09.04.2015

Books for 3rd grade reading level

I had the great fortune to meet The Nerdy Book Club founders at a dinner for Anne Ursu hosted by Walden Pond Press to celebrate her latest chapter book, The Real Boy. Colby Sharp, one of The Nerdy Book Club founders, mentioned that he was teaching third grade this year, a move from years spent teaching fourth grade and I got very excited because I have a son in third grade! To complete this list of 10 perfect 3rd grade read aloud books either for parents to read at home or for a classroom, I asked my girls what books their teachers read to them in third grade. Giving them wonderful works of writing to emulate helps them think about things like setting, voice, character, plot and experiencing sensations through words.
The best part of a perfect read aloud, I think,  is how mesmerized the children become. My son says, “Because of Winn Dixie was a extremely good book and when we read it, had everybody in the class wrapped inside the book. My oldest’s third grade teacher flagged me down two years ago to tell me how much she loved this chapter book. In some ways this book reminds me of Charlotte’s Web so I like the pairing so kids can compare and contrast. My son says, “My class is still reading it but it is a very good book so far and everybody loves it. Grasshopper and Sensei’s third grade teacher recommended this easy chapter book to me for her and I ended up using it for her book club. As I read this book with my daughter, I got that deja vu feeling and realized that I had read a long time ago too! THIS STORY HONORS THE TEACHER THAT TOOK TIME TO SEE A CHILD THAT WAS DROWNING AND NEEDED HELP. PickyKidPix said that these were her two favorite Doug Cushman mysteries that she read in third grade. It’s about finding the wonder in everyday life and discovering that the people in your community have amazing stories and experiences! My son ended up doing a book project on The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs for rising 4th grade summer homework. This is one of my favorite chapter books but remains is lesser known than it deserves to be. Chester is a cricket from Connecticut that winds up in picnic basket and ends up in New York City’s Times Square. My son said that they read this mystery chapter book for read aloud and he highly recommends it. The final Read Aloud book of the year was in prepration for a field trip to Plimoth Plantation.
This would be great because their cousin was working at Plimoth Plantation when we visited and that would make for a rich discussion! My son tells me that they started this chapter book about the Wampanoag Native Americans but will not have time to finish it before school ends.
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I love it when the movie is true to the book like Charlotte’s Web and equally fantastic!
Right now, I really want to focus his mind on concentrating and understanding the story to another level. Hi Mia – to answer your question, I taught a combined classroom of grades 3-5 for three years, then one year of just first grade, and three more years of grades 1-2. Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Rebecca Stead: From Attorney to Secret Writer to Newbery Winner!
I really like this list – we read some of the books either together or separately, but I’d like to make sure that we will hang 10 on this list ?? Thanks for sharing with Afterschool!
If you click on the link (aff) for each book it will take you to a copy of the book on Amazon if you want to look inside the book or find out more about it. Henrietta Levitt was the first person to discover the scientific importance of a star’s brightness, so why has no one heard of her?
Follows a young Chinese American girl, as she navigates relationships with family, friends, and her fourthgrade classroom, and finds a true best friend. Chickenhare and his turtle friend Abe find themselves on their way to be sold to Klaus, an insane taxidermist. When ten-year-old Zeus is kidnapped, he discovers he can defend himself with a magical thunderbolt.
Police detective Binky investigates the theft of a golden goose, the poisoning of Snow White, and other fairy tale crimes.
Offers morbidly-humorous, pun-filled, illustrated epitaphs for animals that poetically describe how they met their ends.
Lulu, who loves animals, brings an abandoned duck egg to school, even though her teacher has banned Lulu from bringing animals to school ever again. Strange things are always happening around Archie, but after he meets Cyd and makes friends with her, he finds these odd occurrences more enjoyable.
A collection of sixteen humorous poems about such strange creatures as the stardine, slobster, and magpipe.
Stick Dog and his four friends – Stripes, Mutt, Poo-Poo and Karen – will do anything to steal some sweetsmelling hamburgers from a family at Picasso Park!
A visual profile of the record-setting baseball star traces his Birmingham childhood, achievements in the Negro Leagues, and fame as a center fielder for the Giants.
I am an Amazon Affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. It's not easy to seem cool when the whole class knows you wear superhero underwear and your mom still kisses you goodbye at the bus stop.
My 7th grader hasn’t read mysteries since American Girl Doll mystery books in 3rd and 4th grade.


