My K-12 Recommended Reading List
Reading Is Important - And Fun!
K-12 Recommended Reading List
I love reading! I have loved reading since before I started school. Reading has always been a way for me to get away from the real world and disappear into another one – either a fantasy world where a scarecrow can be king or a pioneer world where I could follow the adventures of a little girl and her family across the prairie. No matter what the world, it was enough to keep my mind off of any problems that I might have been having growing up.
Here is a list of books that I recommend, according to grade level. For elementary and middle school, I separate by each grade level and for high school I grouped all four grades together.
Kindergarten Reading List
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - Bill Martin, Jr.
- Green Eggs And Ham - Dr. Seuss
- The Kissing Hand - Audrey Penn
- If You Give A Mouse A Cookie - Laura Numeroff
- Where The Wild Thing Are - Maurice Sendak
Recommended Reading For Kindergartners
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – Bill Martin, Jr. – An alphabet book where the letters of the alphabet race to see who can make it to the top of the coconut tree. It is a wonderful book for children learning their alphabet.
Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss – Sam-I-Am tries to convince his friends to try green and eggs and ham in this rhyming book. This is a fun book that children absolutely love to hear again and again. Filled with beginning sight words, it is a great book for those learning to read.
The Kissing Hand – Audrey Penn – Chester doesn’t want to go to school for the first time, because he is afraid he will miss his mother. His mother finds a way to remind him that she will always be with him. A great book to read to children going to school for the first time.
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie – Laura Numeroff – If you give a mouse a cookie, he is going to need something else! This fun book is great for teaching sequencing for young readers while providing some giggles to young readers.
Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak – Max is a little boy who doesn’t want to go to bed. Instead he goes on an adventure to where the wild things are! A great first adventure book for young readers.
First Grade Reading List
- The Grouchy Ladybug - Eric Carle
- Curious George - H.A. Rey
- Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs - Judi Barrett
- The Rainbow Fish - Marcus Pfister
- Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon - Patty Lovell
Recommended Reading For First Graders
The Grouchy Ladybug – Eric Carle – The ladybug is grouchy, but gets nicer as she works her way through the book. Great pictures and fun to read.
Curious George – H.A. Rey – George and the Man with the Yellow Hat have many adventures together while George explores the world around him. The biggest thing that he discovers is that the Man with the Yellow Hat is always there for him when he gets into trouble.
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs – Judi Barrett – What fun would it be if you could live in a town where it rained food? The town of Chewandswallow is just such a town. You never know when it might rain meatballs!
Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister –The Rainbow Fish is proud of his shiny scales. This makes it hard for him to have friends – and then he learns to share. This is a great book to teach youngsters about sharing. It is also a gorgeous book with beautiful, shiny pictures that students love!
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon – Patty Lovell – This is the perfect book for any child who has ever felt awkward because of the way they looked or sounded. Molly Lou had bucked teeth and a voice like a bull-frog, but still stood tall. Her grandmother helped her to see that she could choose to see all of her differences as a blessing. A wonderful story!
Second Grade Reading List
- Amelia Bedilia Series - Peggy Parrish
- Frog and Toad Series - Arnold Lobel
- Fancy Nancy Series - Jane O'Connor
- Skippyjon Jones - Judy Schachner
- Pete The Cat - James Dean
Recommended Reading For Second Graders
Amelia Bedilia – Peggy Parrish – A great series of books for beginning readers. When Amelia is told to do things, she takes everything literally. These books also help teach children to have fun with words.
Frog and Toad – Arnold Lobel – Another set of beginning reader books. These books follow the adventures of friends, Frog and Toad. These books are easy to read and teach a lot about how to be a good friend.
Fancy Nancy – Jane O’Connor – Nancy has some great adventures in this series of books. She uses very colorful language. These books can teach children how to use the more exciting words as they write – while entertaining them with Nancy’s adventures.
Skippyjon Jones – Judy Schachner – Fun rhyming adventure books that follow the imagination of Skippyjon Jones a kitten with a wild imagination. Children love the silly rhymes and fun pictures in this series of books.
Pete The Cat – James Dean – Pete is a cool cat that children love to read about. There are a series of these fun to read books for not so beginning readers that like just a bit of a challenge.
Third Grade Reading List
- Stellaluna - Janell Cannon
- Frindle - Andrew Clements
- Thank You, Mr. Falker - Patricia Polacco
- Because of Winn-Dixie - Charlotte Jaffe, Barbara Doherty
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
- Little House Series - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Recommended Reading For Third Graders
Stellaluna – Janell Cannon – Beautiful pictures tell the story of a little bat that is raised in a birds nest after she is knocked away from her mother when attacked by an owl. There are facts at the end of the book to help children learn all about bats.
