Book Recommendations for Students Grades 3-5
Submitted by Stephanie Acquadro, Master Tutor
By the third grade, most kids can read books on their own, including the ones
suggested below, but don’t forget, that no matter how old one gets, listening to
someone read or tell a story is still great fun. Take a lead from your child: if he
doesn’t like to read on his own, maybe it’s because his reading skills need more
development. Co-read with him until he gains confidence enough to read on his
own when he wants to.
The BFG by Roald Dahl
No one is ever too old for Roald Dahl, especially for his delightful story of a big,
friendly giant (BFG) who kidnaps an orphan named Sophie after she accidentally
spots him doing his important job of delivering good dreams to children. The
BFG is serious about his work and tender to Sophie. The book’s humor comes
from Dahl’s many jokes and the imaginative language the BFG uses (he calls
people “human beans” and soft drinks “frobscottle”). The delightful illustrations
provided by Dahl’s frequent collaborator, Quentin Blake, add to the book’s
charm. This novel serves as a reminder not to judge a book by its cover and to
always be kind to one another.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
As Opal tells us in this first person-narrated novel, “Just about everything that
happened to me that summer happened because of Winn-Dixie.” “That summer”
is the first summer Opal spends in a small town in Florida where she is being
raised by her father, a preacher in a local church. When she goes to her local
Winn-Dixie supermarket to buy some groceries, Opal brings home more than she
planned. At the store, she meets a dog she fittingly names after where she
encountered him. Winn-Dixie proves to be an invaluable companion for Opal.
Because of the dog’s friendliness, Opal gets to meet many of the residents of her
town and even gains the confidence to ask her father why her mother abandoned
the family when Opal was only three years old. This straightforward story is
heart-warming and teaches a valuable lesson about forgiveness.
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
Although this book is aimed at young readers between the ages of 7 and 10, its
plot is not the only valuable element of it. Included in each chapter are actual
marketing terms and some math lessons. If those details seem off-putting for a
young reader, rest assured, the reader will be more absorbed by the story lots of
kids can identify with. Right before Evan is about to enter the fourth grade, he
finds out that his sister Jessie has skipped a grade and the two will be in the
same class come the fall. A sibling rivalry ensues as each sets up a competing
lemonade stand. What makes the story so stirring and important is what Jessie and Evan find out about what’s really important to them–and it has nothing to do with who sells the most lemonade.