Encouraging your kids to read during the summer months is a great way to keep their minds active and engaged. Simply by reading throughout the summer they can learn new things, reinforce old material, and engage in journeys without ever having to leave home!
Sometimes it can be difficult to choose books to spark your child’s interest, so here are twenty suggestions for grades 3 through 5 that would supplement our regular curriculum. Please note that every child’s reading level varies, so some selections will be harder or easier. (And of course, all books should be screened by a parent.)
Grades 3-5 Summer Reading List
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo is about 10 year old India Opal Buloni. He mother walked out on her, and she just can’t forget about her. But when she moves to Naomi, Florida, and befriends a lively stray dog, the canine helps her meet some unusual character who teach her about love, life, and forgiveness.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson is a 1978 Newbery Medal winner. Jessa Aaron and Leslie Burke begin a friendship and discover a magical kingdom in the forest where they reign as king and queen. Their friendship grows as they meet in this magical world called Terabithia. The story ends with the tragic death of one of them.
[This is a title from our 3rd grade readers.] Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan is a 1986 Newbery Medal Winner. Caleb and Anna have been living without a mother. Their Papa places an ad for a mail-order bride, and all the way from Maine, Sarah comes with her cat Seal. Will Sarah be everything they hoped for? Will she stay with them forever?
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White A pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte who lives above his pen. Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save him, Charlotte spins a web that reads "Some Pig," convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved. In this story of friendship, hardship, and loss, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things.
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary Eight-year-old Ramona Quimby's zest for life is infectious as ever. Whether speaking her mind to her third-grade teacher, or befriending her schoolyard bully, Ramona can't be kept down! (Look for more Ramona books in the series.)
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond In this first Paddington novel, Paddington Bear has traveled all the way from Peru when the Browns meet him in Paddington Station. Since then, their lives have never been quite the same . . . for ordinary things become extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved. (Look for more Paddington books in the series.)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick The illustrations in Brian’s books are a sight to be seen and enjoyed! In this book, orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, droves of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, the reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end, just four children will find success. Their challenge will be to go on a secret mission. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened where the only rule is that there are no rules.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. In this series you will join Harry Potter and a cast of eclectic characters from Hogwart’s through Quidditch matches, sorcery, magical adventures, villains, mystery, and more.
Pony Pals by Jeanne Betancourt This series of horse books is a favorite for young girls. The series follows three young girls and their ponies. Lucinda, Anna, and Pam are 3 friends who live in a fictional town called Wiggins, each with their own distinct personalities. They often work together to solve problems throughout the series.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall is the first of four books in this series that chronicles the lives this family of 6 (four sisters, their father, and their dog).
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney Written in the style of a child's diary, the books in this series are filled with hand-written notes and simple drawings of Greg's daily adventures.
The Doll People by Ann M. Martin is a series of books about porcelain dolls that come to life when the humans are not around. Charming and sweet, and oh so imaginative with incredibly illustrations. This one is sure to delight.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater tells the tale of Mr. Popper, the house painter whose greatest wish was to see the poles. In response to a fan letter he sends, Mr. Popper receives a penguin in the mail, and the adventures begin!
Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol is a series of books featuring the adventures of boy detective Leroy Brown, nicknamed "Encyclopedia" for his intelligence and range of knowledge.
Savvy by Ingrid Law Thirteen is when a Beaumont’s savvy (special power) hits —and with one brother who causes hurricanes and another who creates electricity, Miss Beaumont is eager to see what she gets!
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame features Mole and the animals he meets in pastoral England. Emerging from his home at Mole End one spring, his whole world changes when he connects with the good-natured, boat-loving Water Rat, the boastful Toad of Toad Hall, the society- hating Badger who lives in the frightening Wild Wood, and countless other mostly well-meaning creatures.
The Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne The first group of Magic Tree House books send Jack and Annie, two normal children from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, on numerous adventures and missions with a magical tree house in order to help free Morgan from a spell, solve four ancient riddles to become Master Librarians, and save four ancient stories from being lost forever.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder is based on decades-old memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood in the Midwest United States during the late 19th century. The books are told in the third person, with Laura Ingalls acting as the central character and protagonist.
I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis tells a terrifying and thrilling story from history through the eyes of a boy who lived to tell the tale.
About the Author
Heidi Ciravola has been married to her husband for over seventeen years. Together they have three children with whom they began their homeschooling journey with in 2006 when their oldest was beginning second grade.
Heidi is a mother, taxi service, and homeschool parent by day and an avid reader and homeschool blogger whenever there is time left over. You can visit Heidi at her blog Starts at Eight where she blogs about homeschool products and unit studies, homeschool organization and general tips, and homeschooling high school, as well as many book reviews, lists, and unit studies.