10 Great Books for Elementary Students

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Elementary Students should be encouraged to read for pleasure. Building reading skills is not drudgery when the books are excellent stories or poetry.

Young Readers (Grades 2-4)

The Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel is a collection children will want to read for themselves. Simple language is combined with truly interesting stories about a pair of friends.

Amelia Bedelia books are another favorite of generations of children. This housekeeper tends to take words quite literally and ends up in some amusing situations as a result. Peggy Parish is the talented author of these clever stories.

Grade 3 and Up

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry is a story about the wild horses of the islands off Virginia’s coast. Horse lovers will find hours of joy in Henry’s many books, including the Misty series.

The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz is a historical novel about a girl coping with loneliness as her family moves to western Pennsylvania in colonial times.

Grades 4 and Up

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling answer questions such as “how the camel got its hump.” Kids who enjoy Kipling as children may go on to read his longer works as teens and adults.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo is a story for all ages about a girl with a preacher father, a runaway mother, and a collection of interesting neighbors—including a stray dog she names Winn-Dixie after finding him at the grocery store of that name.

Old Yeller is a dog story worthy of a good cry. Fred Gipson wrote this coming-of-age tale about a frontier family in Texas and the dog who touches their lives.

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink is another pioneer story. Caddie helps fix a misunderstanding between her community and the neighboring Native Americans. She and her family grow in many ways over the course of this award-winning story.

Enjoy as a Family

The Prince and the Pauper by the inimitable Mark Twain is a story for all ages. Try reading this together as a family—out loud. There is humor, astute observations about human behavior, and absurd situations that only Twain could make believable.

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson is an introduction to poetry that is not too stuffy or highbrow. Ask kids to read a poem a day to develop their ear for verse. When they study poetry in school later, it will seem like a familiar friend.

There is no shortage of great books for this age group, so start here and expand with help from a local librarian or bookstore clerk.


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