5th Grade Reading: List of Books at the Fifth-Grade Level

By 5th grade, many children are independent readers and critical thinkers. Your child may understand more complex themes and story elements, as well as reading from a wider variety of texts. Read on for a list of books that may help boost reading comprehension.

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Reading Standards in 5th Grade

When your child is in 5th grade, he or she can use details from a text to determine its theme. Other skills include comparing and contrasting elements of a story, understanding figurative language and explaining narrator bias. Your 5th grader may also describe the author's purpose for writing the text, as well as finding similarities between works in the same genre. Encourage your child to indulge in supplemental reading in order to build on these skills. The following books cover a range of genres and interests.

5th Grade Reading List

1. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

This Holocaust story is about a girl named Annemarie Johansen and her family - members of the Danish Resistance - who take in Annemarie's Jewish friend, Ellen Rosen. Hidden in plain sight, Ellen is disguised as the eldest Johansen daughter who recently died. The Johansens make a daring attempt to smuggle Ellen's family out of Denmark. This book provides discussion opportunities about the Holocaust and the Resistance movements throughout Europe during World War II.

2. Ida B…and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan

Ida B. Applewood is an only child who is educated at home and likes to talk to her parents' apple trees. When her mother is diagnosed with cancer, Ida is enrolled in a public school and her parents sell part of their orchard. Things at school get off to a shaky start, but Ida soon learns important lessons about life and about herself.

3. The Ink World Trilogy by Cornelia Funke

You and your child may enjoy this fantasy trilogy, which includes the titles Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath. The story centers on Meggie and her father Mo, a bookbinder, who can transport book characters into the real world when he reads aloud. He can also transport himself and his family members into books. In Inkheart, Meggie's mother is trapped in a book filled with evil characters. The other two novels focus on Meggie and Mo's attempts to rescue her by transporting themselves into the fictional land of Ombra.

4. The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood

Set in Elizabethan England, this novel is about a teenage boy named Widge who knows a form of shorthand called charactery. His master sends him to London to audition for the Lord Chamberlain's Men, in hopes that Widge will be accepted and use this shorthand to steal Shakespeare's 'Hamlet.' Widge makes it into the company, and he soon finds that the men treat him like family. He must decide whether to show loyalty to his master by stealing Shakespeare's play or stay with the Lord Chamberlain's Men.

5. Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle

This novel tackles difficult topics like the environment and mob mentality. Toby's entire world exists in the Tree, which is an oak that houses a civilization of tiny people. One day, his scientist father makes a discovery that the Tree is alive and their society is destroying it. This discovery is unpopular with the rest of the society, and Toby and his family become outcasts, exiled to the lower branches. Toby escapes and hopes to free his family, but he encounters many dangers along the way.

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