If you’re looking for Read Aloud Books for Third Grade (ages 8 and 9), I’ve put together a list of our favorite read aloud chapter books. There are old classics and new picks, perfect 3rd grade read aloud books for home and school.
Reading aloud to third graders is an important, maybe even magical thing. Third grade, when kids are approximately 8 or 9 years old, is a time when kids can really turn into readers.
In his formidable book, The Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease says that by fourth grade, only 54% of kids are reading for pleasure. So, before they get any older, and while they're still interested in listening to a good book, third grade is the time to create magical reading connections and help kids become lifelong readers.
Third grade is also the perfect time to begin introducing book series to kids. Reading aloud the first book in a great series can open the door for them to continue reading for pleasure on their own. I've included plenty of fantastic book series on this list.
Tips for Reading Aloud to 3rd Graders
Let your 3rd grader(s) pick the book. At our house, when we're picking what to read aloud, I often gather three or four choices and read the first chapter (or the first couple pages/paragraphs) and then we vote (but my vote counts too).
Keep their hands busy. By third grade, you're probably reading aloud longer books with longer chapters. In order for little listeners to stay focused on the story, it helps to give them something to keep their hands busy. My kids like coloring sheets/coloring books, or just drawing in notebooks. You could also try puzzles, clay/playdough, or other quiet crafts. You can even give them a copy of the book to follow along silently while you read aloud. Find what works for your third graders.
Read often (everyday if possible). This will not only help your 3rd grader stay engaged with the story, but it will create a positive habit of daily reading. Listening is an art and it can take some regular practice to hone it. 10 or 15 minutes everyday will always be better than an hour one day a week.
Quit a book if you need to. If a book just isn't working for your listeners (or you), quit. Don't force yourself to slog through a book your listeners are not enjoying. The goal here is to create positive reading memories and experiences, so it's okay to stop and pick a new book if things aren't going well.
Read Aloud Books for Third Grade
Below is a collection of my favorite read aloud books for third grade. I’ve read every single book on this list, most of them aloud to my children, and I love them all. Note: All of the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. You can also download a printable copy of the list below.
Also, check out this list of Read Aloud Books for First Grade , and this list of Read Aloud Books for Second Grade with more good choices for kids ages 6 to 9.
Read Aloud Books for Third Grade
Rump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Rumpelstiltskin
This series has been so fun to read aloud - some of our most favorite read aloud books! This one tells the "true" story of Rumplestiltskin and it's nothing like any version you've ever heard before. These books are really genius!
This is a fantastic book (and a really great classroom read aloud too!). Nick Allen isn't exactly a troublemaker, but he does like to make things exciting. When he starts thinking about how words are created, he has a great idea. Why are pens called pens? Why not call them something like, say, frindle? And then he sets out on a mission to get everyone to use his new word. The results are hilarious!
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic
This is a fun and funny book of adventure! Persimmony Smudge lives an ordinary and dull life until one night she hears a secret that changes everything. Now she has to convince everyone else that the island they all live on is not safe because what they all think is a mountain, might actually be a sleeping giant! It's such a fun story.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
I haven't been in the third grade since 1990, but I still vividly remember my teacher, Mrs. Keane, reading this aloud to us each day. When we finished, everyone brought in their favorite candybar and we watched the Gene Wilder movie version. It's one of my favorite memories from third grade, which is what a great reading aloud experience can do!
The Year of the Book (1) (An Anna Wang novel)
This is another good book series to hook your third graders. Anna, an American born Chinese girl, is trying to figure out friendship, but it's complicated. So she turns to books to help her - fantastic books like Betsy Tacy and The Hundred Dresses. This is such a sweet story! I highly recommend it.
Poppy (Dimwood Forest Series)
This is a fantastic series for third graders! Poppy is a tiny deermouse who is brave enough to stand up to a terribly, tyrannical owl. The entire series is amazing (and they're also great on audiobook).
The One and Only Ivan
This book is narrated by Ivan, a gorilla living in a glass walled cage at the Big Top Mall and video arcade. This is a warm-hearted, poignant story on par with Charlotte's Web. It's a book of friendship and empathy. Kids will fall in love with Ivan.
