The goal of this 1st grade reading list is to teach your homeschooler how to enjoy words and reading. As the homeschool teacher, your lessons in first grade can have a profound impact on the student for years to come. Ideally, you want your child to end first grade with a true love of reading. This means encouraging them all year long.
As a homeschool teacher/parent, you know your child better than any teacher ever can. You can use this to your advantage. Select reading material that your child will like.
There are many academic markers you want to hit during the year. Never forget the most important goal. By the end of first grade, you want a student who thinks of reading as comfortable and fun instead of difficult and confusing.
Reading Goals for First Grade
This year you want to focus your lessons on the alphabet, individual words and short, simple stories. First graders benefit greatly from being read to often. At the same time, first graders also start to read out loud. You can implement silent, individual reading, but this won’t be a huge focus of your lesson plans.
There’s a benefit to reading aloud with peers. If your homeschool is a bit small, you might want to meet up with other homeschoolers a few times a week for group reading sessions. There is strong evidence to support the idea that young students read aloud better when they see their peers doing the same.
Here are some of the major areas on which to focus:
- Print Awareness
By the end of first grade, your student should be able to identify the general parts of a book. This includes being able to identify the author’s name, illustrator’s name, the title, and any chapter headings. The student should also be able to explain the basic plot of the book. For example, if there’s a character on the cover the student should understand that is likely the main character and the book is about his adventures.
- Phonemic Awareness
There is a lot of emphasis on building the connection between written words and spoken sounds. This not only helps with reading aloud but also helps youngster develop the “inner voice” heard when reading silently. Students should be able to:
- Understand syllables and be able to count them in individual words
- Manipulate sounds to create spoken words when reading most one-syllable words
- Break compound words down into individual syllables when read aloud
- Understand Basic Word Analysis
Students will use phonics and word patterns to recognize new words. They’ll be introduced to a few concepts regarding unfamiliar words. At the end of first grade, a successful first grader will be able to:
- Name all letters and related sounds (both upper and lower case)
- Recognize when words rhyme
- Understand that not all rhyming words have the same spelling patterns
- Identify short and long vowel sounds
- Read grade level words aloud automatically
- Understand the concept of synonyms and antonyms
- Be somewhat familiar with a dictionary
- Recognize simple compound words
- Understand Basic Stories
The 1st grade reading list contains a lot of fairly simple fiction stories as well as many classic folk and fairy tales. These are stories with a strong moral lesson that first graders can understand. This teaches them to look for the meaning of a story behind the plot.
First graders will learn how to:
- Read a story and summarize it afterwards in their own words
- Use re-reading, predicting, contextualizing and questioning when trying to understand difficult reading passages
- Identify new words by using context, word parts, and letter-sound associations
- Use some basic punctuation and capitalization
- Sound out each syllable of a word
- Identify many one-syllable and simple words by sight
In a homeschooling situation, you have the opportunity to both teach in a formal setting as well as apply those lessons to everyday life. In order to help your first grader with reading, you’ll want to:
- Read to your children
- Have your children read to you
- Help your child compose short letters and thank you notes to grandparents, relatives, etc.
- Engage with your child when he’s exposed to a word that is unfamiliar to him or her.
Are you searching for a 1st grade reading list to supplement your child’s other studies? Here are some recommended books for first-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 might still enjoy them now.
Click on the story name link for a book description and reviews from Amazon if you want to learn more.
1st Grade Reading List: Beginning to Read
Pete the Cat by James Dean
Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo
Mia and the Daisy Dance by Robin Farley
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes
Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann
Ling and Ting by Grace Lin
Katie Woo, Where are you? by Fran Manushkin
Brownie and Pearl by Cynthia Rylant
Ten Eggs in a Nest by Marilyn Sadler
Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown by Jon Scieszka
Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
1st Grade Reading List: Folk Tales and Fairy Tales
Cinder a Chicken Cinderella by Brett
Jack and the Beanstalk by Crews
The Magic Gourd by Diakite
The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Hennessey
Brother Eagle, Sister Sky by Jeffers
Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!: A Palestinian Folktale by MacDonald
Little Rooster’s Diamond Button by MacDonald
Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale by McDermott
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Willems
Rapunzel by Zelinsky
Other 1st Grade Reading List Recommendations
If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
Dex: The Heart of a Hero by Caralyn Beuhner
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon
Benjamin Bear by Philippe Coudray
- Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking: TOON Level 2
- Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms!: TOON Level 2
- Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas!: TOON Level 2
Penny and Her Doll (I Can Read Book 1) by Kevin Henkes
By the end of first grade, the student should have a positive attitude regarding reading. While they may still have difficulty reading out loud or following complex texts, you want them to enjoy reading and not be intimidated by it. Reading is a place where they can learn interesting facts about the world or hang out with their favorite fictional characters. As they begin to understand the basic rules of forming words and sentences, they’ll be in great shape for the more advanced lessons of second grade.