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I get asked all the time what texts are perfect for each reading level. Here you will find a LARGE list of text suggestions for grades 3rd and 4th.
LEVEL M FICTION
Chicken Sunday by Patrica Polacco
Chicken Sunday is a story filled with family values where a young Jewish Russian girl and her two African-American neighborhood friends devise a plan to raise money to buy the boys' grandmother a new Easter bonnet. It bridges racial and religious differences in a beautiful tale about building relationships.
Themes: Diversity, sacrifice, misunderstanding, and compassion
Alexandar, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
In the story, Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, Alexander receives a dollar from his grandparents that he plans to save, but he spends it all, a little at a time. This story is a great way to introduce and practice financial literacy skills.
Themes: Responsibilities, value of money, and control of impulses
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town—except for its weather which came three times a day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Life was delicious for the townspeople before the weather took a turn for the worst.
Themes: Human and weather interactions, safety and security
Judy Moody Series by Megan McDonald (Chapter Books)
Judy Moody doesn't have high hopes for third grade. But she does have an abundance of individuality and attitude.
Themes: Individuality, feelings, friends, and family
The Beast in Ms. Rooney’s Room by Patricia Reilly Giff
Richard “Beast” Best is a struggling reader who is worried about being teased. He might have to repeat the same teacher and take a special reading class with “babies” like Emily Arrow and Matthew Jackson. Richard also can keep out of trouble. Luckily, he is placed in Mrs. Paris reading class who shows Richard that reading can be fun!
Themes: Friendship, self-reliance, and self-esteem
LEVEL M INFORMATIONAL
Teeny Tiny Animals by Lexi Ryals
This adorable book about tiny animals is the cutest thing you’ve read all year. There are all sorts of itty bitty animals out there: dogs, pigs, frogs, lizards, and more! Each one is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand and cute enough to melt your heart.
The Picture History of Great Inventors by Gillian Clements
Follow the lives and work of over 50 major innovators as you set off on a journey from the earliest inventions in recorded history to the most recent developments in science and technology.
Saving Money by Dana Meachen Rau
A perfect book to pair with Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday, Saving Money focuses on the exploration of the history of coins, money, and finance. Dana Meachen Rau gives sound advice for safe and responsible handling of money.
Giant Bulldozers by Jim Mesanotte
Giant Bulldozers presents information on massive industrial bulldozers, illustrated with photographs of different models towering over people and landscapes.
Ellis Island by Frances E. Ruffin
France E. Ruffin provides readers with many engaging text features such as maps and charts to increase understanding of Ellis Island.
LEVEL N FICTION
Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit by Paula Danziger (Chapter Book Series)
No matter what Amber does, it isn’t enough. She straightens up her room, sort of. She does her homework, well, most of it. And she agrees to meet Max, her mother’s new boyfriend, but she doesn’t agree to like him. Amber continues to fall short, and now she is in deep trouble. All she wants is a little extra credit. She really tries … But how will she succeed?
Themes: Family relationships, divorce, seperate homes
The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Can you ever have too much of your favorite food? John Midas is about to find out! This unique twist on the legend of King Midas, John acquires a magical gift that turns his lips touch into chocolate!
Themes: Greed, consequences
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
My Father’s Dragon tells the story of when a young Elmer traveled to Wild Island to save a dragon hatchling. Elmer uses his creativity and quick thinking to complete his rescue mission.
Themes: Bravery, imagination
My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
“For María Isabel Salazar López, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn't call her by her real name. “We already have two Marías in this class,” says her teacher. “Why don't we call you Mary instead?” But María Isabel has been named for her Papá's mother and for Chabela, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother. Can she find a way to make her teacher see that if she loses her name, she's lost the most important part of herself?”-Amazon
Themes: Racism, oppression, importance of names
The Talent Show from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
Mrs. Green says everyone must perform in the talent show for exactly one minute in front of the whole school and their parents! Even though a talent show from the Black Lagoon would give any kid stage fright, with a little luck this performance might turn out to be fun!
LEVEL N INFORMATIONAL
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln by Jean Fritz
A true story about a great man and his speech.
George vs George: The American Revolution as Seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer
There are two sides to every story. Follow along to learn about George Washington, the man who freed American colonies from the British, and George III, the British king who lost them.
Basketball’s Greatest Players by S. A. Kramer
Basketball’s Great Players offers tons of facts about the best players in the game, what they are known for, and how they got their start.
Dancing with Manatees by Faith McNulty
Examines the physical characteristics, behavior, and evolution of this gentle creature.
Mercury by Margaret J. Goldstein
The perfect book to add to your planet unit! An introduction to Mercury, describing its place in the solar system, its physical characteristics, its movement in space, and other facts about this planet.
