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Every year I create a reading list for both of my children. I love reading and want to help my children love reading too. A reading list personally customized for them can help. No more reading a book just because everyone else is reading it too! For my son’s 5th grade reading list I knew I wanted an eclectic mix of classic and modern titles.
Creating a 5th grade reading list is not hard. In fact, this planning strategy works for all grade levels.
How to Create a 5th Grade Reading List
The first step was to look through my homeschool bookshelves. I collect books that I think my children will like when I see a good deal at a used book store, so I knew I would have at least a few titles to include this year.
After I was surrounded by a pile of books, I ran the titles through the Scholastic Book Wizard to make sure the books were not too difficult. Don’t skip this step! It can be hard to tell the grade level of a chapter book just by appearance or legnth. I don’t think you need to stick 100% to the grade level, but choosing a book that is too hard will lead to frustration.
Next, I look through popular book lists to see if there are any titles that I hadn’t considered. Goodreads and Pinterest are always full of great ideas. I knew that I wanted include an eclectic mix of titles, so I looked at a variety of book genres.
The final step to creating a reading list is to put the books in order. I try to match up any sort of seasonal title with the correct month. We focus on one book per month so that we have time to do a few projects that coordinate with the book. Another way to order the books is to use the Scholastic Book Wizard grade levels and read from easiest to hardest.
5th Grade Reading List
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of 7 fantasy books. There is some debate over which title should be read first – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (first published) or The Magician’s Nephew (first chronologically). C. S. Lewis himself seems to think it does not matter which is read first, so I opted to start the story chronologically.
A local Raleigh theater will be performing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in October and I would love to take my children. I put this title at the top of our 5th grade reading list so that we can finish the book before seeing the play.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was originally published in 1886, so it definitely counts as a classic. This gothic novella is part of what I have heard called, “The Mad Scientist” genre. I imagine we will have lots of discussions about the internal battle of good versus evil.
October seems like the perfect time to read a somewhat spooky story.
I chose The Return of the Indian because my son loved The Indian in the Cupboard. It was his favorite movie for quite a while so he is very familiar with the story and characters. There are a total of five books in this series, so there is plenty more to learn about Omri and Little Bear.
This realistic fiction book has become a modern classic. The Bridge to Terabithia is perfect for a 5th grade reading list because the main characters are best friends who are also in 5th grade. This is a story of friendship, imagination, and unfortunately grief. Warning in case you haven’t read this story – there is a horrible tragedy involved. I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t cried reading this story.
I chose to add Holes to this 5th grade reading list because it is full of mystery. This story follows a boy, not much older than my son, who believes he is cursed. He is unjustly placed in a juvenile detention camp, where he and the other boys, must dig hole after hole searching for a secret.
Where the Red Fern Grows is another modern classic that repeatedly shows up on book lists. I read it in school, my husband read it in school, and my daughter read it with her book club. This book is full of things my son will love – a mountain boy who spends his days training dogs, mountain lions, and adventure. Another warning though, this is another tear jerker.
The Phantom Tollbooth is solidly in the fantasy genre. I added this book to the my son’s 5th grade reading list because I know it will challenge him. He loves facts, information, and nonfiction. This book is the complete opposite with characters such as a watchdog that is part clock, King of letters and words, and a conductor of a color orchestra. My son will either love the whimsy or be frustrated by it. Either way it will be a growing experience.
This historical fiction story is set in 14th century medieval England. The main character, a 13 year old boy, is destitute and alone. He gets into trouble and then needs to run for his life. This story is full of action and suspense, which I hope my son will enjoy.
Lost in the Pacific, 1942 is a true life story of 8 WW2 soldiers who need to survive a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean. My son gravitates towards nonfiction, so I think he will find this book to be a real page turner. He also has a strong interest in survival skills and has taken several outdoor survival co-op classes.
The main character of The Science of Breakable Things, a 7th grade girl, is challenged by her teacher to use the scientific process to solve an important problem. She enters an egg drop competition in order to win prize money. I think we will conduct our own egg drop experiments at home while reading this book.
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