This is a classic that will never go out of style. It's equal parts funny, smart, and meaningful. It makes a fantastic read aloud book for third grade!
The Fairy-Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm #1)
This is the first in a series that kids will love! Two orphaned sisters realize they are related to the famous Brothers Grimm and that the book of fairy-tales is actually a true account of real events in the past. Thus begins their career as fairy-tale detectives, tracking down fairy-tale creatures that have made their way into the modern world.
This was my daughter's favorite book in third grade. And if your little listeners like this one, Sarah Weeks has more they'll love too. In Pie, Alice's Aunt Polly, the pie queen of Ipswitch, dies and leaves her famous pie crust recipe to her cat. Now everyone in town is vying for the position of pie queen. But Polly thinks there's more to the story . . . and she's right!
Beverly Cleary writes the very best books. This is such a sweet, funny, realistic book about friendship from the master of children's literature.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Mysterious Howling
This series is one of our family's all time favorite book series. We've read the entire series twice! If you're looking for a clever mystery series to hook your third grader, this is it!
Ronia, the Robber's Daughter
Astrid Lindgren is best known for writing Pippy Longstocking, but this book is, dare I say, even better. Ronia's father runs a robber band out of a castle in the woods. But trouble ensues when Ronia becomes best of friends with the son of the leader of a rival robber clan. This wild and free fun at it's very best, with a fantastically brave and independent girl heroine.
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer
This is a fun epistolary novel. Sophie Brown and her parents have just moved from LA to a seemingly animal-free farm they inherited from her uncle. But when the chickens do begin to appear on the farm, Sophie isn't quite sure what to make of them. They're, well, unusual chickens. This is a fantastic diverse book with a very compelling narrative.
Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
I loved reading this series with my kids. There's also a wonderful Netflix series, but read the books first!
Where the Red Fern Grows
This is another classic that my third grade teacher read aloud and I still remember how I had to put my head down on my desk because I was crying so hard by the end of the book. I read this aloud with my kids a few years ago and we all cried then too. This is definitely a book that will leave an impression. (Note: there are a lot of references to God and prayer in this book, so if you're teacher, you may want to preview this one first and make sure it's right for your classroom)
Mary Poppins (illustrated)
I know this needs very little introduction because this classic really is timeless. I will say, however, that if you've only ever seen the movie, then you're in for a treat because the book is special all by itself.
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
Flora is a comic book loving kid, which is a good thing, because when a squirrel gets sucked up into a vacuum cleaner, her comic book background helps her to believe its ability to become a squirrel with superhero abilities. This is an eccentric, whimsical story and it makes a wonderful read aloud.
The World According to Humphrey
This series is narrated by a classroom Hamster named Humphrey and it tends to be a kid favorite. It's a fun look at human life through the eyes of a pet.
The Secret School
This is good, and short, historical fiction set in a small, poor farming town in 1925. Ida Bidson's dream is to someday become a school teacher, but when the one-room school in her town shuts down, it looks like her dream can't come true. But then she has an idea - maybe she can figure out how to keep it open, but it has to be secret.
Half Magic (Tales of Magic)
This is my all time favorite book. I wrote more about it here. It's pretty much a perfect read aloud book. And, there's a whole series if you love this one.
A Family Apart (Orphan Train Adventures)
This is a fantastic historical fiction/adventure series set during the Civil War and the Great Depression when 150,00 kids were shipped west to families in hope of a better life. The series follows the six Kelly children. In this first book, the siblings are separated and Frances Kelly is determined to reunite her family. Excellent series!
The Secret Garden
I loved this book as a kid and I waited anxiously until my oldest daughter was finally ready to listen in third grade, and then it became a tradition to read this with my kids in third grade. It's a wonderful time to introduce kids to the magic of this incredible classic.
Pax was just a fox kit when his family was killed and Peter rescued him. But when Peter's father enlists in the war, he makes him set Pax loose. Peter is obedient, but quickly regrets his decision. He sets out to find his beloved pet fox, while Pax is also on a mission to find him. It's a heartwarming story.
Something Big Has Been Here
This collection of poetry has been a favorite of mine since I was just a kid. I actually memorized the title poem when I was 8 and I still remember it to this day. Something big has been here, what it was I do not know . . . This is perfect when you only have a few minutes to read aloud.
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