Frindle – Andrew Clements – Nick likes to stir things up, and when he finds out how words are added to the dictionary, he decides to see if he can get one added. He starts using the word “frindle” and soon has everyone else at school – and in town – using the word. A fun book that can teach children to have fun with words.
Thank You, Mr. Falker – Patricia Polacco – A wonderful tribute to a teacher that shows a young girl that she is talented and is no dummy. A great story for children who have difficulty with reading or any other subject at school – and for teachers who teach them.
Because of Winn-Dixie – Charlotte Jaffe, Barbara Doherty – A wonderful story about a young girl and the dog that she saves – and how the dog saves her. Because of Winn Dixie, Opal learns a lot and meets many new friends.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – A young boy lives with his parents and grandparents in a small home. When there is a contest to visit Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory, Charlie does everything he can to win a golden ticket.
Little House in the Big Woods – Laura Ingalls Wilder – The story of Laura and her family as they live in the Big Woods. The first of a series of books about the Ingalls family as they travel across the prairie in search of a better life.
Fourth Grade Reading List
- Jumanji - Chris Van Allsburg
- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
- Shiloh - Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- Math Curse - Jon Scieszka
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Judy Blume
Recommended Reading For Fourth Graders
Jumanji – Chris Van Allsburg – Be careful if you start playing the game of Jumanji! You never know what might happen – and be prepared to finish what you start!
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes – Sadako is a little girl who contracts leukemia from the atom bomb. It is her dream to make one thousand paper cranes. Read the book to see if her dream comes true!
Shiloh – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – A young boy finds a dog that has been mistreated. When the owner tries to take him back home, the boy hides the dog – against his family’s wishes. A heartwarming story of a boy and a dog.
Math Curse – Jon Scieszka – When the narrator’s teacher tells the class that you can see everything as a math problem, she is struck by the math curse! An enjoyable look at all of the ways we can use math in our everyday lives.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Judy Blume – The tales of young Peter and his younger brother, Fudge. It seems that fourth grade is a lot of trouble for Peter. This is the first of a series of books about Peter, his brother, Fudge and his friend Sheila.
Fifth Grade Reading List
- Where The Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls
- Hatchet - Gary Paulson
- Missing May - Cynthia Rylant
- Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis
- The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle - Beverly Cleary
- Maniac Magee - Jerry Spinelli
Recommended Reading For Fifth Graders
Where The Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls – This is my favorite book ever. This is actually one of the reasons I became a teacher. This is the story of young Billy and his desire to own two redbone coon hounds. His family cannot afford to buy him the dogs he wants, so Billy works hard to buy the dogs himself. Once he gets his dogs, they become an inseparable team. A wonderful story about the love from a boy for his dogs and for dogs for their boy.
Hatchet – Gary Paulson – A boy is on a trip to visit his father when his plane crashes and he is the only survivor. He must learn to survive on his own while he is being searched for. A great survivor story!
Missing May – Cynthia Rylant – A young girl loses her beloved aunt. Her uncle believes that Aunt May is coming back from the spirit world, so Summer and her friend venture out to see if this is true.
Bud, Not Buddy – Christopher Paul Curtis – Another story of a young man in the search of his father.
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett – Mary is sent to live with an uncle she has never met when her parents die in the cholera outbreak. She discovers friends in her cousins and uncle and a secret garden that helps them all to grow.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle – Beverly Cleary – A boy befriends a mouse who finds the boys motorcycle. The mouse loves the motorcycle and has many daring adventures.
Maniac Magee – Jerry Spinelli – Maniac Magee is an orphan who runs to try to get away from his own problems and to help the problems of his town.
She Says "Just Read!!"
Sixth Grade Reading List
- Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
- The Watsons Go To Birmingham-1963 - Christopher Paul Curtis
- The Call Of The Wild - Jack London
- The Black Stallion Series - Walter Farley
- Helen Keller-The Story of My Life - Helen Keller
- The Diary of Anne Frank - Anne Frank
Recommended Reading For Sixth Graders
Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling – A wonderful story about a boy wizard and his adventures at the school that teaches him to use his powers to the best of his abilities.
The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 – Christopher Paul Curtis – When Kenny’s brother Byron begins to get into a lot of trouble, the family decides that they need to go to Birmingham to visit Grandma – who can help. It just so happens that Grandma’s church is blown up by activists. An interesting story about the civil rights movement from a child’s point of view.
The Call of the Wild – Jack London – A dog is stolen from a comfortable home and taken to the frozen wild where he must learn to survive on his own. Follow along as he tries to find his way back a home and family that love him.
The Black Stallion Series – Walter Farley – A boy and a horse are shipwrecked together on a deserted island. Together they learn to survive. Once they get off the island, the boy trains the horse to be a great racehorse. The series of books follows Alex and the Black on their adventures through racing.
