroom community and establishing clear routines, expectations and procedures are my main focus during the first few weeks of school. I have found over the years that it is so important for young learners to have a clear understanding of classroom rules and procedures before ever diving into curriculum. What better way to do this than with a bunch of books to teach rules?! This list of over 45 books teaches students about following rules, listening, bullying, how to be patient, what is expected of them, and the importance of following routines and procedures in the classroom.

Teaching students about classroom rules & classroom routines and procedures just got a whole lot easier with this ultimate list of back to school books about rules! These read alouds will help with classroom management as you review classroom procedures with your elementary students. You can pair these back to school books for kids with your favorite back to school activities. Students learn how to take care of classroom supplies, kindness, and all about following directions and listening.

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Books to Teach Rules

The World Needs More Purple Schools by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart

From the story “The World Needs More Purple People,” Penny Purple taught us how to be a purple person… someone who finds commonality with others while still celebrating what makes them unique. It will take curiosity, sharing, hard work and lots of laughs to make their school purple, but Penny and her classmates put their purple skills into action.

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

Officer Buckle’s safety presentations at schools lack excitement until Gloria, his trusty police dog companion, begins to join him on stage. Gloria steals the show with her entertaining antics. As Officer Buckle learns the impact of Gloria’s presence, the story highlights the power of collaboration.

Recommended Resources:

classroom rules

Classroom Rules & Expectations | First Week of Back to School | Classroom Management

school supplies

How to Use School Supplies Craft | First Week of Back to School Activities

David Goes to School Activities and craft

David Goes to School Activities and Craft | First Week of Back to School Rules

Officer Buckle & Gloria
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03/08/2024 09:01 am GMT

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School by Jane Yolen

Even dinosaurs can learn and behave properly at school. The book depicts various dinosaur species engaging in silly and exaggerated antics, such as throwing tantrums or refusing to share. This book teaches young readers the importance of following rules, being respectful, and embracing a positive attitude.

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?
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03/08/2024 09:07 am GMT

David Goes to School by David Shannon

Uh-oh! Popular character David is in trouble again, and he has to learn how to follow the rules at school. Students can learn what not to do from David’s silly antics. Turn those “No, David!” choices into “Yes, David!” choices with these “David Goes to School” activities and craft!

David Goes to School
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03/08/2024 09:07 am GMT

Click, Clack, Quack to School by Doreen Cronin

Farmer Brown and his farm animals receive an invitation to attend Farm Day at an elementary school. They practice getting ready for school but quickly realize school in unlike the farm. They have to be quiet and respectful of the rules. This funny book will leave your littles laughing and begging for more.

Click, Clack, Quack to School!
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03/08/2024 09:14 am GMT

Back-to-School Rules by Laurie Friedman

Percy is the head of his class and has created a list of ten simple rules. If you follow the list of rules, you will have a great school year. He also shares what not to do in this silly relatable book for kids all about classroom rules.

Back-to-School Rules
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03/08/2024 09:20 am GMT

I Promise by LeBron James

Inspired by LeBron James’ philanthropic work and the I PROMISE School he established in Akron, Ohio, the book follows a young boy named LeBron who learns valuable life lessons from his community and family. Rather than establishing classroom rules, use the story to help establish “classroom promises!”

I Promise
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03/08/2024 09:21 am GMT

The Bad Seed by Jory John

The Bad Seed is very bad! He has bad manners and a bad attitude along with a bad temper but that doesn’t have to last forever. The Bad Seed is willing to change.

The Bad Seed
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03/08/2024 09:21 am GMT

Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

This story highlights the importance of being a good neighbor and friend and helps students learn the power of the Golden Rule. Follow along as the Otters move in next door to Mr. Rabbit.

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

Stick rescues Stone and they quickly become best friends who continue to help each other out as they face different challenges. This book is great for teaching students about bullying and friendship.

Stick and Stone
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03/08/2024 09:27 am GMT

I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët

Vanessa becomes a victim of bullying in her new school. A compassionate classmate witnesses the bullying and decides to stand up for Vanessa, walking with her to and from school. Through beautiful illustrations, the book conveys the impact of kindness and solidarity in the face of adversity, highlighting the importance of empathy and support in creating a safe and inclusive environment. It offers a poignant and accessible exploration of bullying and the positive role bystanders can play in making a difference.

