Whether you are looking for a 6th grade reading list to supplement your child’s schooling or a great summer reading list, we have a list of books for you.
We included a list of inspiring biographies, classic novels and fun short stories that you may even remember reading when you were a kid.
Read to Master Comprehension!
By the time students enter the 6th grade, it’s important that they already have a foundational understanding of the basic tools that are needed to understand a text that they may not already understand. For instance, students need to be able to use context clues to identify words that they don’t know. They should be able to use word origins to break apart words and figure out their meaning even if they’d never encountered them before. Usually by the 6th grade, students have had quite a bit of exercise with this.
Once students reach 6th grade, it’s important for them to really bear down and improve the skill set that they’ve already developed. No longer is education covering the very basics; rather it has transitioned to using books to strengthen muscles that are already existent.
In this spirit, our reading list for the 6th grade incorporates a variety of books that are designed to challenge young readers. Students will likely encounter ideas and words that they’ve never experienced before, so they’ll need to be able to put to use the skills that they learned in previous grades to improve their comprehension.
Read to Encourage Deeper Thought!
Reading and talking about writing are some of the two best tools to increase one’s capacity for critical thought. Holes, for instance, is a book that is deliberately written with parts left out. This encourages young readers to attempt to fill in the blanks by making educated guesses using the information in which they have been exposed. This is a core element of creative thought.
In a different vein, the book Stargirl by Spinelli introduces a character who does not comply to the expectations of her school and her society. This provokes readers to consider both the merits of society’s prescribed behaviors as well as the merits of alternatives.
The book Tangerine by Bloor is a strange little novel the does unexpected things with narrative structure. In this case, students find that the things that they’ve learned about creating expectations and using critical thought to anticipate the outcome of a story can sometimes be subverted in ways that they previously had not expected.
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift is, of course, a timeless satire of a specific historical culture. Teachers are encouraged to discuss the historical and social significance of the allegorical elements through which our hapless hero’s travels. Seeing the world through the lens of satire or allegory is a powerful way to provoke critical thinking.
In addition to fiction, we also supply a variety of myths and legends that students can encourage deeper consideration. Many students will be familiar with such characters as Robin Hood, but others, like Gilgamesh, might not be as familiar. Students may think that they are familiar with the fairy tales of the Brothers Grim, but it turns out that the actual stories are much more complex and rich than the versions that Disney creates!
So in addition to investigating familiar territory, this reading list also prepares young students to engage more advanced texts. Beowulf: a Tale of Blood, Heat, and Ashes by Raven is nowhere near is muddled and complex as the actual narrative of Beowulf. However, as part of a student’s education, it is very likely that he or she will have to study Beowulf at some point or another. Experiencing the text in a simplified form earlier on acts as an excellent stepping stone in the future when they will be called upon to break apart the same narrative in a deeper way.
Read to Increase Empathy!
As part of everyday life, we never have the opportunity to be anybody but ourselves. However, through the magic of fiction, we are able to temporarily become another character in another place. For the brief time that were reading a book, we are Gulliver. We are Beowulf. We are Bilbo Baggins.
When students read, they get to experience a perspective but they haven’t before. Often this involves experiencing cultures and situations that they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to engage without fiction. This has the natural side effect of increasing empathy within students.
In a world where we are facing increased levels of bullying among younger people and increased globalization in the business world, the ability to put yourself in another person’s place regardless of their appearance or origin, the ability to have true empathy and understand another person’s perspective, is a valuable skill set. This is why we have included a list of books that come from other cultures or depict other cultures. For instance, The Jungle Book has tales that come straight out of Africa. The biographies of Corrie Ten Boom, Abraham Lincoln, William Bradford, and David Livingstone serve to give students a glimpse into parts of history and different cultures that they probably haven’t been exposed to before.
Read to Become a Better Writer!
