There are hundreds of thousands of books written for children. The challenge is discerning what is best for them to read, given so many options.

Last week I published a reading list for grades 1-3 provided by Calvary Classical School—a classical Christian school in Hampton, VA.

Below is the list for grades 4-5. (And here is the list for grades 6-8. And finally, a printable PDF of all the books in one document.)

For outside reading, the books are divided into three levels. Books with a “+” denote that any title in that series would be acceptable. At times I’ve linked to a box set of paperbacks if available—at other times I’ve just linked to the lead-off book in a series.

I’ve done my best to link to the paperback or cheapest version at Amazon. One interesting thing I’ve discovered in trying to provide these links is how hard it is to find well-done critical editions, rather than self-published efforts that take advantage of the text being in the public domain in order to turn a quick buck. A good rule of thumb is to look for the “Puffins Classic” versions, which seem to be well done.

I hope this proves helpful for a lot of parents and teachers!

As time permits, I’ll pull together the final list for the middle school years of grades 6-8.

Fourth Grade Literature List

Read in class or assigned for outside reading:

Blackwood, Gary. The Shakespeare Stealer
Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
D’Aulaire, Ingri & Edgar. Leif the Lucky
Daugherty, James. The Magna Charta
de Angeli, Marguerite. The Door in the Wall
Du Bois, William Pene. Twenty-one Balloons
Estes, Eleanor. Ginger Pye
Henry, Marguerite. King of the Wind
Green, Roger Lancelyn. King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table
Konigsburg, E. L. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basel E. Frankweiler
Lewis, C. S. Prince Caspian
Norton, Mary. The Borrowers
Prum, Deborah M. Rats, Bulls, and Flying Machines
Rebsamen, Frederick. Beowulf
Sis, Peter. Starry Messenger: Galileo
Stanley, Diane and Peter Vennema. Bard of Avon
Stanley, Diane. Joan of Arc
Vernon, Louise A. Thunderstorm in the Church
White, E. B. The Trumpet of the Swan

Level 1
Alexander, Lloyd. The Book of Three +
Armstrong, William. Sounder
Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting
Burnett, Frances H. A Little Princess
Carlson, Natalie. The Family Under the Bridge
Estes, Eleanor. The Hundred Dresses
Knight, Eric. Lassie Come-Home
L’Engle, Madeliene. A Wrinkle in Time +
Lenski, Lois. Prairie School +
Lenski, Lois. Strawberry Girl
Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars
McSwigan, Marie. Snow Treasure
Seredy, Kate. The Good Master
Speare, Elizabeth. The Sign of the Beaver
Taylor, Sydney. All-of-A-Kind Family
Thurber, James. Many Moons
Verne, Jules. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Wilson, N. D. 100 Cupboards +

Level 2
Farley, Walter. The Black Stallion +
Funke, Cornellia. Inkheart +
George, Jean C. My Side of the Mountain
Grahame, Kenneth. The Reluctant Dragon
Hanes, Mari. Two Mighty Rivers
Jacques, Brian. Redwall +
Lofting, Hugh. The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle +
Morey, Walt. Gentle Ben
Peretti, Frank. The Cooper Kids Adventure +
Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief +
Smith, Dodie. The 101 Dalmations
Street, James. Good-bye My Lady
Travers, P. I. Mary Poppins +
Wilson, N. D. Leepike Ridge

Level 3
Adamson, Joy. Born Free
Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women +
Burnford, Sheila. The Incredible Journey
Field, Rachel. Calico Bush
Lawson, Robert. Ben and Me
Robertson, Keith. Henry Reed, Inc. +
Robinson, Barbara. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty
Sidney, Margaret. Five Little Peppers +

Fifth Grade Literature List

Read in class or assigned for outside reading:

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain
Lathan, Jean. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Lewis, C. S. The Silver Chair
Lewis, C. S. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Speare, Elizabeth. The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels (excerpts)

Level 1
Beatty, Patricia. Turn Homeward, Hannalee
Brink, Carol. Caddie Woodlawn
Byars, Betsy. The Summer of the Swans
Cleary, Beverly. Dear Mr. Henshaw
De Jong, Meindert. The Wheel on the School
Enright, Elizabeth. Thimble Summer
Gates, Doris. Blue Willow
Gipson, Fred. Old Yeller
Hanes Mari. Two Mighty Rivers
O’Brien, Robert. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows
Selden, George. The Cricket in Times Square

Level 2
Cameron, Eleanor. Mushroom Planet +
De Jong, Meindert. The House of Sixty Fathers
George, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves
Montgomery, Lucy. Anne of Green Gables
O’Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphin
Pearce, Philippa. Tom’s Midnight Garden
Porter, Eleanor. Pollyanna +
Rawks, Wilson. Summer of the Monkeys
Spyri, Johanna. Heidi
Wyss, Johann. Swiss Family Robinson

Level 3
Alcott, Louisa. Little Men
Burnett, Frances. Little Lord Fauntleroy
De Jong, Meindert. Journey from Peppermint Street
Dodge, Mary. Hans Brinker
Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows
MacDonald, George. The Princess and Curdie
MacDonald, George. The Princess and the Goblin
North, Sterling. Rascal
Seredy, Kate. The White S?tag
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island
Terhune, Albert. Lad: A Dog
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit
Verne, Jules. Around the World in Eighty Days
Verne, Jules. Journey to the Center of the Earth