7 Engaging and Fun St. Patrick’s Day Books For The Elementary Classroom

If you love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in your classroom, then this is your lucky today – pun intended! While I love incorporating shamrocks and little green leprechauns into my school day, the thing I love most is reading St. Patrick’s Day books to my students!  With a few pages of fantasy, my students easily get their imaginations going and excitedly jump into the creative activities I have planned to go along with each book!  Here are my (lucky number) 7 favorite St. Patrick’s Day books to read in the classroom!

Whether you are using these books for read alouds, centers, or independent reading, your kiddos will stay engaged and even learn a little something about St. Patrick's Day in the process.

1. The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day

The first book I have for you today can actually be read a day or so before St. Patrick’s Day to set up the accompanying activity to complete after reading.  The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing is an adorable rhyming story about a brother and sister who set up a variety of leprechaun traps around their house in order to catch a “wee Irishman”!  The children do in fact catch a leprechaun, and your students will love seeing what happens when they do!
The Night Before St. Patrick's Day is the perfect book for kicking off your classroom St. Patrick's Day celebrations this year.
The illustrations of the children’s traps are a perfect springboard for your students to envision their own leprechaun trap!   Gather old cereal boxes, oatmeal containers, construction paper, scissors, and glue, then let those kids build the trap of their dreams!  When they are finished, allow students to present their traps to the class and then display them around the room (to see if they catch anything…).
Whether you choose to complete this project in your classroom or send it home as a parent project, your students will love constructing their own leprechaun traps!  And if you aren’t able to create an actual trap, students can design/draw a trap, color it, and label the important pieces.  Mess-free!

2. Lucky Tucker

In the book Lucky Tucker by Leslie McGuirk, Lucky Tucker is a funny little dog who runs away from the unlucky things in his life. When a leprechaun suggests he roll around in a patch of four-leaf clovers, Tucker’s day changes, and everything good (and super lucky!) begins to happen to him!
Lucky Tucker is a great book for your classroom library because it encourages students to persevere even when things seem to be at their worst.
For a quick and simple after-reading activity, give each student a large four-leaf clover.  On each leaf of the clover, students must write one thing that would make their day the luckiest day ever!  Hang these cute clovers in the hallway or (if you want to extend the activity further) use it as a brainstorming sheet for a writing activity with the prompt “My Luckiest Day!”

3. Ten Lucky Leprechauns

If you want to add a bit of counting to your story time, try the book 10 Lucky Leprechauns by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook. The book is similar in style to songs such as “The Ants Go Marching” where the story starts out with one character and (through rhyming patterns) picks up another character on each page until they get to 10.  Your students will enjoy the cute illustrations and catching the rhyming words on each page! 
This 10 Lucky Leprechauns book is perfect for math as well as reading because your kiddos will get in some fun counting practice while reading.
And speaking of rhyming words, this book is the perfect partner for a Rhyming Rainbow activity! Give students a black-and-white rainbow template.  On each of the colors of the rainbow, students will write two words that rhyme.  Once the rainbow has two rhyming words in each space, color the rainbow!

4. How To Catch A Leprechaun

If your students love a good, silly trick, then you have to read  How To Catch A Leprechaun by Adam Wallace!  Students are treated to a story about a very sneaky leprechaun who brags about not being caught by a variety of traps that have been laid out for him!  He boasts that each trap is not enough to catch him because he is too smart to be ensnared by such contraptions.  
How to Catch a Leprechaun is another engaging "How to Catch..." story your students will love reading before creating their very own leprechaun traps.
This book is not only very clever with the way it uses words, but the illustrations play a very important role in the story as well!  While you are reading to your students, be sure to ask questions like: 
  • What is wrong with the bathroom?  Do you want your bathroom to look like that? Why not?
  • Why did the leprechaun say the first trap was “a snap”?
  • What did the leprechaun mean when he said he “fixed their shoes”?  
  • Why was the man so dizzy?  What could have happened to him?
  • Do you think the leprechaun will ever be caught?  Why or Why not?
Students should use their prior knowledge and the pictures as clues to better understand the text and make inferences about what is happening. 
A fun post-story activity would be to write a class letter to the leprechaun in the book either inviting him to visit your room or asking him not to visit (depending on the consensus of your students).  Allow students to give you the words to say while you write them down on a large poster or chart paper.  Hang the letter in the hallway or on the outside of your classroom door.  Students could even draw mini-posters that echo the sentiments in the class letter!

