I'm not sure what goal you are looking for with the read-alouds... but even though it seems childish, children's picture books are a great way to teach students the craft of writing. There are so many examples of figurative language and outstanding creativity. They are quick and easy to read... then have students free write to music.
I also recommend to read below the student's grade level when reading aloud, this way it isn't difficult for the students to understand, and they learn to enjoy reading. Historical fiction books can also introduce them to another era.
A Family Apart (The Orphan Train Series) by Joan Lowry Nixon is a great read.
Blood on the River by Elisa Lynn Carbone is good, but really long.