Saturday, May 31, 2014

Great Summer Read-Alouds for 1st - 8th Graders

One of the things I appreciate most about summer is my ability to spend more time reading aloud to my kids. Generally, I read to my entire crew (ages 7-14) together, but occasionally, just to one or two at a time. Even though all of my kids can read, and my oldest ones read voraciously, we still enjoy the time that we read together and the ability to discuss a book that we all share. I'm a firm believer in reading aloud even to, especially to, older children as well. People often ask me if my older kids are ever resistant to listening to me read aloud. They truly are not. Partly because it has always been part of our routine, and partly because I don't generally require that they ONLY be listening to me. During the summer in particular, they are often otherwise engaged while I read, with Lego building, puzzle piecing, drawing, sometimes even laundry folding.

The books listed below are group by grade, but many of the titles can be adjusted up or down a grade, or two. In fact, my 7th and 8th graders still enjoy listening to Moomin books, and my 1st grader loved Wonder last summer when we read it aloud. 

1st Grade

Trumpet of the Swan - A joyful read of a Trumpeter swan searching for his sound.
My Father's Dragon - An easy-to-follow tale of a 9 year old boy's endeavors to find a dragon and fly home on its back.
Moominsummer Madness - The Moomins are on the hunt for a new house following a flood, but once they find one, they discover they've found more than they bargained for.
Ramona the Pest - Energetic Ramona Quimby starts kindergarten with all the adversity and pleasure that entails.

2nd Grade

Pippi in the South Seas - Pippi's adventures move to a South Pacific island complete with beaches, robbers, and pearls.
Henry Huggins - The boy-next-door finds a mischievous dog; adventures - and calamity - ensue.
Seabird - A sea-faring gull narrates travels at sea, from Nantucket to Greenland.
The Year of Billy Miller - Billy is starting second grade, navigating friendships, and trying to endure his pesky little sister. 

3rd Grade

James and the Giant Peach - James, forced to live with 2 horrible aunts, accidentally drops magic crystals by an old peach tree and then goes on an escapade in the giant peach that results.
Hoot - The new kid at school is forced to take on a pancake restaurant, and bullies, in defense of endangered owls.
Because of Winn Dixie - When an ugly, yet happy, dog arrives, Opal learns 10 things about her long-lost mother, and makes friends who become her family.
The One and Only Ivan - Resigned to his life in a glass cage, a gorilla gains new perspective when a baby elephant taken from the wild is forced to join him.

4th Grade

The Secret Garden - A lonely orphan is sent to an English manor on a moor where she meets two boys who help change her life, each in very different ways.
Where the Red Fern Grows - A boy and his two dogs range the hills and river bottoms, finding both sadness and victory there.
One Crazy Summer - Three Brooklyn girls arrive in California to spend the summer with their mother, where they learn more about their family, and themselves, than they expected.
The Lemonade War - Sibling rivalry by way of lemonade stand: will the biggest personality or financial smarts win the war?

5th Grade

Old Yeller - A simple, but moving, story of a boy and his faithful dog in Texas in the late 1800s.
Island of the Blue Dolphins - An Indian girl lives on an island alone year after year waiting for a ship to rescue her.
Zane and the Hurricane - Zane is visiting his great-grandmother in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina strikes leaving him stranded and trying to survive in a strange, water-logged city.
Three Times Lucky - Mo LoBeau, raised by a cafe-owner Colonel, wishes for her long-lost mother and helps uncover the truth in a local mystery.

6th Grade

My Side of the Mountain - A boy runs away from NYC to live in the Catskills on his grandfather's mountain, learning more about himself than he ever thought possible. 
Wonder - Auggie, born with a cranio-facial abnormality, starts school in NYC with mixed reactions from the students there.
Snicker of Magic - Felicity might be new in Midnight Gulch, but even she can see a glimmer of magic that used to be here. But can she bring the magic back, and will it help her mother?
Sway - Cass's mom takes off and her father takes her on a trip in Roast, an aged RV, introducing her to the power of Sway, a magical force bringing help to those in need.

7th Grade

Hatchet - Brian survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness but must make his way alone with nothing but a ratty jacket and a hatchet to aid him.
Walk Two Moons - A country girl travels from Ohio to Idaho with her unconventional grandparents while spinning the tale of another girl whose past starts to mirror her own.
Half a Chance - A photographer's daughter tries to mimic her father's eye for the camera while getting to know the neighbor boy next door and helping him learn the truth about his grandmother.
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin - Rump lives in a land where your name is your destiny. Will he discover that he has some control over that destiny as well?

8th Grade

A Single Shard - A 13-year-old lives under a bridge in a potter's village desiring nothing more than making a pot of his own.
Tuck Everlasting - The Tuck family carefully guards the source of their eternal life, until a little girl discovers their secret and they must help her understand why it might not be the blessing it seems.
A Tangle of Knots - A magical puzzle waiting to be unknotted, an orphan with a talent for baking doesn't realize that fate has set her on course from the moment of her birth.
Liar and Spy - An enjoyable tale of two quirky boys who help each other deal with bullies, family issues, and friendships.