There’s an adage among academics that “writing is thinking.” In a lot of ways, this is true. The ability to write is the ability to stack ideas on top of one another in a coherent, organized way. Stronger writers are better able to articulate their opinions and perspective, and this gives them the ability to convince others to adopt their own views. Good writers are often good leaders. Good writers are often good speakers.
There are really only two ways to become a better writer. The first, of course, is to write. However, the second is to read a lot of diverse works. Reading and reading frequently can really go miles toward making a student a better writer. This is why it is essential to pair of reading with writing activities. Writing about the tools that authors use to construct their works makes students stronger readers and stronger writer simultaneously.
These skills will be important in high school and critical in college. Reading extensively in earlier grades really lays the groundwork for having success in later grades.
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If you have never read these, they are even great to read as adults!
Abe Lincoln Grows Up, by Carl Sandburg
The Complete Book of Christian Heroes by by Dave Jackson and Neta Jackson
Corrie Ten Boom, Keeper of the Angel’s Den, by Janet & Geogg Benge
Nate Saint, On a Wing and a Prayer, by Janet & Geoff Benge
David Livingstone, Africa’s Trailblazer, by Janet & Geogg Benge
C. S. Lewis: Christian and Storyteller, by Beatrice Gormley, Wm B. Eerdmans
Heroes Tales for Kids, Vol. 1, 2, and 3, by Dave and Neta Jackson
Margaret Bourke-White: Racing with a Dream, by Catherine A.. Welch
Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson, by Ann McGovern, Scholastic Inc.
William Bradford, Plymouth’s Faithful Pilgrim, by Gary D. Schmidt, William B. Eerdmans
Fiction Recommended Reading List
Return to Sender by Alvarez
Tangerine by Bloor
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Cochrane
My Life in Pink and Green by Greenwald
Bird by Johnson
The Thing About Luck by Kadohata
Schooled by Korman
Rain Reign by Martin
Darius and Twig by Myers
Wonder by Palacio
Keeper by Peet
Bamboo People by Perkins
The Red Pencil by Pinkney
Slob by Potter
Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Rundell
Esperanza Rising by Ryan
Holes by Sachar
Guys Read: Funny Business by Scieszka
Counting by 7s by Sloan
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Sonnenblick
Love, Stargirl by Spinelli
Stargirl by Spinelli
Emma-Jean Lazurus Fell Out of a Tree by Tarshis
Drama by Telgemeier
Make Lemonade by Wolff
After Tupac and D Foster by Woodson
Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt, Follett
Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne
Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink, Macmillan
Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift.
Heidi, by Johanna Spyri
Johnny Tremain, by Ester Forbes
My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Sounder, by William H. Armstrong
Sourland, by William H. Armstrong
Hold Fast by Balliett
The Brixton Brothers by Barnett
Zora and Me by Bond
The Grace Mysteries by Cavendish
Under the Egg by Fitzgerald
Skink: No Surrender by Hiaasen
Alex Rider by Horowitz
Kiki Strike by Miller
The Boy Sherlock Holmes by Peacock
Sally Lockhart by Pullman
Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues by Robinet
The Egypt Game by Snyder
Liar and Spy by Stead
Sammy Keyes by Van Draanen
Palace of Spies by Zettel
Legends and Myths
Will in Scarlet by Cody
Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection by Dembicki, ed.
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Gidwitz
Egg and Spoon by Maguire
Gilgamesh the Hero by McCaughrean
Rose Daughter by McKinley
Treasury of Egyptian Mythology by Napoli
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Pullman
The Kane Chronicles by Riordan
Breadcrumbs by Ursu
Short Stories for Sixth Grade Students
“A Candle for St. Bridget” by Ruth Sawyer, published in A Newbery Christmas
“Farmer Giles of Ham” and “Smith of Wootton Major.” by J. R. R. Tolkien
“Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving, The Sketch Book.
“The Reluctant Dragon” by Kenneth Graham, from Dream Stories
“Rikki Tikki Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling, from The Jungle Book