Books for Grades K-3

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Children in grades K-3 are beginning to read on their own, but they still like to hear a story read to them. Here's a list of books our teacher editors suggest to meet both needs. Parents can use many of these as "read-alongs" to help their children improve their reading. Children can also read many of these books on their own. The reading levels vary, but all are at an appropriate "interest" level for primary grades. Have your child use the five finger test to decide if the book is too difficult and should be a "read together" choice.

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - by Judith Viorst

We've all had days like Alexander's. Will moving to Australia really help?

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
ETTC's New and Improved Poetry Forms
Write an Instant in Charge of the World Poem

Amazing Grace - by Mary Hoffman

Will Grace get the part she wants in the play? How will she do it?

Ameila Bedelia - by Peggy Parish

Are You My Mother? - by Philip Eastman

Follow a confused bird as he searches for his mother in this children's classic.

The Art Lesson - by Tomie De Poala

Beezus and Ramona - by Beverly Cleary

Beezus and her little sister Ramona Quimby just can't seem to get along.

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Ramona the Pest - Lesson ideas
The World of Beverly Cleary
D.E.A.R.

The Big Dipper - by Franklyn M. Branley

Explains basic facts about the Big Dipper, including which stars make up the constellation, how its position changes in the sky, and how it points to the North Star.

Blueberries for Sal - by Robert McCloskey

Sal sets off to collect blueberries - some to eat and some to keep - in this children's classic.

The Bracelet - by Yoshiko Uchida

A story about a Japanese American family's life in an internment camp during World War II.

Caps for Sale - by Esphyr Slobodkina

Clifford the Big Red Dog - by Norman Bridwell

Curious George - by Hans Augusto Rey

Here's the first of many tales about a curious monkey and the man in the yellow hat.

Does the Moon Change Shape? - by Meish Goldish

An explanation of the phases of the moon for beginning readers.

Don't Call Me Pig - A Javelina Story - by Conrad Storad

Learn why a Javelina is not a pig in this nicely illustrated introduction to animals of the American southwest. Great fun for beginning readers.

A Giraffe and a Half - by Shel Silverstein

Giraffes aren't the only characters in this collection of great Shel Silverstein poems. See what you can find!

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Shel Silverstein's Official Website
The Giving Tree Lesson

The Giving Tree - by Shel Silverstein

A book about giving that is great for all ages.

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Shel Silverstein's Official Website
The Giving Tree Lesson

Green Eggs and Ham - by Dr. Seuss

The Seuss classic for every child who "will not eat them." This one is sure to whet a young child's appetite for reading.

Happy Birthday, America! - by Marsha Wilson Chall

This family reunion is packed with fun on the Fourth of July. Come celebrate in the festivities - it's bound to be a day to remember.

Harold and the Purple Crayon - by Crockett Johnson

Harold and his crayon travel the world in this children's classic.

Honeybees - by Deborah Heiligman

This is a nicely illustrated introduction to the life and times of honeybees for primary students, with enough color and flair to keep the attention of older children as well.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - by Dr. Suess

The classic Seuss tale about the critter who didn't understand Christmas, and what Whoville did about it.

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
UJAM - Make Your Music

I Had a Friend Named Peter - by Janice Cohn

When Betsy's friend Peter was hit by a car and killed, she has many questions for her parents. This book deals with many of the questions and emotions that children may have after experiencing the loss of a friend.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - by Laura Joffe Numeroff

This mouse runs the house!

Jumanji - by Chris Van Allsburg

Award winning illustrations lead readers through this story about a jungle game that comes to life.

A Light in the Attic - by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silversteins poems are sometimes silly, sometimes wonderful. These are great poems to read with a child.

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Shel Silverstein's Official Website
The Giving Tree Lesson

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse - by Kevin Henkes

The Little Engine that Could - by Watty Piper

It's the classic tale for children about perseverence and courage. "I thought I could!"

The Little House - by Virginia Lee Burton

Lizards for Lunch - A Roadrunner's Tale - by Conrad Storad

Here's a wonderful "read with me" or "read aloud" animal book with charming illustrations. Learn all about roadrunners in the process.

Love You Forever - by Robert Munsch

Here's proof that bedtime songs are important.

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Robert Munsch Virtual Story Room

Madeline - by Ludwig Bemelmans

Discover Madeline, her classmates, and the mysterious Miss Clavel.

Math Curse - by Jon Scieszka

Math is everywhere in this book, but fear not - it all adds up in the end.

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Library of Congress Read.gov
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure

The Mitten - by Jan Brett

White mittens make for interesting events in this Ukranian folk tale.

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Jan Brett's Home Page
Library of Congress Read.gov
Sea Shell Rounding Activity
Christmas Fun

The Napping House - by Audrey Wood

Here's a rhyming board book that's a great bedtime read.

Oh, the Places You'll Go - by Dr. Seuss

Though not just for children, this is the perfect Seuss story for someone starting school, moving on, or beginning a new phase of their life. Read it with a child!

The Paper Bag Princess - by Robert Munsch

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Robert Munsch Virtual Story Room

A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman - by David A. Adler

Biography of the black woman who escaped from slavery to become famous as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Caution: Describes some violent incidents from Tubman's life.

The Polar Express - by Chris Van Allsburg

Take a trip with Santa in this award-winning tale full of wonder and mystery.

Ramona the Pest - by Beverly Cleary

Ramona Quimby enters Kindergarten and asks LOTS of questions.

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Ramona the Pest - Lesson ideas
The World of Beverly Cleary
D.E.A.R.

Smoky Night - by Eve Bunting

A young boy and his mother are forced from their home when it catches fire during a riot.

So Far From the Sea - by Eve Bunting

A Japanese American girl visits her grandfather's grave.

Stellaluna - by Janell Cannon

A baby bat must find her way in the world, and in doing so she learns a lot about how many things that appear different can be very similar.

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt - by Deborah Hopkinson

Story based on the legend of quilts used in the Underground Railroad.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - by William Steig

Sylvester the donkey finds a pebble that will grant his wishes, but the trouble has only begun. A Caldecott Medal winner.

The Tale of Peter Rabitt - by Beatrix Potter

Beautifully illustrated, Beatrix Potter's classic tells about Peter and his three siblings' encounters with Mr. McGregor.

That Summer - by Tony Johnston

A touching story about a family dealing with the terminal illness of a child. This story is told through the eyes of the sick child's brother.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs - by Jon Scieszka

The three pigs are doing hard time in jail. Here's the story of what really happened with the wolf!

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Library of Congress Read.gov
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure

The Velveteen Rabbit - by Margery Williams

The touching story of a toy who becomes real when a Boy loves it is a great book to read to a child, or for a child to read alone.

What makes Day and Night - by Franklyn M. Branley

A simple explanation of how the rotation of the earth causes night and day.

When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death - by Laurie Krasny and Marc Brown

This book touches on many different issues related to death. It's simply written and uses the Dinosaur series illustrations, so a child will be able to follow along with the different concepts.

Where the Sidewalk Ends - by Shel Silverstein

Stanley the Fierce and the entire cast of Silverstein characters are a great way for children to learn about poetry, whether on their own or with a parent or grandparent.

TeachersFirst reviewed resources related to this book/author:
Shel Silverstein's Official Website
The Giving Tree Lesson