Top Ten Read Alouds for 3rd Grade

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By now you've seen my posts for 5th grade read alouds and 4th grade read alouds, so you know it's time for 3rd grade!

These are my TOP 10 novel choices for 3rd grade. 

Wonder: In this realistic fiction text, August has a medical condition called Treacher Collins syndrome which affects many things, including his facial features. As he begins a new school year, he struggles with fitting in and making friends. This is the perfect read aloud for the beginning of the year as you build community and empathy in your classroom. 

The BFG: Sophie is shocked to be “kidsnatched” by a giant one night, right out of her bedroom window! But she soon learns that the giant means her no harm, he is the Big Friendly Giant. Sophie and the BFG go on quite the adventure as they set out to stop other giants from their blood thirsty ways. Roald Dahl texts are the perfect read alouds for young audiences in October. They have just enough “scary” without being too much for your classroom!

The One and Only Ivan: This story is told from the perspective of Ivan, a silverback gorilla. He is living in a stationary circus, but promises his dying friend that he will help move himself and another animal friend from captivity. Eventually, Ivan’s conditions improve as they are moved to a zoo. This story is filled with social issues to enrich your discussion, as well as themes of hope and courage. Your students will love getting to know the animal characters. 

The True Gift: This sweet holiday story is sure to get your class in the giving spirit. Liam and Lily are visiting family for the holidays when they notice a cow in need of a friend. Together, with the help of their community and a little Christmas magic, they reach their goal. This book is by the same classic author as Sarah, Plain, and Tall.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins: A literary classic, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is always a hit! Mr. Popper is a bored house painter who is given 12 penguins from the South Pole. As his house is turned into a winter haven for these penguins, he comes up with a plan to help pay for their upkeep. He and the penguins go on the road to perform for audiences that have never seen penguins. In the end, the penguins must return to a more natural habitat and Mr. Popper is thrilled to accompany them on one last adventure. This story is the perfect, fun book to return to after winter break! 

Pax: The main character of this story is forced to abandon his pet fox (Pax) when his father goes to war. When he decides to find and rescue Pax, Peter must go on a coming of age journey. You will discuss themes such as anger, loss, war, but also hope. This book will help your students grow in unexpected ways!

Ramona Quimby Age 8: Ramona is a third grader with a big heart and a lot of spunk. She often finds herself in humorous situations that celebrate childhood and growing up. Throughout the novel, she adjusts to a new teacher, class, and home situation—much like your students. They will find her relatable and entertaining!

Charlotte’s Web: This classic is told from the perspective of Wilbur, a farm pig saved by his beloved Fern. Throughout the novel, Wilbur befriends the other barn animals, including a spider named Charlotte. Charlotte becomes a maternal figure in the story and helps Wilbur grow and learn. This story will lead to discussions of friendship, growth, and loss. It is a great “spring” read and will help your class grow closer. 

Superfudge: In this humorous novel Peter (Fudge) deals with a lot of changes that are relatable for your students. His parents have a new baby, his family moves, and his new school is not what he hoped for. Fudge is constantly getting in trouble, but learning and growing along the way. This book is part of the Fudge series by Judy Blume. Your students will love this one enough that they will want to pick up the others in the series and read on their own!

Because of Winn Dixie: This novel is the perfect book to lead into summer. It follows a summer with Opal as she moves to a new town in Florida. She finds an unexpected friend in a dog named Winn Dixie. While dealing with issues of loss over her mother, she learns to move on and grows closer to her father. She also makes new friends in her quirky hometown and watches as Winn Dixie brings the community together. 

When I use these novels as read alouds, I've developed a bookmark and journal system for each book. 

As I read, I try to get my students talking with 2 questions. One question is asked before I read, the second is asked after. That's it! I can hold students accountable and assess understanding with 2 simple questions. I keep these on a ring, right in my book. See below!


I also have the same questions in journal form for students. This helps me see individual answers that I don't always hear when we discuss as a whole group. Since there are only 2 questions it's not too cumbersome for students either. Check out the companions for each title (plus the 5th grade bundle!) below. 

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