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Books for Specific Age-Groups > 3rd Grade Read Alouds

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim Hello,

I am looping with my second grade class to third grade so my students have already heard some of my favorite read alouds. This summer I have been working on finding new favorites! I am especially interested in ensuring diversity in the voices, stories and characters that we devote time to discussing through read aloud.

Here are two I read this summer that I will read aloud to my class:
Love, Ruby Lavendar by Deborah Wiles
Dexter the Tough by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Does anyone have other suggestions?


message 2: by Luann (last edited Aug 24, 2008 10:31PM) (new)

Luann (AZbookgal) | 44 comments Something about your post made me think of "Where I Live" by Eileen Spinelli. A quick read with wonderful use of voice.

message 3: by Tajah6065 (new)

Tajah6065 | 4 comments The Stories Julian Tells, the Penderwicks, Clemintine by Pennyparker are what comes to mind right now.

message 4: by Pam (new)

Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee (Pam_T) | 41 comments My daughter's second grade teacher read them "Holes" and they all loved it. Another book you might consider --believe it or not-- is "The Odyssey". There are some really good real-aloud ones for children. I looked over 5 different versions two years ago (which I read to my then 4 and 6 yo) and only one sucked.

The best one for us was Geraldine McCaughrean's version. It had more dialog and was the one the kids seemed to like best.

message 5: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (EllenJepson) For third grade students, I usually recommend Clementine by Sara Pennypacker first, then Just Grace by Cherise Harper, and I always remember to suggest Little House in the Big Woods, but then I live in Wisconsin so its a fun one to read.

message 6: by Shelly (new)

Shelly (musshel) | 3 comments the school house mouse is a great one for third graders.

message 7: by Kim (new)

Kim Thanks for all the suggestions!

I definitely love Clementine and we read that last year in 2nd grade. I want to make sure I don't only read books with strong girl characters, as I think I am drawn to those.

Shelly, Do you mean The School Mouse by Dick King-Smith? Or another book?

Thanks again,

Jackie "the Librarian" Dick King-Smith is great for third-graders! Three Terrible Trins, and A Mouse Called Wolf are fun ones.

message 9: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Hi Kim, I actually just published a childrens healthy lifestyle book. It's titled Oscar and Otis - Fat Fighters. So far it's gotten good reviews. I would love to know what your kids think. thanks

message 10: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 3 comments Ellen ~
My daughter's class is currently reading Little House in the Big Woods. She seems to like it - it was my favorite when I was a child.

message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbrad) How about The Hundred Dresses? Do you have to finish one book in a reading? I used to carry them over from day to day when I used to read during lunch time to keep the children from bugging each other.

I had grades 4 and 5 together. So I'd read one chapter a day. I used the Narnia books and read all of them. I also used to read them to children in my neighborhood who gathered in my home. They were diverse ages, from six to 10, and they were all interested.

Have you done Charlotte's web? Capyboppy by Bill Peet? SAM, BANGS, AND MOONSHINE,by E. Ness? The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Robinson? How My Parents Learned to Eat by Friedman? When you mention diversity, are you concerned with one particular race or culture? Or do you want a great variety? I tended more toward books with themes that applied to all cultures. And animal characters also cut across racial and cultural lines. I reread Newberry's Frosty last night, and although there is a Hispanic family who plays a major role in the cast of characters, I think children of any age and any race in America can relate to wanting a pet of their own -- the theme of that book. I reviewed that book last night.

Where is your school? Would historical fiction work for you if it's related to your location?

message 12: by Suzie (new)

Suzie | 3 comments Oh, I think..."The Tale of Despereaux" would be a great read aloud.

message 13: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckywithasmile) I have read all of these to grades 3/4 and they have loved them.

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

The Cay
*Just finishing this one with my class right now and they are totally intrigued.


message 14: by Pam (new)

Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee (Pam_T) | 41 comments Just read "Be a Perfect Person in Just 3 Days!" to my two. Funny book that puts perfection in its place.

message 15: by Eric (new)

Eric As a general rule i like to read novels 2 or 3 reading levels above my average readers ability. This way the students are encountering vocabulary they would not typically encounter during their own independent reading.

I finished reading William Steig's Dominic last week and my 3rd grade class and they wanted to start all over again from the beginning instead of voting for a new book! We are currently completely all of Steig's picture books as well. My kids are mostly english language learners so we frequently have to stop to discuss many of Steig's word choices.

