Tag Archives: book list

Recommended Read Alouds

In honor of a new school year about to begin, I thought I’d post my thoughts on a read aloud list.  Our youngest is ready to start kindergarten so I’m thinking about what books I want to read to him & trying to remember/compile an organized list to make sure I don’t miss any of the great ones.  The older kids & I have had so much fun reading together, it’s hard to choose which ones to start with, so a list by grade will make it easier.

Ideally, it wouldn’t it be great to have a list of books that each grade reads to prevent overlaps in school?  It happened to me.  You, too?  I had The Chronicles of Narnia read to me two years in a row!!  That’s all my fifth & sixth grade teachers had time to read to me by the time they got through the whole series, so that’s all I got.  And that was at a fairly small private school where the teachers EASILY could have asked each other what they read so there’s no reason for that to have happened.  But it did.  So I know it happens a lot.

Then there are the poor kids who never get read to!  That happens, too.  It is so vitally important to read out loud to children all the way through their grade school years.  Teachers often don’t start early enough on the chapter book reading, thinking kindergarteners or first graders can only handle picture books.  Or they don’t continue to do it in the upper grades thinking the kids can now read on their own or the teachers think it’s a waste of precious school time.  Not true.  It is SO important to continue reading to children, struggling as well as excelling readers.  Here’s a quick list of a few great reasons to read aloud:

  • It stretches & improves vocabulary.
  • It increases children’s attention spans.
  • It acts as a “promo” for reading.  You may just get them hooked!
  • It gets kids out of their comfort genre when you read a variety of books to them.
  • It helps them learn to make pictures in their heads vs. being so dependent on screens for visuals (MUCH needed skill in this generation!).

So here is the list I’ve compiled.  If a school (or family) went through it year by year, a child would get a great, well-rounded dose of books that would put them on the road to a life-long love of reading.  The numbers given behind the title is the general number of pages (depending on the copy you get) so you get the idea of how long it is.


  • Little House in the Big Woods (256)
  • Beezus and Ramona (176)
  • Ramona the Pest (240)
  • Winnie the Pooh (176)
  • The House at Pooh Corner (180)
  • The Story of Dr. Doolittle (176)
  • My Father’s Dragon (68)
  • B is for Betsy (144)
  • Back to School With Betsy (160)
  • The Tale of Despereaux (272)
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (228)
  • Pippi Longstocking (160)
  • Betsy and Tacy (144)
  • Cobble Street Cousins series (@65) – 6 books in the series
  • Nate the Great series (@80) – 26 books in the series (one for Christmas)
  • Flat Stanley series (@112) – 5 books in the series
  • The Indian in the Cupboard (240) (great for reading in November)

First Grade:

  • Charlotte’s Web (192)
  • Henry Huggins (192)
  • Homer Price (160)
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins (139)
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (128)
  • Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (176)
  • When We Were Very Young (112)
  • Now We Are Six (112)
  • Little House on the Prairie (352)
  • Ramona the Brave (192)
  • Ramona & Her Father (208) (good for December reading)
  • Betsy, Tacy, & Tib (160)
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Magic (192)
  • The Return of the Indian (208) (read in November)
  • Marvin Redpost series (@80) 8 books in the series
  • Encyclopedia Brown series (@100)  29 in series so far

Second Grade:

  • Farmer Boy (384)
  • Ramona & Her Mother (224)
  • Betsy & Tacy Go Over the Hill (192)
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Farm (128)
  • Hello, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (128)
  • Henry & Beezus (224)
  • Henry & Ribsy (208)
  • All of a Kind Family (192)
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (128) (obviously read in December)
  • The Secret of the Indian (192)
  • A Grain of Rice (80)
  • Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventure series (@96) 9 books in the series so far
  • Boxcar Children series (@150) 154 books in series so far

Third Grade:

  • Because of Winn Dixie (182)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek (352)
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (208)
  • Betsy & Tacy Go Downtown (240)
  • Henry & the Paper Route (224)
  • Henry & the Clubhouse (224)
  • Ribsy (240)
  • The Hundred Dresses (96)
  • Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (192)
  • The Mystery of the Cupboard (256)
  • The Light at Fern Rock (64) (for reading in December)
  • The Sign of the Beaver (144)
  • Sarah, Plain & Tall (64)
  • The Courage of Sarah Noble (64)
  • The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (64)
  • The Cabin Faced West (128)
  • Nancy Drew series (@190) 61 books in original series
  • Hardy Boys series (@180) 58 books in original series
  • Bobbsey Twins series (@180) 72 books in series

Fourth Grade:

  • Sadoko & the Thousand Paper Cranes (80)
  • Number the Stars (136)
  • The Secret Garden (296)
  • A Little Princess (209)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (256)
  • Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH (240)
  • Five Little Peppers & How They Grew (224)
  • The Key to the Indian (288)
  • How to Eat Fried Worms (128)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (208)
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw (160)

Fifth Grade:

  • The Door in the Wall (128)
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond (272)
  • The Bronze Bow (254)
  • Fair Weather (160)
  • The Teacher’s Funeral (224))
  • Around the World in 80 Days (152)
  • The Devil’s Arithmetic (176)
  • The Breadwinner (170)
  • The Borrowers (192)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (176)
  • The Westing Game (192)

What do you think?  Are there books you had read to you that were stand outs?  What grade were you when they were read to you?  Feel free to comment & add to the list!  Also, let me know what you think about my placing of each book in their grade.  Are there any you would change?  Comments welcomed.

