6th Grade Reading Books: List of Books to Use in Reading Lessons

Your 6th grade students can discuss complicated texts and analyze story elements. If you're looking for books to include in reading lessons or in the classroom library, read on for some suggestions.

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Reading Standards for 6th Grade

Students in 6th grade typically read novels with more complex themes than those in elementary school, in addition to works from a variety of genres. They can explain plot and character development, themes, setting and point of view. Your students may also recognize the differences between literal and figurative language. You can help them build on these skills by discussing the following books in your reading lessons.

What Books Are Appropriate for 6th Grade Readers?

1. I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson

Twelve-year-old Emma Freke feels aptly named because of her nearly 6-foot-tall and skinny frame, flaming-red hair and massive intellect that sets her apart from her peers. Ignored by her classmates and her family, Emma somehow manages to find self-acceptance. This book provides opportunities to discuss such issues as conformity, self-consciousness and family relationships.

2. Whittington by Alan Armstrong

In this fantasy tale, a cat named Whittington comes to live in a barn of misfit animals. Every day, human siblings Ben and Abby feed them. When the animals learn that Ben can't read, they convince Abby to teach him how. Every day after his reading lesson, Ben delights in Whittington's retelling of an old, English folktale called 'Dick Whittington and His Cat.' The theme in this novel centers on the importance of storytelling and family.

3. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

This classic novel tells the story of Jesse Aarons, a lonely 5th grader who befriends tomboy Leslie Burke after she bests him in a footrace. They spend their free time together at their hiding place called Terabithia, which can only be accessed by swinging on a rope over a creek. When the rope swing breaks and Leslie drowns, Jesse begins building a bridge to Terabithia as way of dealing with his grief. Use this novel to discuss friendship and loss with your students.

4. Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

Sumiko is used to being taunted at school because of her Japanese heritage. After Pearl Harbor is attacked, taunting turns into suspicion, and Sumiko's family is forced to leave their California flower farm. They settle into a hot and dusty desert internment camp on a Mohave Indian reservation, where Sumiko finds an unlikely friendship with a Mohave boy. This novel can be used in history lessons about the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II.

5. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

This survival story is about 13-year-old Brian Robeson, who is stranded after a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness. He learns how to survive on his own despite such dangers as a bear encounter and a tornado. Brian is finally rescued, but he returns home a changed person. As Brian reintegrates into society, he must also come to terms with a devastating secret he uncovers about his mother. You can use this novel to discuss the sequence of events in the plot, in addition to character development.

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