Historical Fiction should be renamed Historical Adventure because typically it is a riveting story and not a dusty retelling of something boring from a long time ago.
My daughter doesn’t tend to like Fantasy because she likes books set in modern times. I am too squeamish for Horror but my daughter and I like Supernatural like Twilight and Born at Midnight. She liked A Wrinkle in Time so I bought her the whole series but she only liked the first book. My pubic library creates a great list for summer reading and this is the list I need for my rising 2nd grader. As your child works up to chapter books, a great author for 3rd grade and up is Roald Dahl. I really like the Ivy + Bean series that gently presents issues of friendship mixed with sweet little adventures that appeal to little girls. When a little girl gets a plush stingray for her birthday, it befriends her other toys as they experience the world of real people. Teacher turned author Suzy Kline uses her years in the classroom as the basis for her Horrible Harry series. When her second-grade classmates are envious of the three students who are going away on winter vacation, the creative and ingenious Gooney Bird Greene thinks of a geography activity to cheer them all up. My son spent a preschool year obsessed with dinosaurs and we read nothing by dinosaur books for an entire year. When Wilfong the wolf fails to blow down the house of the Pygg brothers, he stays outside their door all winter learning their games and listening to their jokes and stories, but although he claims to be reformed, the pigs are reluctant to offer friendship.
Any child who has had a beloved babysitter or nanny can relate to Eleanor, who misses her old babysitter.
Spending the whole summer at the beach, Daisy, who can communicate with animals, and her new friends, a dancing crab and two baby rabbits, join forces to help a dolphin in distress.
Great suggestions as it is hard finding the books in between picture books and chapter books. Want to start with Toys Come Home and Daisy Dawson at the Beach – I think both my kids would love those!
These books are great, I have introduced Amelia Bedelia series to my second graders, and they are enjoying it. One of my favorite read aloud books for my new 3rd graders is Sideway Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. If your kid loves it, then there are loads more books in the series that you can go through. My girls loved Rainbow fairies as well and devoured them but after I read, like 45!, of them alongside them, the repetitive plot and language started to make me crazy! Quickly and not surprisingly, we started talking about perfect third grade read aloud books. And how much they learn to love reading; not as a chore to fill out a reading log but as a story that they can not wait to hear the next installment.
It’s a perfect chapter book in my mind where whole adds up to much more than the sum of the parts. Her teacher said that girl bullying tends to rear its ugly head in third grade and this book centers around the role of bystanders in bullying.
FALKER HAD REACHED INTO THE MOST LONELY DARKNESS AND PULLED ME INTO BRIGHT SUNLIGHT AND SAT ME ON A SHOOTING STAR. His third grade teachers have used Cushman’s mystery picture books to lead off the mystery writing unit and have requested him!
I had always loved this book but wondered and worried if it was too old fashioned and slow paced to hold kids’ attention.
Though it’s the first book in a series, the rest of the books are not nearly as good as this one. It’s a wonderful example of strong voice in writing as well as just a really great read. Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children’s Literature has issues with how the Wampanoags are portrayed and her post is here. There are so many great themes in the book to think about that relate to kids and friendships.
Yes, this list is great for 3rd grade read aloud but kids in 4th and 5th grade would be able to read independently. This book imagines a special day spent with the celebrated writer and naturalist through the eyes of a child. Clevis, one of the most popular teachers at Washington Irving Elementary School, splits into mean substitute Ms. I like your lists because they are varied and always contain several books we haven’t read. Everyone room has a bookcase or a pile of books but like the Cobbler’s kids, mine have nothing good to read.
I like the combination of Tokyo and mystery and will see if I can get her to give it a try.
Laugh with the Moon also teaches about what we can do to help developing countries so I’d love for her to read that. I’ve heard great things about A Year without Autumn and my daughter is a fan of her Emily Windsnap series. My 6th grader finished Lions of Little Rock and The Best Bad Luck (by author); she really liked.both! It seemed like PickyKidPix‘s entire 3nd grade class was happily immersed in Roald Dahl that year.
I have another list here with some classics that still endure like the My Father’s Dragon series. Her new babysitter is equally wonderful and helps her to understand that you can still accept and even love your new one.


