Life as a substitute teacher has its perks. You don’t bring work home at the end of the day, you don’t have to spend countless hours planning lessons, and assessment (besides the occasional marking of worksheets) is something over which you don’t need to loose sleep.

However, being a supply teacher, also has its drawbacks… difficult classes being the number one in my list. You know which ones I am referring to, don’t you? Those classes that go against all odds and never respond to all of those neat tricks you have learned in teacher’s college or from more experienced colleagues. Yes, those classes that make you wonder why you ever decided to become a teacher in the first place…

We have all encountered them before. Personally, this is only my second year doing supply work (in Portugal I was a classroom teacher for 5 years, though), and I already have a few classes (and schools), that I know are very a little more challenging, lol.

However, there is one thing that always saves the day for me, and that is READ ALOUDS!! Yes, read alouds! But not just any read aloud. I find that students love a good giggle. Sometimes their challenging behaviour is mainly due to having a bad day themselves, so a good giggle here and there always helps. So, humorous books seem to do the trick for me.


I pride myself in being as silly as I can during each read aloud. I change my voice for each character, and I modulate it so that there is a noticeable difference in emotions throughout the story. Students LOVE it! I can’t tell you how exciting it is to come back to those classes and have students ask me to read aloud to them. As you probably guessed by now, I use this as my bargaining chip: “do all of your work, and I’ll reward you with a story”.

It hasn’t failed me so far and I hope will keep working for many years to come, lol!

There are many books out there that you could use. The following is my list of favourite humorous picture books for elementary grades:


If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator To School, DON’T!

Written and Illustrated by: Elise Parsley

This was the first humorous book I ever purchased to include in my substitute teacher’s “Bag of Tricks”. It explains all the reasons why you shouldn’t bring an alligator to school, and of course, the illustrations are key to the giggles that ensue 🙂 Brilliantly written, it also allows for students interaction with the story as they help you read crucial lines. Definitely one of my favourites!


Hmm, Cookies!

Written by: Robert Munsch
Illustrated by: Michael Martchenko

This book is particularly liked by younger students, maybe because they play with play dough a lot… Giggles galore as students try to infer who the main character is going to trick next. The story has a lot of “sound effects”, so students truly love it 🙂



Dr. Potts, My Pets Have Spots!

Written by: Rod Hull
Illustrated by: Miriam Latimer

This is one of the most recent books I purchased, and it is quite funny. Once the students catch on to the fact that the pets will have different things happening to them, they have quite a bit of fun trying to guess what will happen next! I also like the fact that each sentence rhymes with the next, which aids me in reading the story in a more singsong style 🙂



Written by: Robert Munsch
Illustrated by: Michael Martchenko

When Luke wakes up one morning, he finds a moose in his backyard. Dad, mom and sisters come up with ideas on how to get the moose out of there. An hilarious read aloud that kids simply adore!



Something Good

Written by: Robert Munsch
Illustrated by: Michael Martchenko

Another great book by Robert Munsch. This book relates what happened to Tyya, a little girl that goes shopping with her father and siblings. Despite all the funny twists, the story has a very endearing end. Students always giggle at the silliness of what happens 🙂


The Book With No Pictures

Written by: B. J. Novak

As the title suggests, this book as absolutely NO pictures. However, the text lends itself to lots of silliness and students absolutely love it. It provides opportunities for interaction with the students as they respond to the author’s questions. Oh, and it seems that the sillier you are as you read it, the funnier it gets for the kids…



The Day the Crayons Quit

Written by: Drew Daywalt
Illustrated by:  Oliver Jeffers

The crayons are tired of the way Duncan uses them, so they go on strike. Each crayon writes him a short letter identifying the reasons why they quit. It provides lots of opportunities for engagement as students discuss (and ponder about) their own use of crayons.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please feel free to comment and let me know your favourite humorous read alouds. I would love to add to my collection 😉

Take care,