Homeschool Curriculum > Recommended Reading Lists > Recommended 4th Grade Reading List

Recommended 4th Grade Reading List

Fourth grade can be a fun time for your budding readers. This is the year students will expand upon the reading concepts they learned in grade three. In grade four, students will deepen their use and understanding of the English language. This includes an increase in both oral and written presentations.

An Overview of Fourth Grade Reading

Reading curriculum for the fourth grade actually goes a bit beyond reading. Lessons throughout the year will also concentrate on writing, speaking and grammar. Together, these lessons will help the student understand how to use reading as research in order to create their own presentations.

The writing process is also emphasized in the fourth grade. By the end of the year, students should be able to read informational texts, understand the meaning and use the information to create original written assignments consisting of multiple paragraphs.

Reading Goals for the Fourth Grade

  1. Improved Word Recognition

By now, your child should be able to read age-appropriate multi-chapter books on their own. They should have plenty of exposure by now to a wide variety of reading materials including literary works, informational text and more. Fourth grade is a time to expose them to an even wider world of reading.

This means they’re likely to encounter unfamiliar words. Throughout the year, the fourth grade curriculum is geared towards developing word identification strategies. These include:

  • Understanding graphophonic, syntactic and semantic word identification strategies
  • Using reference materials including dictionaries, thesauruses and glossaries
  • Using root words, prefixes and suffixes to infer word meanings
  1. Increased Reading Comprehension

Beyond individual words, students will start to analyze written material as a whole. This includes understanding the difference between fact and opinion, recognizing point of view and becoming proficient in how to use information taken from text.

These comprehension strategies include the ability to:

  • read for difference purposes (reading to gather information, reading for fun, etc.)
  • summarize major plot points
  • understand the order of events in a story, as well as understand how to identify missing items in an event sequence
  • re-read a passage quickly by locating key words in order to answer specific questions about the text
  • differentiate between facts and opinion
  • understand authorial intent
  1. Expanded Literary Analysis

Fourth grade students are now capable of understanding and experiencing different types of text. In third grade, the concentration was on myths, tall tales and contemporary fiction with a clear moral lesson. In fourth grade, texts become more sophisticated while still retaining some of those lessons. The main goal is to provide an easily identifiable subtext which fourth graders can understand.

The fourth grade recommended reading list includes books in the following genres:

  • Fiction: novels, legends, myths, folklore, sci-fi, fantasy
  • Non-fiction: informational books, autobiographies, diaries and journals
  • Poetry: formal haiku, limerick, stanzas
  • Drama: plays, short skits

As students are exposed to more types of text, they’ll also learn the characteristics of a variety of genres. Fourth graders are capable of recognizing the basic conventions of fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography. Advanced students may also expand that list to include fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, fables, legends, myths, historical fiction and more. As a homeschool teacher, you have a lot of leeway in selecting text which appeals to your child.

  1. Increased Vocabulary

As your child begins to read and write in a variety of styles his or her vocabulary will likely increase naturally. You want to help this process with a variety of vocabulary instruction. As the year continues, you want to help your student:

  • Understand the difference between synonyms, antonyms, homonyms and homophones
  • Determine the correct meaning of homonyms based on context
  • Increase the overall number of recognized words
  1. Improved Grammar and Usage

By the end of fourth grade, students should have a pretty good grip on a lot of Standard English conventions. This includes a basic understanding of:

  • Pronouns
  • Subject consistency
  • Subject/verb tense consistency
  • Verb tense consistency

While third grade does emphasize correct spelling and punctuation, these lessons are also important in fourth grade. This year students will also learn about correct capitalization. This includes capitalization inside sentences as well as the proper use of capitalization for magazines, newspapers, composition titles, organizations and more.

Are you searching for a 4th grade reading list to supplement your child’s other studies? Here are some recommended books for fourth grade students.

We included a list of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and classic novels that you may even remember reading when you were younger. If you missed them as a kid, you may still enjoy them now.

Click on the story name link for a book description and reviews from Amazon if you want to learn more.

Contemporary Fiction

These are multi-chapter books in a variety of genres. Your fourth grader will be able to follow these stories, but they also contain words which will be unfamiliar. This provides great opportunities for your student to learn new words contextually.