Other great 3rd grade selections:

Bunnicula - James and Deborah Howe

Despereaux and/or Edward Tulane - DiCamilio

Abel's Island, Real Thief and/or Dominic - Steig

Cricket in Time Square - Seldon

Mr. Popper's Penguins - Atwater

and of course anything by Dahl, Clearly, King-Smith, or White would be perfect for third graders.

message 16: by Mary (new)

Mary Crabtree (boonebridgebookscom) The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly" by Luis Sepulveda
was and still is a huge favorite of mine. The illustrations are beautiful and lend themselves well to the mood of the story and the story...... A real winner for those that enjoy "The Tale of Despereaux"

message 17: by Flinkybits (new)

Flinkybits "No Talking" by Andrew Clements is excellent. About boys vs. girls trying not to talk as Ghandi did. They can use three words to answer adults.

"The Snow Spider" is a magical story by Jenny Nimmo, author of Charlie Bone books. But, it has a lot to do with boy's interaction with his father, grandmother and mother.

"Igraine the Brave" by Cornelia Funke is a brand newish book about a girl night from a magical family. It is about her bravery and caring and helping to get an older knight back on his feet. Also, very much about girl power. Not a heavy book, but a great one.

message 18: by April Ann (last edited Dec 31, 2008 09:26AM) (new)

April Ann (Bloomer) The Indian in the Cupboard Series by Lynne Reid Banks, is fun to read aloud to his age group!

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks The Return of the Indian (Indian in the Cupboard, The) by Lynne Reid Banks The Secret of the Indian (Indian in the Cupboard) by Lynne Reid Banks The Mystery of the Cupboard (Indian in the Cupboard) by Lynne Reid Banks The Key to the Indian (Indian in the Cupboard) by Lynne Reid Banks

The Adventures of King Midas (Avon Camelot Books) by Lynne Reid Banks
And then there's her "Adventures of King Midas" which my daughter loved.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. LewisI agree with Eric about reading aloud above their level too! C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia would be fun! Starting with "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe"

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) by Philip Pullman
"The Golden Compass" is an exciting story too!

If you're looping second up with third the last two recommendations may be a bit above level or scary. Lynne Reid Bank's stories would definitely work.

message 19: by April Ann (new)

April Ann (Bloomer) Just thought of some more, what about Beverley Cleary? ie Ramona.

message 20: by April Ann (new)

April Ann (Bloomer) Abigail the same could be said about such works as "Uncle Tom's Cabin".... which I don't think should be banned either, nor any other book for that matter. It pains me to see a book cover with a red crossmark across it.

If there is any criticism about a book the teacher could bring up the topics in class to further educate. My children loved the series and they are in no way shape or form racist.

message 21: by April Ann (last edited Dec 31, 2008 06:02PM) (new)

April Ann (Bloomer) Abigail I wasn't directing my comment at you. It was the website that had the red crossmark on it. It saddens me to see that, that's all.

Anyone could, at any given time, find "something" they don't approve of regarding content. Part of what I tell my children is "remember, you are reading fiction". The story is coming from someone's imagination and there are some things you may not agree with or enjoy.

message 22: by April Ann (last edited Dec 31, 2008 11:16AM) (new)

April Ann (Bloomer) Abigail I live in Cherokee County Georgiaa....Trail of Tears etc... a lot of my Library Patrons are of Cherokee Indian descent. I will definitely pass along that link(Oyate). :)

I just noticed that "Little House on the Prairie" is on their "books to avoid" list too. I actually skipped over some parts of that book when I was reading it aloud to my 6-year-old daughter because I though the content was misleading (regarding native americans).

message 23: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen I remember that my third-grade teacher read Roald Dahl's The Witches to us. Pretty much anything by Roald Dahl would be good, I think.

message 24: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Jan 28, 2009 08:04AM) (new)

Kathryn | 3343 comments Mod
It's recommended for K-3, but I loved Skippyjon Jones and it has some Spanish flare and really fun word-play. It won the EB White Read-Aloud Award. But, it's a picture book and not sure you are going for those.

message 25: by April Ann (new)

April Ann (Bloomer) Ditto to Skippyjon Jones!

message 26: by Blair (new)

Blair Christolon One idea is the old classic that I have always liked to read aloud--Butterworth's Enormous Egg. Nate finds a big egg that hatches into a dinosaur. The chapters follow the troubles he encounters trying to take care of it. Public libraries should still have a copy on their shelves and it is available for purchase in paperback.

message 27: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen That's fantastic. What books are on the "avoid" list? I'm curious.

message 28: by April Ann (new)

April Ann (Bloomer) Chandra wrote: "Kelly Jo - I think that's a GREAT idea! I hate to see literature from times past just die and I think it's great when we can talk about both the good and the bad rather than condemn it completely...."

I agree! Books should never be banned. But when sensibilities change it should be explained.

message 29: by Pam (new)

Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee (Pam_T) | 41 comments The Bunnicula books may be a good choice, since they are short and a serie..."

