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Parent picks: What third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders are reading this summer

GreatSchools members share their favorite children's books, from classics to trendy tales.

GreatSchools Blog

By GreatSchools Staff

Your child is at a critical stage with his reading skills. These parent suggestions, ranging from mysteries to adventures like Where the Red Fern Grows, are sure to keep him engaged:

Walk Two Moons by Susan Creech. In this story a young girl traveling with her grandparents entertains them by weaving tales about her imaginary friend. At the same time, she must confront her feelings about her estranged mother.

Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth by Lloyd Alexander. In Time Cat, a young boy discovers that his cat, instead of having nine lives, has the ability to travel through time nine times. Thus begins their adventures. One parent writes, “My then-fourth-grade son loved Time Cat. He's not a reader but couldn't put this book down.”

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. This book series began as an online comic on Funbrain.com and has soared in popularity ever since. The books are written and illustrated as the journal entries of Greg, a middle school boy every family can relate to. This is a great pick for kids whose interest in books is waning.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. This timeless classic is usually read under the covers with a flashlight as most kids can’t seem to put it down. The story focuses on Billy, a young boy who saves up money for two years to buy hunting dogs, and the bond he forms with them as they travel through the Ozark Mountains.

Rules by Cynthia Lord.  A touching story about a 12-year-old girl who longs for a “normal” life that, with an autistic brother, seems nearly impossible. As the protagonist regularly accompanies her younger brother to his occupational therapy sessions, she befriends a disabled boy. This is a great one to read aloud to your kids.

Bull Run by Paul Fleischman.  A fictional account of the famous Battle of Bull Run told from 16 perspectives, including men and women from the North and South. This book will give your child insights into the glories and horrors of war.

Little Women by Louise May Alcott.  A wonderful coming-of-age tale about four sisters growing up in 19th-century New England.

Have your own book recommendations? Add them to the Parent Picks list!
 

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

08/11/2009:
"My going-into-6th grade son loved The Graveyard Book. He read it in the car on vacation. I read it too. Really a cool read. A baby being raised by interesting and caring ghosts. Good mystery involved!"
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