How Do I Select Books for Elementary?
Selecting books for the classroom is an important investment that I take very seriously. In my classroom we have a 30 minute read aloud with discussion every day for the entire six years of elementary, and we also have literature circles that meet 2-3 times a week for discussion. I want to ensure that the books we read are worth our time!
First and foremost, the book should be an enjoyable page-turner. A dull book that meets all the other criteria, is a slog that no one enjoys. Part of this is ensuring that the book is developmentally appropriate. Not too hard, not too easy.
Underlying themes that lead to rich discussion. The book should have an impact on the child’s life and should have ideas that are widely applicable.
The books should be well written, with interesting language, technique and style. Dialogue should be engaging, descriptions should be rich, action should be exciting! Only use unabridged versions.
These books have heroes (and villains!) with agency. Characters that make hard decisions and fight for what is good and true. The characters should show children what life can be like and how people can achieve greatness.
The three kinds of reading…
Bookmark this page, as I read more books, I’ll add good ones to the list!
I have included an Amazon affiliate link to every book on this page. These are for your convenience. I do receive a small percentage from every purchase without any increase to your price.
Books marked with * are exemplar pieces of literature, but should be read by the adult first. Some of the content may be intense for your particular children.
First Year Books
- Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Murray Williams
- The Storm by Cynthia Rylant
- Lady Lollipop by Dick King-Smith
- The Pagemaster by David Kirschner
- The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
- The King’s Equal by Katherine Paterson
- Hatchiko Waits by Leslie Newman
- Billy and Blaze by C. W. Anderson
- Two Times the Fun by Beverly Cleary
- The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh
Second Year Books
Third Year Books
Fourth Year Books
- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- Masterpiece by Elise Broach
- Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
- The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- Dragon: Hound of Honor by Julie Andrews Edwards
- The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Fifth Year Books
- A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
- Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Robert C. O’Brien
- The Call of the Wild by Jack London
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
- Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
- The Endless Steppe by Eleanor Hautzig
- True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
- The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery
- Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
- Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
- The Golden Goblet by Eloise McGraw
- Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Sixth Year Books
- Theras and his Town by Carline Dale Snedeker
- The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
- The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
- Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw
- Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett
- Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
This Montessori reading program is much more than a set of card materials. In my opinion, the program IS the book and the materials support the book. The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 is theory and science, its what justifies my subtitle “Evidence-Based Reading Instruction for the Montessori Classroom.” I show the…
Davie is an earnest little boy who has been promised a little black rabbit as a gift. Saturday is a long way off, a whole “six long waiting days still to wait”, and we experience that passage of time through the lense of this child.
The nature of being young is to not have a lot of worldly experience and to not know how things could be different; children take the world as it is concretely and can’t yet imagine it being another way.