Read Alouds, 2007

Last year, I wrote out a list of books we’ve read aloud as a family. Guess it’s time to update for posterity. Here are the books I can remember that we read together as a family over the last year…

Winnie the Pooh (again – it’s part of the k-12 curriculum)
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Trial By Poison (Trailblazer book about Mary Slessor)
Corrie Ten Boom (CEF story)
On the Banks of Plum Creek
Fair Weather, by Richard Peck
Peanut Butter and Jelly Secrets (from the Alex series – I’m having a hard time finding those! Interlibrary loan is the only way to get them. The kids enjoyed it, though. I need to order a few more. After Odyssey.)
Junie B. Jones – Jingle Bells, (over Christmas break)

That takes us to today. We are currently in the middle of the Odyssey Series. Right now, we’re reading The King’s Quest, sixth book of twelve in the set.

I was so excited to find CBD was selling them again after years of checking! We were getting them interlibrary loan, but that’s hard to do with a series – you can only order three at a time, weeks of waiting in between, limited time to have each book & over Christmas break, that can cause problems, etc. They are sold four books to a volume for twelve bucks – not bad – so we got them for Christmas. The new editions don’t have the drawings or chapter titles the old ones did, but everything else is the same. Paul McCusker is so good at writing quality Christian materials for kids!

Winter’s a great time to snuggle down together with a a good book. What are you & your littles reading together right now?


Favorite Books…

This is one of those entries I am going to start today & edit through time. This morning, I really need to get to town to run errands. But I wanted to put something new in the blog.

My loves as a child…

Anything about Clara Barton – I wanted to be a nurse until I saw Paul get one of his immunization shots & it broke my heart. I decided I couldn’t do that. Before that, any book on Clara Barton in the library was devoured (my maiden name being Burton had something to do with that, too.)

Anything about big families – Cheaper By the Dozen, Belles on Their Toes, The Five Little Peppers & How They Grew, All of a Kind Family, Little House books, Papa’s Wife, Papa’s Daughters, the Janette Oke Love Comes Softly series

Joy Spartan books – There was a series about a girl named Joy & her twin brother Roy who were PKs (preacher’s kids). I loved those books & haven’t seen them around for years.

Anything by Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy

The Abeka version of Pilgrim’s Progress.

Anything by Beverly Cleary – Ramona was fun.

The Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood – She wrote probably 30 or more! They were a quick read, but thick books – large print. Carolyn writes similarly to Beverly Cleary in that she really understands the child’s world. She remembers what’s important to them & how they feel.

The Betsy & Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. I absolutely loved (& still do) these books! Come to find out, when I went to read these to my kids, there’s a fan club based in Minnesota for these old classics! I thought everyone had forgotten about them.

As a teacher/adult, I found…

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books – These are great! I don’t know how I missed them as a child. I found them in Korea of all places, in our little school library the year I taught second grade & needed a read-aloud. I stumbled on a very good thing & have been spreading the word on these gems ever since.

The Alex Series by Nancy S. Levene – There’s about a dozen of these little books. Again, the year I taught second-grader, one of my students brought these in for me to read aloud. I was very pleasently surprised. They taught good lessons in each – great for reading aloud. There’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Secrets, French Fry Forgiveness, Hot Chocolate Friendship, etc. They sound silly, but really are good books for teaching moral lessons.

The Trailblazer Series – by Dave and Neta Jackson. These are great books to read for teaching Christian history to the kids in a fun & exciting way. They have good cliff-hangers at the end of the chapters to keep kids wanting to hear more.

Adventures in Odyssey came out with a book series in the ninties that they didn’t talk about much, but were really good. The were: Strange Journey Back, High Flyer with a Flat Tire, The Secret Cave of Robinwood, Behind the Locked Door, Lights Out at Camp What-a-Nut, The King’s Quest, Danger Lies Ahead, Point of No Return, Dark Passage, Freedom Run, The Stranger’s Message, & A Carnival of Secrets. One of my fifth graders brought them in for me to read apoud to the class. They build on each other – are one big story. I was surprised at how good they were & yet nobody talked about them (we’re Odyssey fans & hadn’t heard of them) & I haven’t seen them around since. They remind me of the Alex Series books by Nancy S. Levene, but geared more for older kids.

And the classics/award winners I’ve loved…

The Witch of Blackbird Pond, A Wrinkle in Time, Number the Stars, The Chosen by Chaim Potok, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, The Anne of Green Gables books,

A Teacher’s Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts is a new one that Keith & I read & got a big kick out of. The author has a way with words. It’s a short read – only takes a few hours. It’s been a while since I read a book that made me laugh out loud.

Well, that’s a start. Until next time…