It’s a wonderful series to get girls reading but I really can not take more than, say, 15 of those books. Let me know if I am on the right track for your daughter and I’d be happy to recommend more books.
And the weird thing is that my son’s teacher had read all three perfect third grade books that Colby mentioned! My two daughters each have had these other two 3rd grade teachers and they are wonderful teachers! Their teachers also mentioned books to me in past years which I am including, trying as best as I can to channel them.
At our elementary school, third graders are subjected to the Long Composition Standardized Test which takes the better part of the day for them to complete. Other perfect read aloud books gently teach empathy by letting reader see the world from a point of view they would not ordinarily experience. In this case, it’s Charlotte’s artistry with web making as well as her knowledge of words! Every character is memorable with a story to tell and somehow all these stories meld together into a satisfying ending with an uplifting message. I actually think it makes the reader into a kinder person just through the act of experiencing the story. PickyKidPix said that it was because they knew the story from movies so the book was ruined for them.
I was thrilled that my kids’ friends talked about it and, when questioned, said that they liked it a lot.
There aren’t many Newbery winners that work for third grade and this would work fine for 2nd grade too. If you want to do a book comparison, I’d recommend reading The One and Only Ivan next because there are very similar themes of friendship and saving your friend using your skills. PickyKidPix also has a great list of chapter books she read at this same age, when she was assigned five books to read during the summer before going into 4th grade.
Hyde and sweet sixth-grader Jackie after accidentally putting some chemicals into her breakfast smoothie. This book covers all the nastiest habits of the most disgusting creatures on the planet.
There are no descriptions of the books here but if you click on image, you can read the blurb at Amazon. I usually let them find their own books, but believe it or mot, they find most of their books by looking at the library displays! Other characters including Horrible Harry (who isn’t that bad of a kid) are compilations of kids she taught. The cartoon illustrations help to break up the text which makes this especially appealing to reluctant readers. Amelia Bedelia was a favorite series of mine as a child and I’m so happy to see that kids today like it too. There are a lot of popular series but so many are mind numbingly boring with repetitive vocabulary and plots. I REMEMBER FEELING DUMB, THAT TERRIBLE FEELING ABOUT MYSELF WAS COMPOUNDED BY BEING TEASED BY A BULLY.
FALKER, BUT ALSO TO WARN YOUNG PEOPLE THAT MEAN WORDS HAVE A TERRIBLE POWER…AND THAT THEY SHOULD DO ALL THAT THEY CAN TO SEE THAT TEASING STOPS AT THEIR SCHOOL. And their displays are deliberate — they are trying to get kids to read the good stuff! Finding really good easy chapter book is tough which is probably why this list is so short. As an author who visits schools, Suzy talks about story seeds, a word or a two that she jots down in an ever present notebook that become the basis of her books.
I’m always trying to find books in this age category and my public library had a great list. Thanks also for Phineas MacGuire series which is new to me and I think I have a two of the Doyle and Fossey series that I never read to my son!
THAT BOY CHANGED MY LIFE AND MADE ME FEEL SO UNSAFE AND SO SAD THAT I DIDN’T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL ANYMORE. And if any book blogger leaves me a link to your book review, I’d be delighted to link to it. There’s something about a slower build to the climax that kids these days have no patience for.
Pencil stub, yellow scarf, purple hanger, June Box are all actual story seeds that are now books in her popular Horrible Harry series which is now published in several languages.
But I think kids, after reading Wonder, will realize that they can choose to be Summer, who doesn’t need to be coerced to be kind, or Jack, who will stand up for his friend even if it costs him his friends, or Julian, a bully. I know she likes Sonnenblick so even though it looks like a baseball book, it’s worth a try. She currently loves the Rainbow Fairies and I was just curious why they’re not good, recommended books?
If that was the case, I would be able to wholeheartedly recommend them but as a parent who read too many of them, it started to feel tortuous. My daughter is my oldest so this is my first go-around with school, chapter books, etc… Any advice would be appreciated.



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