If your students are crazy about penguins as mine have always been, it’s the right time of year to take out those penguin books and activities to keep them engaged and learning! It’s amazing the things you can teach through a theme, like penguins! From narrative, to informational books, these penguin stories are my favorites!

I like to use these books to do some fun penguin activities in my classroom! Here is where you can read more about the penguin activities I do with my students and I’ve posted them all in my TPT shop here!

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1.National Geographic Readers: Penguins!

This is one of my favorite series of books because it offers tons of photographs and facts with kid friendly language. My first graders have loved collecting facts and writing “All About Penguin” booklets with this one! I also love the text features including a table of contents.

This book is great to use with life cycle activities and a research companion!

Penguin life cycle companion activities offer differentiated options for discussing and writing all about the life cycle of a penguin.

2.Tacky the Penguin

This is one of my favorite read aloud stories! I love that it teaches a lesson and is a great narrative tie in to our penguin theme!

Since this is definitely a student favorite, writing about student’s favorite part, or including it as a part of a penguin reading center where students write about their favorite story are both great options for this one!

3. If You Were a Penguin

Are you looking for an engaging and playful way for your students to learn about penguins? This rhyming book is full of facts but helps students relate to penguins! The vocabulary is great for young readers with words like “duet” and “toboggan”. Compare and contrast penguins to humans or use as a jumping off point for a narrative writing task!

Here’s the venn diagram I like to use for students to compare themselves to a penguin, but you could definitely do this on a chart paper!

After reading penguin stories and learning all about penguins, students can use the vocabulary and information they've learned to compare themselves to a penguin!

4.Penguins: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature (Our Amazing World Series)

This is another wonderful informational book with amazing photographs. The text is too difficult for my first graders but my third graders could read the text in this. It would be great to read parts of or to use for the photographs for younger kids, or even use during book buddy time!

A penguin KWL is a great one as you read to share information with your students!

Engage students in learning all about penguins as you activate prior knowledge and then draw and write to show what they are wondering and what they have learned!

5. The Penguin Who Wanted to Fly

This is another wonderful fiction story about a little penguin who learns that he is perfect just the way he is! This is a great story about friendship and to teach theme through for young learners.

This story is great for discussing theme, but it’s also a great one for practicing retelling and summarizing since it follows a great problem/solution plot.

Use sticky notes with this reusable story mat to guide students to identify story parts of favorite penguin stories!

6.Penguin and Pinecone

This is another super story about friendship! Students love the silliness of the story as well as being another basic story to identify theme!

7. Mr. Popper’s Penguins

This is a wonderful chapter book that my first grade students love listening to year after year! I like to read it during snack time when we are studying penguins and they are always begging for more! We talk a lot about visualizing during these read alouds and the facts and vocabulary that they have learned from all of our penguin research really shines through!

Here’s a sample of the writing pages included in my penguin story activities resource that can support story writing!

After reading lots of penguin stories, your students can write their own stories inspired by all the adventures the penguin characters they've read about have been on!

8.Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Looking for another super cute story about friendship and solving problems together? This cute and silly story is a great one!

This is a wonderful story for teaching theme as well since the friends work so well together! Students could also complete one of these little retelling or summary booklets!

A retelling and summary booklet is just one of many activities offered as a story response in this penguin story activity resource!


We are always excited when there is a Gail Gibbons book to match our theme! The information and beautiful illustrations are engaging and fun for students!

I love using these books for students to  research and complete their own web organizer and then write all about penguins!

This penguin research companion is included with life cycle resources so your students can learn and then write all about penguins!

10.Lost and Found

This is another sweet story about a boy who finds a lost penguin! Students love to identify the story parts and learn about characters with this one!


Here is a link to my supplemental story activities and research companion activities!

This first grade story activity bundle is great for studying penguins in a thematic unit using fictional and informational texts! Read your favorite penguin stories and then use these generic response activities to build comprehension with your first graders! Learn all about penguins with these supporting penguin research companion and life cycle activities!