5. St. Patrick’s Day

There are so many silly and funny leprechaun books, but there are also excellent books that teach true facts about the history of St. Patrick’s Day.  In the book St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons, students learn about the real Saint Patrick, his life, how the holiday came to be, and how the holiday is celebrated.  This book is so jam-packed with interesting, new information that it may be difficult for students to remember it all!
Teaching the history of St. Patrick's Day is fun and engaging with this beautifully illustrated St. Patrick's Day book.
Create a “clover patch” of St. Patrick facts by giving students 3 paper clovers.  Ask them to write one fact in a complete sentence on each clover.  After they are finished, students should choose their favorite fact and teach it to at least three other students in the class. When everyone has finished “teaching”, allow students to add their clovers to the patch (on a bulletin board or taped to an area on the wall) where everyone can be reminded of the cool facts they learned about St. Patrick!

6. The Leprechaun’s Gold 

A less-silly, but very engaging St. Patrick’s Day book is The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards.  In this Irish legend, two men, Pat and Tom, are heading to compete against each other in a contest to be named the best harpist in the land.  The two men show their true selves to the reader as Tom purposely ruins Pat’s harp and Pat helps a leprechaun when he’s in trouble.  Pat’s good deed does not go unrewarded, and students will love that Tom gets his comeuppance at the end of the story!
The Leprechaun's Gold is great for teaching students about legends and how stories are passed down through generations.
This book is perfect for reviewing character traits!  Simply take a blank piece of white paper and fold it in half (like a greeting card).  Open the “card” and have students draw a picture of Old Pat on the left-hand side of the paper.  Students will write one adjective that describes his character (helpful, kind, caring, etc…)  and an example of something he did or said in the book that proves this is true about him.  On the right side of the paper, follow the same directions for Young Tom.  
Once finished, have your students fold their paper closed and use the “front” to recreate a brand new book cover complete with a new title as well! 

7. The Luckiest Leprechaun

This sweet story shares the tale of a grumpy leprechaun finding a friend!  In The Luckiest Leprechaun by Justine Korman, MacKenzie O’Shamrock doesn’t believe he needs friends and spends his days living a quiet life in the park.  One day, a digging dog accidentally destroys his home and she promises to fix her mistake by taking care of MacKenzie.  Throughout the story, you see the two slowly become friends as Lucky the dog refuses to give up on grumpy MacKenzie.
Not surprisingly this The Luckiest Leprechaun book is one of my favorite St. Patrick's Day books because it teaches the value of friendship in a way all students can relate to
The happy ending will warm your students’ hearts, but the whole story just might inspire them to imagine themselves as a leprechaun! As a class, brainstorm ideas of what leprechauns do all day!  Where do they sleep?  What do they eat?  What do they do for fun?
When students have really given leprechauns a lot of thought, tell them that they will become a leprechaun!  Allow students to draw themselves as a leprechaun and write a story about a day in their leprechaun life!  The book you read and the class brainstorming session will help even the most reluctant writers come up with a fun story!  Once everyone is finished with drawing and writing, allow them to read their stories to the class. Leprechaun accents can be optional!

So Many Fun St. Patrick’s Day Books!

I just knew that 7 was your lucky number!  I hope you found a few new favorites to share in your classroom this year!  With a little luck, these books and activities will keep your students engaged and learning through all of the excitement of St. Patrick’s Day! 

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