5th Grade Reading Material: Short Story and Book List

Frequent reading is beneficial to students of all ages and can help them improve fluency and comprehension. In order to encourage your child's growth and development as a reader, you can select appealing short stories and books for him or her to read at home.

Find available tutors

How to Select Texts for 5th Grade Students

As a student, your son or daughter has probably read a significant amount of text in the classroom. However, these pieces may not always be the most exciting to him or her. If you'd like your child to get more reading practice at home, it's best to select stories and books that he or she will find interesting.

To get started, find out what texts have already been covered at school so there's no overlap. Then, find out what your child would like to read or learn more about. For example, if your son is interested in U.S. history, find a non-fiction book about the American Revolution for him to read. If your daughter enjoys dancing, choose a fictional story about girls in a ballet class. If you're struggling to find stories or aren't sure if they are grade-appropriate, ask the local librarian or a bookstore employee for assistance.

Short Stories and Books for 5th Graders

1. 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

Most kids would love having a birthday every day, but when Amanda's 11th birthday - the first one celebrated without her former best friend Leo - continues to repeat over and over, things begin to go downhill. In order to try and break the spell, Amanda and Leo come together in this story of renewed friendship and teamwork. This book is likely to appeal to both boys and girls.

2. Classic Animal Stories compiled by Sally Grindley

If your son or daughter struggles to find a novel he or she is interested in, short stories can help spark an interest in reading. This compilation includes excerpts from Aesop's Fables, The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden and several other classics that you can enjoy reading along with your child. Additionally, the short passages may be inspiration for your child to read the full texts down the road.

3. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

In this tale of survival, 12-year-old Karana lives alone on the Island of the Blue Dolphins after her tribe has moved on. During her 18 years there, she learns how to fish for food, defend herself from enemies, build shelter and more. Descriptions of Karana's daily adventures are intriguing and exciting for readers at the 5th grade level and beyond.

4. Mouth Moths: More Classroom Tales by Douglas Evans

As the third installment in the series of classroom tales, this collection of short stories is relevant and fun for 5th graders. Each chapter focuses on a different mysterious circumstance affecting the 3rd grade classroom at the end of the hall and the silly situations they encounter as they try to solve them.

5. The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of 5th Grade by Kenneth Derby

For a humorous read about chasing one's dreams, this book is a success. Anthony Madison, a.k.a. Tony Baloney, loves jokes, entertainment and specifically the Late Show with David Letterman. As an attempt to get on the show himself, Tony creates his own top ten lists and stunts as he ventures across the country with his friends and teacher to New York City. With the silly humor and adventure, your son or daughter is bound to enjoy this book.

6. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

If your child is in the mood for a mystery, this book is about 16 individuals drawn together to follow clues and possibly inherit a fortune. With greed and the opportunity to win $200 million driving each character, the excitement doesn't stop. The character development, intriguing plot and problem solving make this book accessible to both 5th graders and adults.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Can Reading Bridge Racial, Socioeconomic Gaps?

    Study after study shows the achievement gap in education between students of different cultures and economic backgrounds. Recently, two New Jersey schools successfully used literature to show students how 'the other half lives'. Can this experiment be a model for other schools to use books to bridge racial and socioeconomic...

  • More Blog Articles
    Too Much Emphasis on Reading and Math?

    According to a large number of surveyed educators who teach grades 3-12, U.S. public schools are spending too much time on reading and math and not enough on other subjects. Yes, math and reading are important. But what about science, foreign languages and social studies?

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth