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Summer Reading List: Top 5 Books to Read by Grade Level

June 5th, 2016

5-Step Summer Reading Plan

Summer reading during those lazy, hazy days can be filled with reading comic books and novels. Those are some of my favorite reading memories. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my mom had a summer reading plan for us. She realized that summer is the perfect time to boost reading skills in a non-stressful way.

Before giving you the list… let’s come up with an actionable plan to read during summer break.

Summer Reading Plan

  1. Kids should be reading on a daily basis. This can happen for 15 to 30 minutes after lunch, before swimming, or before bed.
  2. Kids should be reading pleasure books at one to two levels below their grade level so they are easy to read. This is what we call an independent reading level.
  3. Books you read together can be at their reading level. You can take turns reading pages of the book.
  4. Books you read to your kids can be above their reading level.
  5. Choose books that have been proven to be fun, interesting, and engaging.

Choosing great reads for your children can be daunting if you don’t know where to look. So, I’ve compiled a list according to grade level to make it easy for you.

Here are 5 great books per level according to primary grades, middle school, and high school.

Top 5 Primary Grade Books (K – 3rd)

  1. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. A Caldecott Medal winner that is a great book for preschoolers, kindergarteners and beginning readers.
  2. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel. A Caldecott Award winner that is one of the best classic picture story books.
  3. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. A Caldecott Medal, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Illustration and ALA Notable Children’s Books award for preschoolers, kindergarteners and beginning readers.
  4. Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick.
  5. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. A Caldecott Honor book that is a great story to read aloud.

Top 5 Elementary Grade Books (3rd – 5th)

  1. Half Magic by Edgar Eager
  2. Don’t Call Me Pig! A Javelina Story by Conrad Storad
  3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  4. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  5. Honeybees by Deborah Heiligman

Top 5 Middle School Books (4th – 6th)

  1. The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
  2. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume
  3. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  4. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

Top 5 Junior High and High School Books (7th – 12th)

  1. Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
  2. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  3. Shoeless Joe and Me by Dan Gutman
  4. The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
  5. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

For more reading help, view our Awaken the Scholar Within Programs.

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Summer Reading: Top 5 Books to Read by Grade Level