I Walk with Vanessa
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03/08/2024 09:39 am GMT

That Rule Doesn’t Apply to Me by Julia Cook

Noodle is sick of all the rules and decides he has no use for obeying the rules at school or at home. He even wants to have a rule-free day. That is until Noodle’s mom helps his realize the consequences of a no-rule day and what that would look like. He learns the importance of rules and how they help keep everyone safe.

What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick

What if everyone spoke during story time, didn’t take a shower, or splashed too much at the pool? The world would be unsafe and chaotic. But if everyone followed the rules, the world is calm and safe. Students will get a kick out of seeing the consequences of no rules in the illustrations by Collen Madden.

What If Everybody Did That?
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03/08/2024 09:46 am GMT

I Just Want to Do It My Way by Julia Cook

Asking for help can be hard at any age but especially for kindergartners. Teach your students that it’s okay to ask for help and the benefits of staying on task with another sweet RJ story.

I Just Want to Do It My Way!
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03/08/2024 09:46 am GMT

I Just Don’t Like the Sound of No by Julia Cook

RJ’s least favorite word is “No!” RJ’s teacher suggests that he joins the Say YES to NO Club in the classroom and he reluctantly agrees. RJ learns how to disagree appropriately after realizing that arguing isn’t the best way to solve things.

You Get What You Get by Julie Gassman

Melvin always throws a fit when things don’t go his way. His teacher, Mrs. Dee, introduces the phrase “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit” to help him understand that he can’t always have exactly what he wants. Through various relatable situations, Melvin learns the importance of being content with what he receives and finding joy in the things that come his way.

You Get What You Get
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03/08/2024 10:01 am GMT

Know and Follow the Rules by Cheri J. Meiners

It’s not necessary to have a million rules. These four simple rules, and why we have them, are the focus on this book. Make it easy for your students to practice safe, respectful and responsible behavior in school.

Know and Follow Rules
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03/08/2024 10:07 am GMT

Mind Your Manners in School by Arianna Candell

Students learn the importance of sharing, being kind to others, picking up toys at school and more. The pictures and text help children understand the expectations and routines at school and why they exist in the first place.

Mind Your Manners: In School
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03/08/2024 10:17 am GMT

Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi 

Hands are meant for many things but hitting isn’t one of them. In this book, children learn that violence is never okay and feelings can be handled in other ways beyond hitting. Hands are meant to make music, count, help and more.

Decibella and Her Six Inch Voice by Julia Cook

Have you ever told your kids they must speak at a certain volume in certain situations? Decibella is LOUD and needs to learn the appropriate voice levels to use throughout her day at school.

Clark the Shark by Guy Francis

Clark the shark is enthusiastic about everything, but his exuberance often leads to trouble. At school, Clark’s enthusiasm becomes overwhelming, causing disruptions in the classroom and frustrating his classmates. With the help of his teacher, Mrs. Inkydink, Clark learns important lessons about self-control and appropriate behavior. As he practices slowing down and thinking before he acts, Clark becomes a more considerate friend and a better student.

Clark the Shark
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03/08/2024 10:23 am GMT

The Worst Day of My Life Ever by Julia Cook

There’s a difference between hearing what someone is saying and actually listening to someone. RJ realizes his horrible day happens when he doesn’t listen to or follow directions. Teach your students the power of listening, and how it can turn the worst day into the best day!

The Worst Day of My Life Ever!
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03/08/2024 10:28 am GMT

Lacey Walker Nonstop Talker by Christianne C. Jones

It takes Lacey losing her voice to realize how important it is to listen. Have your students learn from talkative Lacey’s fun story about the importance of listening.

Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker
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03/08/2024 10:28 am GMT

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow

Howard B. Wigglebottom is back on another school adventure. School is tough for Howard, because he doesn’t always listen. When he learns how to use his ears, things go a lot better!

Listen Buddy by Helen Lester

A rabbit named Buddy has a tendency to misinterpret what he hears and often gets into amusing and sometimes embarrassing situations. Despite his good intentions, Buddy’s miscommunications lead to misunderstandings with his friends and family. However, with the help of his wise friend, Earl the Parrot, Buddy learns the importance of active listening and clarifying information before jumping to conclusions.

Listen, Buddy
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03/08/2024 10:33 am GMT

Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer

Wordy Birdy loves to chat and can’t seem to stop talking, even when it gets her into trouble. While her friends try to enjoy outdoor activities and explore the world around them, Wordy Birdy’s constant chatter distracts and annoys them. However, when danger looms in the form of a hungry bear, Wordy Birdy’s excessive talking turns out to be an unexpected asset. In a surprising twist, Wordy Birdy uses her loquaciousness to save the day and protect her friends. The book playfully explores the balance between talking and listening, showcasing the importance of knowing when to speak up and when to be silent.