Tia Lola by Alvarez

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Angleberger

Humphrey by Birney

Kinda Like Brothers by Booth

Because of Mr. Terupt by Buyea

Room One: A Mystery or Two by Clements

Hate That Cat: A Novel by Creech

The Lemonade War by Davies

Salsa Stories by Delacre

The Magician’s Elephant by DiCamillo

The Spiderwick Chronicles by DiTerlizzi

Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It by Frazier

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Gantos

The Homework Machine by Gutman

When Mules Flew on Magnolia Street by Johnson

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Kinney

Inside Out and Back Again by Lai

Dumpling Days by Lin

Alvin Ho by Look

Ruby Lu by Look

Rain Reign by Martin

11 Birthdays by Mass

Shiloh by Naylor

Wonder by Palacio

Big Nate by Peirce

Becoming Naomi Leon by Ryan

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Snicket

4th Grade Rats by Spinelli

No Girls Allowed (Dogs Okay) by Trueit

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Woods

Peace, Locomotion by Woodson

Informational Books

These non-fiction books are a great way to introduce a variety of new subjects to your student. They’ll gain an even stronger grasp on how to learn by reading.

Millions, Billions, & Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers by Adler

Bugged: How Insects Changed History by Albee

Shimmer & Splash: The Sparkling World of Sea Life by Arnosky

Buried Beneath Us: Discovering the Ancient Cities of the Americas by Aveni

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth by Bang

Dinosaurs in Your Backyard by Brewster

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Burns

Haunted Histories: Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons, and Powerful Palaces by Everett

Locomotive by Floca

The Wolves Are Back by George

Galaxies, Galaxies! by Gibbons

The Reasons for Seasons by Gibbons

Bones: Skeletons and How They Work by Jenkins

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery by Markle

Remember: The Journey to School Integration by Morrison

Polar Bears by Newman

How to Clean a Hippopotamus by Page

Volcano Rising by Rusch

Discovering Black America by Tarrant-Reid

Separate Is Never Equal by Tonatiuh

Insect Detective by Voake

Fantasy/Science Fiction

Secrets of Droon by Abbott

Jinx by Blackwood

Dragon Castle by Bruchac

The Sisters Grimm by Buckley

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III by Cowell

Half Magic by Eager

The Dream Stealer by Fleischman

Zita the Spacegirl by Hatke

Warrior by Hunter

A Wrinkle in Time by L’Engle

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon  by Lin

Dragon Slayers’ Academy by McMullan

The Magic Thief by Prineas

The True Meaning of Smekday by Rex

Harry Potter by Rowling

The Night Fairy by Schlitz

The Books of Elsewhere by West

City of Fire/City of Ice by Yep

Historical Fiction

American Girl – History Mystery series:

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Fighting Ground by Avi

Journey to Freedom a Story of the Underground Railroad by Courni C. Wright

Night Journeys by Avi

The Orphans’ Journey series by Arleta Richardson:

Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

The Whispering Cloth: a Refugee’s Story by Pegi Deitz Shea

General Fiction

Charlotte’s Web, by E.B.White

The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite de Angeli

The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth

Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl

Gentle Ben by Walt Morey

Hang Tough Paul Mathier, by Alfred Slote

Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

The Mandie Books by Lois Gladys Leppard

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert O’Brien

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

The Paint Brush Kid, by Clyde Robert Bulla

The Song of the Trees by Mildred D. Taylor

Stone Fox, by John Reynolds Gardner

Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne

General NonFiction

The Astronomy Book by Dr. Jonathan Henry

Dinosaurs by Design by Duane T. Gish

From Sea to Shining Sea for Children by Peter Marshall & David Manuel

The Light and the Glory for Children by Peter Marshall & David Manuel

Sounding Forth the Trumpet by Peter Marshall & David Manuel

The Weather Book by Michael Oard


All God’s Children: a Book of Prayers, by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Cricket Never Does; a Collection of Haiku and Tanka Poetry by Myra Livingston

Hand in Hand; An American History Through Poetry collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Oxford Book of Christmas Poems edited by Michael Harrison & Christopher Stuart-Clark

Poetry in the Holy Bible: Psalms 1, 8, 23, 24, 46, 91, 100, 119:1-8, 121, 150

Poem Stew by William Cole, Harper Collins

Poems for Youth, by E. Dickenson. Little, Brown, & Co.

Click here to see recommended books for other grade levels…


Fourth grade is a very exciting time. Your child can now understand more complicated forms of storytelling. The stories you and your child read together are likely going to be equally entertaining to both of you! While you’ll still want to read aloud to your child, this year you’ll also want to encourage your fourth grader to read to you. Fourth grade also includes accompanying lessons on story structure, grammar and genres. Overall, fourth grade is the year where your child gains a deeper understanding of the various types of texts and how they can create a more well-rounded individual.