Fifth Grade books: Challenging Reading
Provided are books appropriate for fifth-grade students at an advanced reading level.
Reading Level: Grade 6 (Interest Level: Grade 5)
Christian, Mary Blount. Sebastian (Super Sleuth) and the Copycat Crime. Macmillan, 1993, 62 pp. Although a dog, Sebastian is a super sleuth and helps his master, who is a detective, solve crimes. While his master is giving a talk at a conference for detective writers, Sebastian uses his superior reasoning and smelling abilities to solve the mystery of the stolen manuscripts. Part of Sebastian (Super Sleuth) series. Reinforces comprehension: provides opportunities for making inferences and predictions.
Hall, Elizabeth. Child of the Wolves. Houghton Mifflin, 1996, 160 pp. Bred to be a sled dog, Granite, a Siberian husky, escapes from the kennel, and is raised by Snowdrift, a mother wolf, whose pups have been killed. Because he is slower and less skilled at hunting, Granite is treated as an inferior at first, but later is accepted as a full-fledged member of the pack.
Issacs, Anne. Treehouse Tales. Dutton, 1997, 85 pp. A treehouse plays a role in the lives of three siblings growing up in the 1880s. Believing the treehouse is on fire, Tom douses it with water, but finds that he has extinguished the pipe that the hired hand was smoking. From the treehouse, Emily spots a robber who has come to burglarize her family's house while everyone but Emily is in town. As a way of getting attention from his father, Natty chops down a tall maple, which falls the wrong way and lands on the tree house. Provides history tie-in: life in the 1880s.
Lewis, C. S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. HarperCollins, 1950, 189 pp. Four English schoolchildren discover that the back of an old wardrobe is the entrance to a magical land known as Narnia. While in Narnia they help AsIan, the Great Lion, defeat the White Witch, who has cast a spell over Narnia so that it is always winter, but Christmas never comes. Part of Narnia series.
Wallace, Barbara Brooks. The Twin in the Tavern. Aladdin, 1993, 177 pp. Raised by an aunt and uncle after his parents supposedly perished in a train accident, Tadd learns that he has a twin somewhere and that if his true identity is discovered, he may be in mortal danger. After his aunt and uncle die, thieves kidnap him and force him to work as a delivery boy and a servant. His work as a servant leads to the discovery of his true identity.
Weitzman, David. Old Ironsides: Americans Build a Fighting Ship. Houghton Mifflin, 1997, 32 pp. Through the eyes of the son of one of the ship's carpenters, the reader learns in this fictionalized account, how the Constitution, nicknamed "Old Ironsides" was built, from the cutting of timbers for the ship to its launching on October 21, 1797. Provides history tie-in: building of warship Constitution.
Reading Level: Grade 7 (Interest Level: Grade 5)
*Aiken, Joan. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Dell, 1962, 1987, 168 pp. With the help of Simon, who lives in a cave and raises geese, two cousins escape from starving wolves, and later from a prisonlike school where they have been sent by a scheming governess who plans to defraud the Green family of its considerable wealth. Part of Wolves Chronicles series.
*Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden. HarperCollins, 1912, 224 pp. Orphaned at the age of 9 years during a cholera epidemic in India, Mary Lennox was sent to live with a wealthy but melancholy uncle in England. Ignored by her uncle who had never recovered from his wife's death, Mary Lennox discovered a secret garden. The discovery changed her from a sallow, spoiled child to a spirited, independent girl. With the help of the magic of the garden and one of the servants' children, she initiated the miraculous transformation of her sickly, tyrannical cousin into a healthy boy.
Kipling, Rudyard. Just So Stories. New American Library, 1912, 158 pp. Includes 12 imaginative tales explaining how the elephant got its trunk, how the camel got its humps, how the leopard got its spots, how the rhinoceros got its skin, how the alphabet was created, why the cat walks by itself, and similar stories. Provides possible writing topic: students could write their own just-so stories.
Sobol, Donald J. Still More Two-Minute Mysteries. Scholastic, 1975, 126 pp. The reader is presented with brief descriptions of a series of 63 crimes and is invited to figure out how the famous detective Dr. Haledjian solves them.
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