Helen Keller – The Story of My Life – Helen Keller – Helen Keller was a little girl that was both deaf and blind. When her parents could not communicate with her, she became a wild child. They soon hired a teacher that could teach her to use sign language and her world opened up.
The Diary of Anne Frank – Anne Frank – A young Jewish girl grows up in Nazi occupied Holland during World War II. She and her family are hidden away in a secret apartment for years before being discovered and taken away to a concentration camp.
Seventh Grade Reading List
- The Outsiders - S.E.Hinton
- The Giver - Lois Lowry
- Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
- The Face on the Milk Carton - Caroline B. Cooney
- The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
- White Fang - Jack London
Recommended Reading For Seventh Graders
The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton – The story of two groups of teens – the Soc’s and the Greaser’s. The Soc’s are the kids from the “right” side of town, while the Greaser’s are from the “wrong” side of town. The Greaser’s get into all kinds of trouble due to the circumstances in their lives.
The Giver – Lois Lowry – In a perfect world, a young boy is told that he will have the responsibility of one day holding the memories of the perfect society.
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck – Lemmy and George are friends during the great Depression. Lemmy is slow and has trouble fitting in, so George tries to help him. Lemmy’s innocence gets him into trouble that even George can’t help him get out of.
The Face on the Milk Carton – Caroline B. Cooney – On morning Janie looks at the face on the milk carton and recognizes it as her own. Can she really be the girl on the carton? Was she really kidnapped?
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak – A little girl loves to read during World War II in Germany. She steals books to feed her habit. She shares her books with the people in her life – her foster father, the Jewish man in the basement and her neighbors.
White Fang – Jack London – A dog suffers mistreatment before finally finds the love of kind humans.
Eighth Grade Reading List
- Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
- The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
- Animal Farm - George Orwell
- Tuesdays With Morrie - Mitch Albom
- The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
Recommended Reading For Eighth Graders
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott – A family of women waiting for their father to return home from the war.
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins – In the future children must fight to the death for entertainment.
Animal Farm – George Orwell – When animals are mistreated and overworked, they take over the farm. This was written as a commentary about totalitarianism in the world.
Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom –Mitch Albom writes about his time with his former professor, Morrie in the last days of Morrie's life. He learns many life lessons through his weekly Tuesday meetings.
The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger – Holden Caulfield leaves his prep school to go underground in New York. He has his reasons for doing this, but he might not know what they are.
High School Reading List
- The Pearl - John Steinbeck
- A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare
- The Stand - Stephen King
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
- Go Ask Alice - Anonymous (Beatrice Sparks)
- The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Flowers For Algernon - Daniel Keyes
- To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
- The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hermingway
- The Pigman - Paul Zindel
- A Tree Grows In Brooklyn - Betty Smith
- The Scarlett Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
- In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
- The Perks of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Recommended Reading For High School
The Pearl – John Steinbeck – A pearl changes the lives of the people that encounter it.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare – One of the greatest by Shakespeare! There is a play within a play. There is much going on in this story and it keeps you interested from beginning to end.
The Stand – Stephen King – Although written many years ago, this story could have been written today. A man escapes from a facility carrying a mutated strain of super flu that can kill most of the world within weeks.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night–Time – Mark Haddon – The story of a young man with autism and his quirks and amazing talents as he searches for the cause of the death of a neighborhood dog.
Go Ask Alice – Anonymous (Beatrice Sparks) – The diary of a young woman going through drug abuse and all of the trials and tribulations that go along with it.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – Wonderfully written story about high society in the roaring ‘20’s. The story of the love Jay Gatsby has for Daisy.
Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes – An experimental operation on Algernon the mouse is duplicated on Charlie, a mentally disabled man. Everything seems to be successful – but is it, really?
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee – Living in small town America, a lawyer defends a black man. His daughter observes all of the details from a distance and learns many life lessons.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou – Maya and her brother, Bailey are sent to live with their grandmother. Maya is attacked by a man much older than her and she must live with the consequences for the rest of her life.
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway – The story of an old man and his awesome fight with a huge marlin fish.
The Pigman – Paul Zindel – A teenage couple befriend an old man and become a part of his life. He helps them to grow up and learn about life.
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – Betty Smith – A young girl grows up in Williamsburg at the turn of the century. This story tells about her coming of age in this classic story.
The Scarlett Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne – A woman must wear a scarlet letter to display to everyone that she is an adulteress.
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote – Two men kill a family in rural Kansas because they think the family has money.
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky – Being a wallflower has its perks – watching others and learning from them for example.
Although I have listed these books at certain grade levels, they can be used for grades higher or lower than those listed. Some younger kids have higher reading levels and some older kids have lower reading levels. The grade levels are just suggestions. I hope you enjoy!