Wordy Birdy
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03/08/2024 10:33 am GMT

My Mouth Is a Volcano by Julia Cook

This vivid metaphor will help your students understand the destructive nature of interrupting and blurting. Once the protagonist Louis learns how frustrating it is when others interrupt, he’ll learn how to stop “erupting!”

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

How can the little red chicken get through her bedtime story without interrupting? Use this brilliantly illustrated book to share why interrupting can be so problematic, both, in and out of the classroom.

Books to Teach Expectations

A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook 

Josh has a habit of constantly tattling on his classmates for even the smallest infractions. As Josh’s tattling behavior disrupts the classroom and strains his relationships, his teacher introduces him to a character named “Tattle Snake” who helps him understand the consequences of his actions. With Tattle Snake’s guidance, Josh learns to differentiate between necessary reporting and unnecessary tattling.

A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue
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03/08/2024 10:36 am GMT

Don’t Squeal Unless It’s a Big Deal by Jeanie Franz Ransom

The 19 piglets in Mrs. McNeal’s class are tattletales. Instead of constantly dealing with the tattling, Mrs. McNeal teaches her students how to deal with their feelings a problem solve mutually.

Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

It can be a struggle to stay calm when faced with difficult situations. Share Lily’s story to teach your students how to apologize when they lose their cool, just like Lily does when her teacher takes her purse when she can’t wait her turn.

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
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03/08/2024 10:55 am GMT

Sorry, I Forgot to Ask by Julia Cook

RJ often forgets to ask for permission before doing things or using others’ belongings. As a result, RJ finds himself in various predicaments and conflicts with his friends and family. With the help of his teacher, RJ learns the value of communication and asking for consent.

Sorry, I Forgot to Ask!
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03/08/2024 11:00 am GMT

The Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson

Pete starts off as a bully, picking on his classmates and using his power to intimidate others. However, with the support of a courageous classmate named Sam, Pete learns the impact of his actions and begins to make positive changes. The book highlights the importance of standing up against bullying and creating a culture of kindness and empathy.

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev

A young boy and his pet elephant encounter a sign that forbids elephants from entering a local Pet Club. Undeterred, they find solace in a club where all kinds of unusual pets are welcomed. Together, they form a community of acceptance and understanding. This story encourages children to challenge exclusionary rules and celebrate diversity, promoting a message of kindness and belonging for all.

Strictly No Elephants
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03/08/2024 11:06 am GMT

The Recess Queen by Alexis O’neill

Mean Jean rules the playground with an iron fist, intimidating her classmates and monopolizing recess. However, when a new girl named Katie Sue arrives and fearlessly stands up to Mean Jean’s bullying, a transformation begins. Through unexpected acts of kindness and understanding, the two girls form a friendship, and the playground dynamics shift.

The Recess Queen
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03/08/2024 11:16 am GMT

The Buddy Bench by Patty Brozo

Miss Mellon’s class heads out for recess but some children on the playground are left out. After some kids observe their peers being left out, the students decide to make a buddy bench where they can sit to let others know they would like a friend to play with during recess.

The Buddy Bench
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03/08/2024 11:21 am GMT

Do Not Bring Your Dragon to Recess by Julie Gassman

A young girl brings her friend dragon to recess but the worry is whether or not she can follow the rules. With the help of her friend, the dragon is able to follow the playground rules.

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen

The story explores different scenarios of dinosaurs sitting down to eat, showcasing both good and bad eating habits. From making a mess to refusing to try new foods, the book presents various dinosaur behaviors and contrasts them with proper dining etiquette. Through vivid illustrations and clever rhymes, children are encouraged to identify the correct and polite ways of eating.

Manners at the Table by Carrie Lynn Finn

This book is perfect for reinforcing good manners at the table. A great book to read to your class before lunch and snack.

Manners at the Table
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03/08/2024 11:43 am GMT

Table Talk by Julia Cook

This book highlights bad table manners and what to do instead. Kids and adults are reminded to wash their germy hands, eat with their mouths closed, and to chew slowly.

Books to Teach How to Use School Supplies

Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre

Matty loves arts and crafts, especially working with glue. One day, he gets carried away and uses way too much glue in his projects, resulting in sticky and chaotic situations. As Matty’s excessive glue usage becomes increasingly problematic, he learns important lessons about moderation and following instructions.

