Third Grade Summer Reading
Summer reading is a great way to get your child interested in books, on his or her own terms. For the best books for third grade summer reading, we turned to the nation’s finest independent bookstores to get their favorites, from classics to new releases, swashbuckling adventures to the just plain fun, silly or sweet. Here are their recommendations for a summertime full of fantastic books:
Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer
Greta loves the fog and senses something magical about it, which leads her on a time-traveling adventure. This book is a classic, and its blend of reality and magic make it a great introduction to fantasy. Recommended by Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO. Where to buy.
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
A group of children decide they should be orphans, as in so many classic tales, while the parents have ideas of their own based on Hansel and Gretel. This is a hilarious homage to so many classic tales. Recommended by Powell’s Books, Portland, OR. Where to buy.
Barnstormers Game 3: Three Kids, a Villain, and Great Balls of Fire by Phil Bildner and Loren Long
Griffith, Ruby and their mother continue to travel with the Travelin’ Nine baseball team. Chicago is the setting for game three and for a confrontation with the evil Chancellor who seeks possession of the siblings’ magic baseball. Recommended by Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, IA. Where to buy.
Polkabats & Octopus Slacks by Calef Brown
These 14 poems may just be the funniest you've ever read. If it's off-the-wall slapstick and silly pictures that get you giggling, then try these! Recommended by 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL. Where to buy.
The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
An ordinary princess runs away from home to experience everyday life, and learns a lot about herself in the process. Recommended by Linden Tree Children’s Recordings and Books, Los Altos, CA. Where to buy.
The Dragon Slayers Academy (series) by Kate McMullen
Laugh out loud funny, these books are perfect for boys who like to laugh. Every dragon has its weakness; the dragon hunter just needs to discover the secret. Wiglaf and Eric (Erica in disguise) discover that their dragon’s Achilles Heel is Knock-knock jokes.Very silly, funny, and adventurous, this series is a great find. Recommended by Kepler’s Bookstore, Menlo Park, CA. Where to buy.
Want to see more from Education.com’s book list? Here’s a collection of our favorite books for third grade:
Ramona tries to be good, but the prospect of pulling Susan’s boing-boing curls proves a little too hard to resist. Introduce kids to the series star Ramona, and you’ll be introducing them to a friend for life! (Readers who want a more contemporary protagonist will fall in love with Clementine by Sara Pennypacker).
Frindle by Andrew Clements (Aladdin, 1998)
A boy invents a new word and makes an adversary of his dictionary-devout teacher. Could it be that teachers are real people, too? This author is a master of stories set at school, with conflicts that kids will readily recognize.
The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Willliams (Kingfisher, 2005)
A toy ventures out into the wide world to seek his fortune and to help the man who made him. This book is a sleeper that keeps listeners wide awake; I have shared it out loud with over a hundred children, and it never failed to delight.
Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Harcourt Trade Publishers, 2003)
Though their crops may have withered, a seed was germinating in young Cesar Chavez, a child of migrants who would grow up to lead a 300-mile march for worker’s rights. This is an extremely powerful book that underscores the bravery and resolve it takes to engage in non-violent protest, and rightly puts Chavez on the same scaffolding as Martin Luther King as a champion of peace. Picture-book biographies like this one are a great way to get kids to find mentors outside of their own communities and experiences!
Molly Moons Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng (Harper Collins Canada, 2004)
Every page flows over with absolutely fascinating fecal facts, from the double-dose of digesting power that pellets afford to rabbits or the tell-tale dumps of sloths, otters and hippos that speak (or stink) louder than words. Overall, a remarkably engaging and informative science book that rises far above its genre's foul beginnings, and will make a novice scientist out of your favorite fart-joke-teller (you know you have one). I love this book so much, I keep a copy in my own bathroom.
A Pizza the Size of the Sun by Jack Prelutsky
Got a kid who claims to hate poetry? Sic this collection on her, and try to suppress your smile as she devours the thing. From Improbable Emporiums stocked with fur umbrellas and hippo dental floss, to pizzas that take a year and a half to bake, this book is chock-full of fun-loving absurdity. A wonderful choice for reading aloud, or for reading alone, Prelutsky will remind you of an old friend, Shel Silverstein. James Stevenson's playful illustrations make this book even more winning.
Half Magic by Edward Eager
In this charming and classic story, four siblings are set to spend a hot, boring summer in the care of a babysitter, when they come upon a coin on the sidewalk. They soon realize that the coin has special powers, but in the classic tradition of wish fulfillment gone awry, it only does half the magic the children wish for. As can be expected, a series of strange and hilarious adventures ensues, and the children learn about thinking ahead to envision the consequences of their wayward wishes. What sets this book apart, however, is its pitch-perfect storytelling which draws readers in and keeps them guessing until the very last page.
Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka
When Joe gets a magic book from his uncle, he and his friends find themselves transported to King Arthur's court. This book combines short chapters, simple language, and illustrations to make it a great pick for reluctant readers
Big Cats by Elaine Landau
This absorbing books tells readers all about panthers, ocelots, cheetahs, and more, and what they do when they sun goes down. A must-have for lovers of cats and of nature.
Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osborne.
Illustrated by Sal Murdocca A pick from the popular Magic Treehouse series, this books has Jack and Annie going back in time to consult Leonardo da Vinci. Will he be able to help them save Merlin?
The Richest Poor Kid by Carl Sommer and Jorge Martinez
When Randy is granted the Midas touch after wishing his old possessions were shiny like his neighbor’s, he learns that a touch of gold is too good to be true. When he turns his dog into a lifeless gold statue, randy realizes that there are a lot of things more important than money.
Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce.
The British critic John Rowe Townsend considers this the greatest British novel written since World War II. But of the 100 Best Books for Children, this is the one book that the most people are unfamiliar with. This is a great read-aloud family book. And for adults, it remains one of those rare children's books that can be read in every decade of life with a deeper understanding and appreciation.
One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway. Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
The simple plot line, which shows how one small event can have big results, is given a visual boost by colorful and vivacious full page illustrations which blend West African scenes and patterns with whimsical additions. Based on the true story of Kwabena Darko, the story follows Kojo a small boy with a small idea who makes a huge difference for not only himself, but an entire community. An added plus is the introduction of the concept of micro loans.
Judy Moody (series) by Megan Mcdonald and Peter H. Reynolds
Judy Moody is a third-grader with a state of mind for every occasion. And whether she's feeling mad or medical, famous or independent, clairvoyant or environmentally conscious, she always finds a way to make her moods work for the better. The best part? Judy's playful take on language, friends, family, and school subjects always has something to teach.
Looking for fun and educational third grade reading activities?
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