Bunnicula was so funny. It's a great choice. Thanks for reminding me of it.

message 30: by Sheri (new)

Sheri (SheriRad) Hi,
I have retired from teaching after reading 12 years to the third grade classes I taught. I recommend Poppy by Avi, Bunnicula by Howe, Indian in the Cupboard series, Castle in the Attic (author??) and George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl. My kids even liked Kildee House.

message 31: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen I think Castle in the Attic was by Elizabeth Winthrop. Maybe.

message 33: by Barbie (new)

Barbie Also for 3rd grade a good read aloud is Say What? by Margaret Peterson Haddix. She writes dystopian novels for upper elementary, but this one is dead on for 2nd/3rd grade. The parents of 3 kids decide to try something they read about in an article to make their kids pay attention and listen: say something completely different from what you mean. For example, don't run with scissors, if the child is throwing things in the house. The kids figure it out and try to turn the tables on the parents for some pretty hilarious results.

message 34: by Jill (new)

Jill I enjoyed reading 'Say What?' You can read my review on and Jill Pickle's Reviews at
I have written a series called Through the Rug. Books one and two are available and book three should be out this year. These are magical adventures with a grandmother, a ten year old girl and a quirky dog named Domino.
I have read Through the Rug to classes from first grade up to grade five. Kids really bond with the pink and green dog.

message 35: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Sansom My students enjoyed Clementine by Pennypacker. Clementine is similar to, but older, than Junie B. Jones, and a gifted/tale child to boot.

message 36: by Bev (new)

Bev I'm new to this group. I'm a librarian for grades K through 5 at an all girls private school. I always struggle finding good material for this age group (2nd-3rd) because most of my girls read above grade level, yet are not quite ready for some of the more mature novels my 4th and 5th graders enjoy. I have had great luck with a little gem of a book called

Pleasing the Ghost by Sharon Creech,

so I read it to 3rd graders every year. There's a fairly new title that I, myself, enjoyed immensely, called

Up and Down the Scratchy Mountain by Laurel Snyder.

Also, our 3rd grade teachers have had great success with these titles:

The Birchbark House by Louise Eldrich
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Another suggestion is:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians) Series by Rick Riordan

These books have been extremely popular with BOTH boys (like my 10-year-old son) and girls. They're action-packed and full of humor. The audio versions of these books are great to use, too, because the narrator does a great job with the various characers.

message 37: by Flinkybits (new)

Flinkybits Oooh, thanks for the tips. I think No Talking by Andrew Clements makes a good third grade read aloud. It is very funny and meaningful. A chance to talk about Ghandi.

message 38: by Flinkybits (new)

Flinkybits April Ann wrote: "Abigail I live in Cherokee County Georgiaa....Trail of Tears etc... a lot of my Library Patrons are of Cherokee Indian descent. I will definitely pass along that link(Oyate). :)

I just noticed ..."

Have you read Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell? Is about the Trail of Tears, very moving.

message 39: by Kim (last edited Apr 26, 2009 06:40PM) (new)

Kim My students recently enjoyed Cockroach Cooties by Laurence Yep. There are bullying issues to discuss, as well as a complex brother relationship. Recommended!

message 40: by Flinkybits (new)

Flinkybits Kim wrote: "Hello,

I am looping with my second grade class to third grade so my students have already heard some of my favorite read alouds. This summer I have been working on finding new favorites! I am es..."

I think Kevin Henkes has quite an interesting voice in Bird Lake Moon. Issues of death of a sibling and divorce are highlighted though. I also thought that the book, "Leanin' Dog" by Kathy Nuzum had a very unique character in the cold outdoors that challenges the main character. The plot is a bit slow, but the description and attention to details bring the world of the protagonist to life. And, of course, the dog character will keep the kids interested.

Sometimes new authors have something special to Kathy Nuzum does.


message 41: by Donna-Lee (new)

Donna-Lee | 16 comments My oldest is in third grade. At school he has enjoyed listening to "Charlotte's Web" and "Summer of the Monkeys". At home we are currently reading "When the Sergeant Came Marching Home".

message 42: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 3 comments I'm curious: This age group seems to fall in between (or straddle) the typical publishing categories of "chapter books/easy readers" and "middle grade." Do those of you who are teachers or librarians find this a challenge when finding books to read aloud/recommend?

message 43: by Heather (new)

Heather Frampton | 1 comments I don't know if anyone has said it yet but I read Goblins in the Castle by Bruce Coville every year and my students LOVE it! I try to do special voices for Igor and the goblins and I bop them on the head with a teddy bear when it says so in the book. They really love the interaction but also the story is very exciting and funny!

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Books mentioned in this topic

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (other topics)
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles (other topics)
The BFG (other topics)
The Cay (other topics)
The Mystery of the Cupboard (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Elizabeth Winthrop (other topics)