Top Ten Read Alouds for 5th Grade

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You can find a similar post for 4th grade and 3rd grade at these links!

It's no secret that read alouds will enrich your classroom. (If you're not convinced of that, check out this post!) I love taking the time to choose the perfect novel. But since there are SO many great options out there, it's hard to narrow it down. So now what? How do you choose the read aloud that's best for you?

Typically, I try to do a new read aloud every month. I've found that dragging a book on for too long will cause a loss of interest. Plus students begin to forget details from the beginning of the book before we even finish. 

I also consider the needs of my class. Are we studying something in Social Studies I can reinforce? Are we experiencing a social problem (i.e. the need to build empathy)? Choosing a book that my students need will ALWAYS make the read aloud more meaningful. 


Then I head to my list of favorites! These are my TOP 10 novel choices for 5th grade. 

Tuck Everlasting: In this blend of history and fiction, Winnie Foster meets a strange family. She learns their secret of immortality and wrestles with her own place in the world. Tuck Everlasting is the perfect book for the beginning of the year. It is short, engaging, and an easy start to your read-aloud culture. 

A Wrinkle in Time: Meg Murry and her family go on a science fiction journey to save her dad, and in the process, the entire planet! This is the perfect classic to read in October during the Halloween season. It has no overt scary or Halloween themes, but it is full of suspense!

Where the Red Fern Grows: Billy is a country boy who LOVES to hunt with his beloved coon dogs. Due to the sad ending, this book is perfect for building empathy in your classroom. The discussion questions and tough themes will allow your students grow in unexpected ways.  

The Last Holiday Concert: When his teacher steps aside, Hart Evans must direct the 6th grade holiday concert. Little does he know, his teacher is giving him the best lesson of all by handing over the class. If you like Frindle, you will LOVE this holiday book! 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Four children save the fantasy world of Narnia from a never-ending winter. This is the perfect book to pick up in January. It carries over themes from winter break and eases everyone back into school!

The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963: This book fits into your Black History Month curriculum perfectly. Set in 1963, the story tells the struggles of an African American family in the American South. This book is full of discussion and community building opportunities. 

Ella Enchanted: Ella is a strong-willed and charming heroine for your students. They will love finding the parallels between this novel and the classic Cinderella story. This is an engaging, but easy read during a time that many classes are preparing for testing 

A Night Divided: Gerta’s family wakes up one morning to be divided by the Berlin Wall. For the next few years, the family risks their lives to find a way to reunite. As many 5th graders are unfamiliar with the Cold War, this is a great historical fiction book for your class. They will be engrossed by the danger and suspense!

Holes: A classic for the middle grades, the main character of this book is Stanley Yelnats. He is mistakenly sent to a camp for troubled boys, but learns that mystery surrounds their work. Both male and female students will love this one!

Out of My Mind: This novel is perfect for the end of the year when students need a reminder of kindness and community. Melody is a young girl with cerebral palsy. She cannot speak, but she is the smartest student at her school. By discussing Melody’s story, your students will build empathy and understanding for others. 

In order to make these read alouds even more memorable for my students AND easy for me, 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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