Elementary Reading Materials: Book Lists for Elementary Grades

It's crucial that your child reads books appropriate for his or her level of reading comprehension and fluency, whether it's at the beginning or advanced stages. The following book list suggests reading materials for both beginning and independent readers that cover a variety of genres.

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How to Find Books for Elementary Students

In elementary school, it's important that kids read widely and practice their fluency and comprehension skills. If your child is not yet an independent reader and selects books that are too advanced, he or she may give up in frustration. Independent readers who choose books below their fluency and comprehension level may give up because of boredom. You can use the following leveled lists of elementary reading materials to help your child select appropriate books.

Book List for Elementary School by Grade Level

Grades K-2

1. Read It, Don't Eat It by Ian Schoenherr

This picture book uses rhyming verse to teach children the dos and don'ts of handling library books. Each page contains a sentence accompanied by illustrations of animals exhibiting good and bad library behaviors.

2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Read this classic story to your child about all the minor annoyances that happen to Alexander from morning to night, such as waking up with gum in his hair and going to bed with a burned out nightlight. Use this book to discuss how everyone has bad days.

3. The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Vashti is frustrated by her artistic inability, until her art teacher encourages her to start with a simple mark on her sheet of paper. She starts her creative journey once she makes a dot on the page. Your child may relate to Vashti's struggle with self-confidence.

4. I Wish I Were a Butterfly by James Howe

This picture book addresses self-esteem and the importance of friendship. A cricket wishes to be a butterfly after he's told by a frog that he's ugly, but a spider is able to convince him that he's beautiful.

Grades 3-5

1. The Magic Half by Annie Barrows

This time travel book follows the adventures of Miri Gill, who feels left out as the child between two sets of twins. One day, Miri discovers a portal - a piece of glass taped to her bedroom wall - that sends her to 1935 and into the life of Molly, who once occupied the room. Miri tries to help Molly, who is caught in an abusive situation.

2. George Washington's Socks by Elvira Woodruff

This story combines fantasy with historical fiction as five children board a rowboat that takes them to 1776. The children meet George Washington and become eyewitnesses to the Battle of Trenton. This book can be used to discuss the events of the Revolutionary War.

3. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

This chapter book is about a poor Polish-American girl, Wanda Petronski, who is teased by classmates when she tells them that she has 100 dresses at home, even though she wears the same dress to school every day. When Wanda stops attending school, two classmates feel guilty and want to make things right.

4. Extra Credit by Andrew Clements

In order to pass 6th grade, Abby Carson takes on an extra-credit project to write to a young girl in Afghanistan. The girl's brother, Sadeed, responds to Abby's letters because of his fluency in English, even though the people of his village consider correspondence between girls and boys immoral. Through their letters, Abby and Sadeed learn about their cultural differences.

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