The Pigeon Has to Go to School uses humor to ease the first day of school jitters. It is a good story to address fears. Some of the things Pigeon worries about could never happen. Some of his concerns could happen, and students may share those things; the story is an easy segue into “what if scenarios” at school and sharing possible solutions.

The Pigeon Has to Go to School Summary

Pigeon doesn’t want to go to school. He has lots of questions and worries about what will happen if he goes. Some are things children might worry about, and some are things that could never happen. In the end, he changes his mind. Written in a comical style speaking to the reader.

Read Aloud Questions for The Pigeon Has to Go to School

Before Reading

  • Who knows what this is? (pointing out to the speech bubble on the cover) What is it for?
  • What does the author tell you by using exclamation points?
  • Do you think Pigeon is looking forward to going to school? Why?

During Reading

  • When Pigeon says “rats,” is he talking about furry little animals with long tails?
  • Do you think someone could ever learn too much?
  • Could Pigeon’s head “pop off”? What do we call it when people say something like this?

After Reading

  • What were some of the things that made Pigeon scared?
  • How do Pigeon’s feelings change about school?
  • Have you ever worried about any of the things Pigeon worried about?

Connecting Standards to The Pigeon Has to Go to School


This story uses periods, question marks, and exclamation points multiple times. Teach a mini-lesson about how you know which punctuation to use. Have students write different types of sentences to demonstrate their understanding.

Opinion or Persuasive Writing

Pigeon says he already knows everything. Do you think he should still have to go to school? Give two reasons why or why not.

Multiple Meaning Words and Dictionary Skills

When Pigeon says “rats!” he expresses a feeling of annoyance, not talking about a rodent. Choose some other multiple meaning words and have students consult the dictionary and find at least two meanings.

Pigeon Goes to School personal connections
Pigeon Has to Go to School personal connections
Pigeon Has to Go to School plurals

More Fun Things to Do with Pigeon

Visit Mo Willems website to learn more about him and his books. You can also download a free page that will show you how to draw Pigeon step by step.

If you’re looking for more activities for this book, check out the Learning Through Literature book companion in the Resource Ranch store.

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Rhonda is the author of Resource Ranch. Most of her classroom experience has been in early elementary. She has also taught Title I Reading, ESL, and gifted students. She is certified as a Texas teacher in grades 1-8 and as a K-12 librarian.