Awesome Books for 3rd Graders
Third grade is a big deal! In most education systems, 3rd grade marks the transition from "lower grades" to "upper classes." During the 3rd-grade time span, most children are poised to become more mature learners and develop sophisticated skills. Concerning books and literature, I expect third graders to dig deeper into the topics they read and actually begin to analyze and process what they learn.
This page will be continually updated with my favorite books for 3rd graders. This list includes read-alouds and 3rd-grade chapter books. At the beginning of each book list, I like to add the disclaimer that no reading list is "complete." You should always cross-reference this list with the reading lists for the grades immediately below and above third grade.
Dinosaurs Before Dark/Magic Tree House SeriesBy: Mary Pope Osborne | Pages: 80
Parents and children alike rave about the Magic Tree House Series. There seems to be an adventure/book for every child who reads. Mary Pope Osborne takes each book in the series and blends history, adventure, facts and fantasy to create magical stories that are perfect for those children who are starting to read on their own (and great read alouds for parents). The tree house is magical and filled with books on any number of subjects. In this first book of the series, Jack and his younger sister, Annie, travel from the tree house to the pre-historic past, 65 million years ago. They find dinosaurs, adventure and volcanoes there, but also must find out how to get back home before dinner. All the Jack and Annie’s adventures are exciting (and educational) and include some type of mission, some problem to figure out.
Children cannot get enough of the adventures of Jack and Annie, as they travel back in time in their tree house. You can begin with any book of the series as they don’t build upon each other (although they do have references to past stories at times)
There’s a reason why this has been a #1 best selling chapter books for years. But don’t take my word for it; pick out your first (or next) adventure today!
Recommended for: Kids that like history and adventure.
The LoraxBy: Dr. Seuss | Pages: 72
In classic Dr. Seuss style, this book is funny, whimsical, entertaining, and challenging. Published in 1971, Dr. Seuss tackles environmental issues in a witty style that hopefully heightens awareness in a very real way. The Lorax is an ecological warning that is possibly more relevant today than when it was first written. He speaks to the dangers of clear-cutting trees, pollution, and what happens when we don’t care for our one Earth. With trademark rhymes and imaginative one of a kind creatures, Dr. Seuss creates an important message to all who read The Lorax.
Recommended for: Kids that love Dr. Seuss and whimsical rhyme.
The Phantom TollboothBy: Norton Juster | Pages: 256
This book has been around for more than 50 years and is called a classic by many. If your children love human and creative storytelling, this is worth the read. The story begins with Milo, who is bored and expecting to experience the same dull routine when he gets home from school. To his surprise, he finds a tollbooth that is waiting to take him to a faraway place. The humor and beauty of this story is in the word play. Follow Milo as he enters the Kingdom of Wisdom and finds that to restore order to the Kingdom he must save the princesses, Rhyme and Reason, who have been banished to this chaotic place. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping). He learns about time from a watchdog named Tock. He meets interesting folks, such as the Weather Man who is not to be confused with the Weather Man. The puns and words and humor go on until in the end, Milo is transported back home with a newfound curiosity of the world and a realization that the world is anything but boring!
This clever writing style intrigues children and adults alike so it’s an excellent read aloud even if your kids can read it on their own. It’s also a book that merits several readings because it seems you can always hear new wordplays or something you didn’t understand or catch the first time around.
Recommended for: Kids that love wordplays...
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti PlainBy: Verna Aardema | Pages: 32
Bringing the Rain is a rhythmic story that takes place in Africa. The rainy season is long overdue, and the plains are brown and dry. Ki-pat, a local herdsman, helps bring the rain to the Kapiti Plain. The cumulative rhyme keeps children engaged and waiting for the next part. It’s easy for children to read along and even memorize the rhymes. Add in the gorgeous artwork of the African animals, and you’ve got a winner of a book.
Recommended for: Kids that love stories that rhyme
The BorrowersBy: Mary Norton | Pages: 192
What child wouldn’t love a story about the make believe world of tiny people? The Borrowers are just that: tiny people who live underneath the floorboards of a county house in England. It’s a magical world where Pod and Homily Clock and their daughter, Arrietty, live in their tiny home, with their little matchbox furniture and postage stamp paintings. When the Clocks need something, they just ‘borrow’ from the human ‘beans’ who live in the house above them. Pod (the dad) is the only one allowed to go upstairs because the parents are too fearful of being seen by a human. No tiny person has ever survived once they’ve been seen. Although it might seem exciting to some, Arrietty is desperate for friendship and defies her parent’s warnings. What happens next? Read the Borrowers to find out what happens when Arrietty allows herself to be seen...
If you like this book, check out the other books in The Borrowers series.
Recommended for: Kids that love the world of make-believe.