Summer Reading Recommendations

We've compiled a recommended reading list for students in the grammar school. This is by no means exhaustive, and is not required for school. But why should summer be a time to shut off your brain? So we put together a list of suggested classics that your child could read over the summer.

There are two lists below.* The first is geared toward lower-grammar-school-aged children (1st–3rd grade), and includes both picture books and chapter books; the second is geared toward upper-grammar-school-aged children (4th–6th/7th grade), and includes only chapter books. Both lists are designed to provide reading that is both fun and easy, and challenges them to engage with language complexity that draws them outside of themselves. (Younger children of course will often enjoy being read to from books in the older list.) Parents: a fun challenge for you is to commit to read any book your child reads. That way you get to bone up on your education too! Many classics that would be on here have been left off because they are already part of the NCA literature curriculum.

Younger List

Aesop’s Fables
Allard: Miss Nelson Is Missing
Atwater: Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Bemelmans: Madeline books
Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (plus anything else by Dahl)
DeJong: Along Came a Dog
Freeman: Corduroy books
Hoban: Francis books
Joyce: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Kipling: Just So Stories
L’Engle: Meet the Austins
Lionni: Frederick’s Fables
Lobel: Frog and Toad books
Lobel: Mouse Soup
Lofting: Dr. Dolittle
MacLachlan: Sarah, Plain and Tall
Minarik: Little Bear
Parish: Amelia Bedelia books
Rey: Curious George books
Rylant: Henry and Mudge books
Rylant: When I Was Young in the Mountains
Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are
Seuss: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Seuss: There’s a Wocket in My Pocket
Steig: Brave Irene
Streatfeild: The Shoe books
White: Charlotte’s Web
Wilder: Little House books
Yolen: Owl Moon

Older List

Alexander: The Book of Three
Birdsall: The Penderwicks (series)
Carroll: Alice in Wonderland
Carroll: Through the Looking Glass
Cleary: Runaway Ralph
DiCamillo: The Tale of Despereaux (plus anything by Dicamillo)
Gaiman: Graveyard Book
Gardiner: Stone Fox
George: Charlie’s Raven
Grahame: Wind in the Willows
Kipling: Jungle Book
LeGuin: Wizard of Earthsea
Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia (series)
Lowry: The Giver
MacDonald: The Princess and the Goblin
O’Brien: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
O’Dell: Island of the Blue Dolphins
Paulsen: Hatchet
Rawls: Summer of the Monkeys
Rawls: Where the Red Fern Grows
Rowling: Harry Potter (series)
Stevenson: Treasure Island
Stewart: Mysterious Benedict Society (series)
Taylor: The Cay
Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings (series)
Twain: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
White: Stuart Little
White: The Sword in the Stone/The Once and Future King

*Much, though not all, of this list is drawn from the excellent resource by Leslie Rayner and Christopher Perrin, The Classical Reader: A Comprehensive Reading Guide for K–12 Students, from Classical Academic Press.