Too Much Glue
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03/08/2024 12:14 pm GMT

Back to School Boot Camp Series by Megan Beard

Students learn all about taking care of classroom supplies with this fun Back to School Camp series. Students learn the skills needed to take care of glue in The Glue General and how to care for their crayons in The Crayon Cadet. Next, they learn the importance of taking care of their pencils in The Pencil private followed by safety rules of scissors in The Scissor Sergeant. Once students make it through the series, you can have your students complete this cute Stick to the Rules Glue Bottle to help make rules “stick.”

Classroom Supplies on Strike Series by Jennifer Jones

I also love to read the book series written by Jennifer Jones to teach students all about taking care of classroom supplies. In each book, the classroom supplies come to life as they demand to be respected and well taken care of. Pick from Pencils on Strike, Crayons on Strike, Erasers on Strike, Glues on Strike, Scissors on Strike, or Chair on Strike to help students learn all about having kindness for their classroom supplies.

On Strike Box Set, Books 1-8
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03/08/2024 12:37 pm GMT

Clean Up Time Elizabeth Verdick

This book introduces young readers to the concept of tidying up and taking responsibility for their belongings. The story follows a group of diverse children as they engage in different activities and play with toys, creating a mess in the process. With the gentle guidance of a caregiver or teacher, the children learn the importance of cleaning up after themselves and working together as a team.

Activities for Books to Teach Rules, Routines and Procedures

Establish classroom rules and expectations with this interactive glue bottle craft and these digital slides!

Includes 20 developmentally appropriate classroom rules posters, with 26 digital slides and matching student pages.

Teaching students about classroom rules & classroom routines and procedures just got a whole lot easier with this ultimate list of back to school books about rules! These read alouds will help with classroom management as you review classroom procedures with your elementary students. You can pair these back to school books for kids with your favorite back to school activities. Students learn how to take care of classroom supplies, kindness, and all about following directions and listening.

Turn those “No, David!” choices into “Yes, David!” choices, as you establish your classroom rules, with these David Goes to School craft and activities!

Review classroom rules and encourage positive behavior during the first week of back to school with these David Goes to School activities and craft for preschool, kindergarten and first grade! Perfect for a back to school bulletin board display! Plus, practice the alphabet, rhyming, counting, numbers, 2D shapes and more with the eight math and literacy activities and centers! Tackle classroom management, routines and procedures, as you turn those "No, David!" choices into "Yes, David!" choices!

Do you refer to your classroom supplies as learning tools or school tools too?!

Set clear expectations for how to use school supplies during the first week of back to school with these toolbox crafts and school supply activities!

More Back to School Books

Looking for additional beginning of the year read alouds? Be sure to check out our Back to School Books to Calm First Day Fears!

Back to school books are a great way to calm your students first day jitters. Today, I am sharing over 40 back to school read alouds for kids that will help them adjust to their new classroom and get excited about the school year. These back to school books for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade pair great with first week lesson plans, back to school crafts, and more. Find back to school activities and more in this list of back to school read alouds.

Celebrate your students and their names with these 25 Name Books for Back to School.

Looking for name books for back to school that you can incorporate into your first week lesson plans? To celebrate our uniqueness, I am sharing 25 name books for kids that are great for getting to know you activities and building classroom community in your early elementary classroom. Use these name books, including Chrysanthemum and The Name Jar, with a variety of name activities for preschool and kindergarten. Add these kids books to your beginning of the year lesson plans!


Teaching students about classroom rules & classroom routines and procedures just got a whole lot easier with this ultimate list of back to school books about rules! These read alouds will help with classroom management as you review classroom procedures with your elementary students. You can pair these back to school books for kids with your favorite back to school activities. Students learn how to take care of classroom supplies, kindness, and all about following directions and listening.
Teaching students about classroom rules & classroom routines and procedures just got a whole lot easier with this ultimate list of back to school books about rules! These read alouds will help with classroom management as you review classroom procedures with your elementary students. You can pair these back to school books for kids with your favorite back to school activities. Students learn how to take care of classroom supplies, kindness, and all about following directions and listening.
Ashley Sharp Pos Bio Image

Ashley Sharp

As a dedicated Kindergarten teacher for nearly 20 years, I believe the words “fun, play, and creativity” can sit right alongside the words “developmentally appropriate, engaging, and rigorous.” Learning is meant to be fun and messy!

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