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 Dave Jackson and Neta Jackson
David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by Janet & Geoff Benge
C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by Janet & Geoff Benge
Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes by Dave and Neta Jackson
Margaret Bourke-White: Racing With a Dream (Trailblazer Biographies) by Catherine A. Welch
The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson by Ann McGovern
William Bradford: Plymouth’s Faithful Pilgrim by Gary D. Schmidt
Fiction Recommended Reading List
Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
Tangerine by Edward Bloor
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane
My Life in Pink & Green by Lisa Greenwald
Bird by Angela Johnson
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
Schooled by Gordon Korman
Rain Reign (Ala Notable Children’s Books. Middle Readers) by Ann M. Martin
Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Keeper by Mal Peet
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Slob by Ellen Potter
Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell
Esperanza Rising (Scholastic Gold) by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Holes (Holes Series) by Louis Sachar
Guys Read: Funny Business by Jon Scieszka
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Love, Stargirl (Stargirl Series) by Jerry Spinelli
Stargirl (Stargirl Series) by Jerry Spinelli
Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Make Lemonade (Make Lemonade, Book 1) by Virginia Euwer Wolff
After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
Caddie Woodlawn, A Frontier Story by Carol Ryrie Brink
Gulliver’s Travels (Penguin Classics) by Jonathan Swift.
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Houghton Mifflin Reading: Johnny Tremain Lv 8 Imp JOHNNY TREMAIN by Ester Forbes
My Brother Sam Is Dead (Scholastic Gold) by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Sounder by William Howard Armstrong
Sour land, by William H. Armstrong
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond
The Grace Mysteries: Assassin & Betrayal by Lady Grace Cavendish
Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Skink–No Surrender (Skink Series) by Carl Hiaasen
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz
Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller
Eye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 1st Case by Shane Peacock
Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues by Harriet Guillem Robinet
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen
Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel
Legends and Myths
Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody
Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection by Matt Dembicki
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood by Tony Lee
Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
Ain’t Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry by Scott Reynolds Nelson and Marc Aronson
Beowulf: A Tale of Blood, Heat, and Ashes by Nicky Raven
The Kane Chronicles Box Set by Rick Riordan
The Beautiful Stories of Life: Six Greeks Myths, Retold by Cynthia Rylant
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Short Stories for Sixth Grade Students
“A Candle for St. Bridget” by Ruth Sawyer, published in A Newbery Christmas
Smith of Wootton Major & Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Graham, from Dream Stories
“Rikki Tikki Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling, from The Jungle Book (Books of Wonder)
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