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Books/Literature for 5th and 1st grader


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Hi ~ I am looking for a list of good books/literature that my 5th and 1st grader can read on their own. I think I might purchase TLP guides to go with them. I used to have a list of websites that listed good quality books, but my old computer crashed leaving me with nada. I plan to read aloud biographies, classics (Tom Sawyer, Swiss Family Robinson), poetry to both. My 1st grader is advanced in reading so maybe something on a 2nd grade level?? Any reccomendations/websites would be greatly appreciated!

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My experience and philosophy:


When I was in 5th grade, when everyone else was reading out of the big "reading textbooks" with short stories, poems, and parts of chapter books, Ms. Rosie Ryan's 5th grade Reading Class read actual books. We read


Amos Fortune, Free Man

Tom Sawyer

Island of the Blue Dolphins

The Great Brain

The Upstairs Room


To Be a Slave

Old Yeller

Where the Red Fern Grows

Tuck Everlasting

The White Mountains

My Side of the Mountain

and probably a couple of more I can't recall.


Aloud, she read Summer of the Monkeys, The Westing Game, the Great Gilly Hopkins, Superfudge, Caddie Woodlawn, and Bridge to Terebithia to us. We read sooooo much great lit that year. I did not love all of the books we read, but I was happy we had read them. I was challenged by the history and new worlds we learned about.


Within that one year, we were given the shared experience of knowing the characters and plots of these well-loved stories. It wasn't until I was an adult perusing the Newberry Award poster in the library that realized the great gift Ms. Ryan had given to us by making us "well read."


I want to give that to my children, so they will not only know how to read, but will be able to say, "Oh, yes, that is the book about the ________! I like/didn't like it because ___________."




For 1st grade:

We're planning to read as many of the Caldecott winners (and Honor books) as we can starting this year. There are lists of these online that you can print off and check them off as you read them. Dd5 will pick the ones she wants to read, and off we'll go!!! This is easy because our library had big colorful posters displayed of the Caldecott, Goldfinch, and King awards for this year and the past.


We have already read/analyzed a few via a 1p sheet I wrote up (title, author, copyright, publisher, setting, characters, plot, I liked/did not like this book because....). dd5 has already started looking through the stacks at the library for books with the gold or silver Caldecott seal on the front.


Disclaimer: Because Caldecott is so old, some of the very early books have a less politically correct view of the world.


Other lists to read from are:

The Goldfinch Award -- has only been around since 2008 or so; Iowa children vote their favorite books; for age K-2

Theodore Seuss Geisel Award -- best books for beginning readers

C.Scott King Illustrator or Author Awards -- best books that express the African American experience through words or pictures

Sibert Award -- best informational books


FTR -- Caldecott is NOT awarded for the book but for the illustrator! I didn't know that until just a few years ago!!!




For 5th grade:

We will be reading as many of the Newberry Award winners as we can. As with the writing above, I am open to books from other award lists, too.


Disclaimer: some Newberry Award books may be inappropriate for children as young as 5th grade. If you are unsure, get the advice or direction of a trusted librarian.


Other Lists to read from are:

Iowa Children's Choice -- the older brother to the Goldfinch Award; Iowa school children vote on these books; for grades 3-6

Printz Award -- for age 12-18....so some books may be too mature for a 5th grader

Oprah even has a list of books for 10-12yos to read!




By high school, I hope that we will transition to "classics." How do I define a classic? Probably just about anything that is on the Cliffs Notes list. Plus two Shakespeare plays a year.

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Thank you so much! I have a couple Newberry books that I want my son to read this year. I looked on the TLP website and found some workbooks to go with it. While I don't want him sitting and doing everything in the workbook, it helps me to plan his spelling, vocab, comprehension questions, etc.


I like your idea on 2nd grade readers...have to look into it more!

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Thank you again! I am super excited to pick out books with my boys. My oldest was a non-reader last year (our first year HSing) and now over the summer will pick a book to read over other things - HIGH FIVE! It is still a work in progress, but I couldn't be happier! My youngest is an avid reader and will read whenever!!

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