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Is there anything like Lightning Lit but for upper elementary? Also, what books are you having your 5-6 graders read?

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I'm still working on my rising 5th graders list...and much depends on how much we finish before the fall gets here. I can share what I think we may read...lol:)


"Rip Van Winkle" and "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by W. Irving

The Arabian Nights Entertainment by Andrew Lang

Robin Hood by Roger L. Green

The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin

At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald (and his Complete Fairy Tales and maybe The Princess and the Curdie...she's read The Princess and the Goblin)

Faerie Gold: Treasures From the Land of Enchantment by Hunsicker and Lindskoog

Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff

Complete Tales From Shakespeare C. & M. Lamb

The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Treasure Island by Robert L. Stevenson

The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff

Watership Down by Richard Adams



I can't decide which poets we'll study this year.


She's a big reader and likes to have a few challenging books to read with me. I have these so far...


Ivanhoe by Scott

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

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What elements are you looking for? As far as I remember, LL contains reading (mostly just 'read the next chapter and answer these comprehension questions'), analysis of the structure of works, some work on prosody, fun quizzes and writing topics.


Calvin was well prepared for these things by using Galore Park English. We were using that in 5th grade, then for sixth grade did Galore Park plus the first half of Lightning Literature 7. Seventh grade was Galore Park plus the second half of LL7. In eighth grade, we used Galore Park plus a variety of individual text studies (I remember a fascinating investigation of The Merchant of Venice using various study guides).


Obviously, it depends on reading level, but this was a pattern that worked very well for us and that I was planning on repeating for Hobbes.



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... I was hoping to do a mix of books/lit guides, etc.... any other ideas?



You might like some of the individual guides by Garlic Press Publishers (Discovering Literature series); these are perfect for grade 5-7 (see table of contents and sample pages at Rainbow Resource) -- an advanced 5th grader could probably handle any of these:


5th grade

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Where the Red Fern Grows

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH


6th grade

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Bridge to Terebithia

The Hobbit (challenger level)

Redwall (challenger level)


7th grade

The Outsiders


I would wait on some of Discovering Literature: Challenger series, which is designed for gr. 8-12. (The titles include The Giver, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Odyssey)


KFamily has a *great* list in her post above -- BUT... I would say all of that list is geared for the average *7th grader*. If you have an advanced 5th grader, then that list could work. (At least, *my* very average DSs could not have handled or enjoyed that list in 5th grade... but they DID enjoy a lot of those books in grades 7-8, and could "dig deep" into them.)


Here are some ideas with FREE guides from Glencoe Literature Library that would be great for 5th grade:

- Across Five Aprils

- I, Juan de Pareja

- Island of the Blue Dolphins

- Johnny Tremain

- Number the Stars

- Shiloh

- Sounder

- Where the Red Fern Grows

- The Witch of Blackbird Pond

- A Wrinkle in Time



While I have only used the *high school* level guides (some are better than others), if you don't mind Christian guides, you could check out the Progeny Press guides for 5th-8th grade; here are some of the titles especially good for 5th grade (see table of contents and sample pages at Rainbow Resource):

- Amos Fortune, Free Man

- Anne of Green Gables

- The Cay

- The Golden Goblet

- Holes

- The Secret Garden

- The Swiss Family Robinson

- a guide for each of the 7 Narnia Chronicles books




And a few books that our DSs LOVED in 5th grade:

- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Aiken)

- From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Konigsburg)

- Half Magic, Magic By the Lake, Knight's Castle (good pairing with Ivanhoe and a Robin Hood work!), The Time Garden, Seven Day Magic (Eager) -- great vocabulary and referencing of other works

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These are the read-alouds I've done with my 5th grader this year. She has also read a whole slew of books, about half pleasure reading (her choice) and about half related to history - early modern period.


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Alice in Wonderland

Through the Looking Glass

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Sign of the Four

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Rip Van Winkle & The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Huckleberry Finn

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County & The Million Pound Bank Note

Little Women

The Little House series


For 6th grade, in addition to a bunch of historical ficition, I want to have her read some more "classic" works on her own, weaning away from read-alouds (we'll still read aloud every night, but I'm trying to ramp up the independent reading expectation & difficulty level). I'm still working on our list, and re- or pre-reading everything (some have already been bumped ahead), but so far I'm thinking:


The Time Machine – H. G. Wells (1895)

Voyage to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne

The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells (1898)

The Tripods Trilogy – John Christopher

The White Mountains

The City of Gold and Lead

The Pool of Fire


Animal Farm – George Orwell

Anthem – Ayn Rand

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

The Giver – Lois Lowry

The Autobiography of Malcolm X


And maybe Watership Down, The Prince and the Pauper, and The Three Musketeers?


Feedback welcome! ;)

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These are some books I have on my list for 6th/8th next year. We are studying American history, so our lit reflects that somewhat.


The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Johnny Tremain

The Call of the Wild

Out of the Dust

The Hiding Place

The Giver


I'm thinking of using Total Language Plus guides. They will be reading more books, but this list is what I'm looking at for actual formal study.

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