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happysmileylady

Books every X grader should read...

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I took my kids to the library today and gave them the run of the library.  And, most of the books chosen were WAY below reading level and were barely examined before tossing them in the bag and running to play with the *stuff* at the library.

Now, I don't have a problem with my kids choosing whatever they want to read, even if it's below grade level.  BUT......I think I need to start ALSO assigning some books as well.  We have worked hard to get everyone to a point where they can read at or nearly at grade level, and worked hard to get to a point where reading is not a punishment but something that can actually be fun.  I feel like we are at a point where I can "assign" a book and my kids wouldn't choose to clean the bathroom instead of reading a book lol.

 

I can come up with all sorts of books that I think they should read, that I remember reading and loving as a kid, etc etc.  But, I know my kids tastes are not quite the same as mine and what they might enjoy is very different.  So, what I am looking for is various lists of books that "every X grader should read."  Like "20 books every 1st grader should read." or "50 books every 6th grader should read" or whatever.  Not because I want to assign every book on those lists, but mostly because I want some lists of good books, that might include books that I am not aware of, that I can go over, see what works for my kids, and potentially order from the library because the library selection here is spread far and wide across many branches. If I am not planning ahead for some books, we won't find them on library day.

 

SO, hit me with your lists or links to lists.  I want to be real clear that I am not looking for specific books to assign to my kids, just lists of idea so that I can plan ahead, make selections, get ideas for things I didn't know existed, etc etc.  

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I've been using this one from NPR with my 10yo. It is a wide enough age range to last us a while, since she has other reading for history and book club that often fill the not-fluff slot. 

In previous years I've also looked at the Mensa lists.

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A friend of mine recently told me how she assigns books, and I thought it was brilliant and hope to do similar for future children (too late for oldest) so I thought I'd share. 

She combs things like Honey for a Child/Teens heart, CM lists, WTM lists, 1000 good books, Newberry winners, Caldecott winners, Booker-Mann, you name it (she has a lot of kids and big age spread, and was a librarian in a past life). She then takes images of the covers and puts them on a sheet for each child and they have to read X number of those books through the year- she knows her kids well obviously, so is good at aiming toward their taste and abilities. What they read of the list though is up to them. They just need to read so many of them. This give the kids a choice of what they read- it's really individualized- and yet it covers that assigned/push above your leisure reading level to stretch them. She gives them quite a varied selection. There might be Shakespeare and also a modern, published in 2019 novel on there.

I loved the idea when she told me. It's just a lot different than how I've done reading with my oldest where it was always a class with a preset list- be it SL, or GB or whatever, where here is what you read and in what year you read it without a lot of choice. My dd has read some great stuff, but her reading for school is pretty heavy which has cut down on leisure reading, so Friend's approach has given me some pause on how I will change things up for the future. She put the individualization back into homeschooling for me on this idea and also isn't just sunk into a genre or period all year which is typically how I've approached things.

Oh, and if they read ALL of the books on the sheet in the school year they get a big bonus award specific for that kid/teen. 

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I never felt the need to assign books for my dc to read. We went to the library weekly and they could check out as many books as they wanted or none at all. I read aloud to them from the books I thought they should experience and left the rest to their own interests.

The top three on my list are The Chestry Oak, The Little White Horse, and Understood Betsy. I read each one to each child at some point (I usually wait until they're older for The Chestry Oak).

Here's a list that might help you: The Classical Christian Education 1000 Good Books List.

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I have this problem too. The kids just seem to grab stuff off the shelf randomly. They will even admit that I do a better job picking out books for them than they do themselves! I get lots of great ideas from book lists I find on Pinterest. A lot of them seem to be from a blog called “What do we do all day?” Hope you find some gems!

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This is a link to a very old thread, but it has been very helpful to me in making up booklists:

 

https://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/93913-which-20-books-help-prepare-for-reading-the-great-books/

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Classical Academic Press has something called the Classical Reader, which is just lists of books for general reading levels, though not grade-specific. They are divided up into Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar, and then so on with the classical education divisions. There's a nice mix of old and new. I've decided to just pick from their lists, because one can become overwhelmed with ALL the lists.

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First, I'll start with my most solid recommendation: The Hobbit (possibly a reread) and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy at about 13 or 14. If they can't read it for themselves, it could be a read aloud. I think it is best as a read aloud, actually. Tolkien was an excellent world builder, and Middle Earth is a rich, deep setting. The books are chock full of what Tapestry of Grace calls experiments in living. There is so much to think about. So much to talk about. So many heroes to look up to. So many villains to despise. So many times where you can talk about a person's actions, the results, and the moral implications. I really feel the series has made my children better people. We've read it aloud 3 times now and the kids are eagerly anticipating the next time. I've promised next year. It will be my oldest daughter's last year at home.😭😭😭 Man, I love that child. And we'll be studying the Middle Ages. Good timing.

It is hard to make a list for younger grades because kids learn to read at such different ages. Some early books at the cusp or just after attaining fluency I would say Frog and Toad and at least some Beatrix Potter. A little beyond that I would say Boxcar Children and then a little further along The Chronicles of Narnia. There are many others that I would recommend for those levels, of course, but that would be my starting point.

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