LEVEL O FICTION
Class Clown by Johannah Hurwitz
Lucas Cott, the loudest boy in the third grade, struggles to change his ways when he decides to become the perfect student
Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl
Dirty Beasts is a collection of poems about mischievous and mysterious animals. Roald Dahl wrote themes of animals and ‘beasts' – ranging from a giant toad and snail to a monster living in a boy's tummy.
Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
Henry has a strong bond with his dog Ribsy, even if he is a trouble-maker. So when Henry asks his dad if he can go along on the big fishing trip, Mr. Huggins agrees, but on one condition: Henry must keep Ribsy out of trouble. Can Henry keep his promise?
Themes: Friendship, responsibility
Ramona Quimby Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
Although Ramona likes being counted on, she is starting to realize that getting older means more responsibilities. Mrs. Quimby is heading back to work so Mr. Quimby can return to school leaving Ramona with Mrs. Kemp. Ramona has to be brave enough to ride the school bus by herself. Oh, and Danny the Yard Ape won’t stop teasing her!
Themes: Try your best, face your fears, be yourself
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
Taking place during the Great Depression, Turtle is sent off to Key West, Florida to live with relatives she’s never met. Will the Florida sunshine bring Turtle out of her shell that she has spent her whole life building?
Themes: Love, loss, family, hopes, dreams
LEVEL O INFORMATIONAL
Armies of Ants by Walter Retan
Describes the physical characteristics, behavior, and habits of ants and discusses their ecological importance
Ugly Cute Animals by Gilda Berger
From bulldogs to sloths, lemurs to hippos, there are ugly cute animals all across the animal kingdom. Ugle Cute Animals features large full-color photos with fun facts about each creature. Readers will get a kick out of silly creatures and the trendy phrase “ugly cute.”
Penguins by Jill Esbaum
In Explore My World Penguins, readers will learn about the delightful world of penguins: the extreme lengths they go to to care for their young and the relationship between baby penguins and their parents.
Everything Birds of Prey by Blake Hoena
From eagles to falcons and talons to beaks, Everything Birds of Prey introduces readers to the world's most ferocious fliers.
Animal Senses by Pamela Hickman
Animal Senses reveals the extraordinary ways animals sense their environment. Easy-to-do experiments and activities show kids how to compare animal senses to their own.
LEVEL P FICTION
Circle of Gold by Candy Dawson Boyd
The death of Mattie's father throws her entire family into hard times. As Mother's Day approaches, Mattie becomes determined to buy her mother a gold pin.
Themes: Dealing with loss
Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting
A homeless boy who lives in an airport with his father, moving from terminal to terminal trying not to be noticed, is given hope when a trapped bird finally finds its freedom.
Themes: Family, working through hard times
Adventures of three boys–Joe, Sam, and Fred–who travel through time and space with the aid of a mysterious object known as “The Book”.
Themes: Adventure, friendship
Otis by Ellen Miles
“Someone has left Otis, an adorable tabby, all alone at the local community center. When Michael and Mia hear about the abandoned kitty, they volunteer to help. Otis is wary of strangers and scared of loud noises. His sad yowls keep the family up all night! Michael knows not just any owner will love this tentative tabby. Can he find Otis a forever home?”-Amazon
Themes: Pets, responsibility, solving problems
The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body by Joanna Cole
Frizzle and her class are on the Magic School Bus headed for a museum. They have been studying how the body turns food into energy, and now they are going to see an exhibit on the human body. Things seem fine until they stop for lunch. A strange mishap causes the bus to shrink and then be swallowed!
LEVEL P INFORMATIONAL
Tut’s Mummy: Lost…and Found by Judy Donnelly
Readers will learn all about Howard Carter’s discovery of the Tomb and learn all about ancient Egyptian life.
One Day in the Desert by Jean Craighead George
Follow along as a wounded mountain lion moves from his mountain habitat to a Papago Indian hut in Arizona’s Sonoran desert during a record-breaking July day.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: Growing up in the Little House by Patricia Reilly Giff
Learn all about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life, the creator behind the Little House books!
If You Lived at the TIme of Martin Luther King by Ellen Levine
This book tells you what it was like during the exciting era when Martin Luther King led the fight against segregation.
The Daring Escape of Ellen Craft by Cathy Moore
“On December 21, 1848, Ellen Craft and her husband, William, slipped out into the cold, dark night and took their first steps towards freedom. They were runaway slaves. Posing as a white man traveling with a slave, Ellen courageously boarded a train bound for Philadelphia. Could they actually make it a thousand miles without being discovered? As each tension-filled day passed and freedom got closer, Ellen and William risked everything – even death – to be free.”–Amazon
Jen & Hannah
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