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I really enjoy putting together individual book lists for my kids, probably because I love reading so much. I want Hannah and Ben to love reading too so I think it is important to surround them with interesting books. This 6th grade reading list contains plenty of excellent choices.
I create their yearly reading lists with the hope that they will enjoy the books and that they will learn something or begin to think differently. Books can spark deep trains of thought and awesome conversations.
The reading lists are assembled over the summer so I can get a head start on reading the books. I never want to assign a book that I haven’t read myself, but reading all of the school books plus my own books does get time consuming. I try to stay at least two books ahead of Hannah. The two month lead time was incredibly useful when we moved cross country.
I feel pretty confident that these books will be a good fit for Hannah, but if I find a problem while I’m reading, I have a buffer of time to find an appropriate substitution.
As I’m reading, I make notes of any comprehension or discussion questions and new vocabulary words. I also plan activities and projects that correlate with the story. I assign one book per month so we have time to discuss the story elements in depth.
To create Hannah’s book list I scoured many websites to see what other middle school students are reading. Goodreads.com is a fantastic place to find book suggestions. Once I decided on the books, I started delegating them to individual months. First I plugged in any books that seemed like an obvious fit for a certain month, for example, a spooky story in October. Then I filled in the gaps with the remaining books.
This list contains fiction, historical fiction, and science fiction. We read plenty of nonfiction and biographies with our social studies curriculum so I didn’t include any on this list. We also read poetry weekly during our poetry tea times.
Sixth Grade Reading List
September – Schooled by Gordon Korman
I chose this book for our sixth grade reading list because it is about a homeschooled boy entering a public middle school. There are not many books with a homeschooled main character. The main character might fit many of the socially awkward homeschool stereotypes, but am interested to see how Hannah feels about that. Schooled seemed like a perfect book for the start of middle school.
Update – Check out our grand finale activities for Schooled.
October – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Hannah’s favorite book of all time is Coraline by Neil Gaiman, so when I saw this book I knew it had to be on her reading list. It seems like a mix of Coraline and Harry Potter. This book seems like a perfect read while getting ready for Halloween. I should warn you that Neil Gaiman isn’t for everyone though. His books probably are not a good fit for anyone that scares easily or doesn’t have a firm grasp of fiction vs nonfiction. He seems to invoke lots of strong opinions, you either love his books or hate them. Our family is in the ‘love them’ category.
November – A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park
I chose this book for our sixth grade reading list because it provides insight into a type of life that is completely foreign to Hannah. Actually, it is probably foreign to just about everyone reading this list. I know I have never had to walk two miles to find clean drinking water. Middle school is when I want to gently open her eyes to world issues in a safe way. I selected this book for November because it seemed like the perfect time to be thankful for running water, time with family, and a safe place to call home.
December – Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I thought this sounded like a really interesting twist on a classic. Over the past few years we have read many versions on the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, but this is unique. I think it could inspire Hannah to rewrite a fairy tale with her own spin. Including this book in our sixth grade reading list is a great way to transition from elementary fairy tales to middle school adaptations.
January – Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Julie of the Wolves was on just about every middle school recommended book list. That tells me this is something we shouldn’t miss on our own sixth grade reading list. I suspect that reading about Miyax’s personal growth will help Hannah look for her own strength. Cold and rainy January seemed like the perfect month to read about a struggle in the Alaskan wilderness.
February – A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
This book made Hannah’s list because it is Paul’s favorite book. He is looking forward to many dinner time discussions. I like to include at least one dystopian novel each year. I hope that it is laying the foundation to always think critically when someone (politicians?) promise Utopia. What is the true cost? Can there ever really be a Utopian society?
UPDATE: Paul reread this book and decided it isn’t a good fit for Hannah this year. There is more sex in the book than he remembered, making it not a good fit for my family’s 6th grade reading list. We are still searching to find a replacement.
March – Shakespeare’s Scribe by Gary Blackwood
Hannah read quite a bit of Shakespeare in 5th grade and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Most of the remaining Shakespeare plays contain adult material that isn’t really appropriate for 6th grade so we are reading this instead. Hannah isn’t naturally drawn to mysteries, but maybe this book will change that.
April – Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Does anyone else remember reading this book in sixth grade? It is one of the few books I remember being assigned in middle school. It was also on many suggested reading lists. I knew it had to be on Hannah’s sixth grade reading list when I read, “she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.” in the Amazon blurb. Middle school is definitely a time to foster a sense of dignity and self respect. Those are qualities I want for my daughter and I will foster them any way I can.
May – Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall by Suzanne Jurmain
This novel seemed like just the story to cultivate an awareness of social injustices. I want my children to recognize social injustice when they see it and know that they can do something about it. Miss Crandall sounds like an amazing role model, even if we only know her through literature.
June – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
By June it can be hard to keep the school momentum going so I wanted to choose a story that was sure to keep Hannah’s interest. A friend recommended this book to me years ago, but I didn’t really take notice of it until I saw the movie preview. Hannah loves fantasy books so this should be an easy end of the year read for her.
Now that I have Hannah’s 6th grade reading list completed, I need to start searching for copies of the books. Our library has all of the books, but each one has a long waiting list. I like to find the books used whenever possible to save money. Used bookstores are my first stop. If I can’t find the book locally, I will buy them second hand on amazon. One advantage to owning the books is that favorites are here to reread over and over.
What would you add to this 6th grade reading list?
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