At the beginning of the school year, the literature you select can help set the tone for a safe and respectful classroom culture and can instill a challenging academic climate. If you want to help your students learn to love reading while also providing resources for their personal and academic growth, be sure to check out the following must-have back to school books for 5th grade.
The enthusiasm a teacher displays for reading can certainly have a positive influence on students’ feelings about reading, but choosing books carefully is also important. Make sure when you’re choosing books to read aloud that you have your students’ interests, fluency levels, and comprehension levels in mind. Here are some favorite books for the beginning of the year in 5th grade.
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The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School by Ken Derby
Main character Anthony Madison, better known as Tony Baloney, takes us on one adventure after another in this nonstop action book, a comedy of mishaps. How many kids end up with the paramedics using a saw to cut a toilet because their foot is stuck in the toilet bowl – on the first day of school?!
This is the first of Tony’s stupid human tricks which he hopes will land him on a late-night television show. Your students will immediately be at ease with a new school year when they see the hilarious mistakes Tony makes. Begin your school year with laughter in this hilarious manual of what not to do! The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School is sure to be a student favorite this year.
More Than Anything Else by Marie Bradby
This picture book tells the powerful story of how a young Booker T. Washington wanted nothing more than to learn how to read. Along with showing students how valuable literacy is, this story lends itself well to discussions about goals, hardships, and how to achieve our dreams despite any obstacles that may be placed in our path.
If you are looking for a back-to-school read aloud to jump start your students’ thinking about their goals for the year, More Than Anything Else would be a great choice.
Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander
Picture books aren’t just for little ones, and they aren’t just for reading class. This math adventure introduces students to several geometry concepts and is a unique, somewhat quirky spin on how to make math come alive for your students.
Don’t let the picture book format fool you; the content is challenging and requires students to dig deep to make connections between the play on word phrases and the mathematical concepts being discovered by the knights. If your students enjoy Sir Cumference and the First Round Table, there are several more in the series they can enjoy.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
A small New York City apartment is not enough space for a restless 14-year-old boy, especially one with eight siblings. Tired of sharing cramped quarters with his large family, young Sam Gribley sets out for the Catskills to live off the land. Will Sam survive the coming winter? Will he learn to find enough food and create a warm and safe shelter?
Find out if Sam’s adventure will last as he braves the wilderness alone. My Side of the Mountain is an inspiring tale of courage and connection which also integrates well with science units on plants and animals.
My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen
This autobiographical story has been an all-time favorite among my students. Follow author Gary Paulsen as he re-lives the story of his childhood and adult life by way of the dogs he has had and the lessons they have taught him.
A quick, easy read that is sure to please even the most reluctant reader, My Life in Dog Years is a heartwarming tale of man’s best friend and the special relationship we can have with our canine companions. This book appeals to a large audience, has many life lessons that are presented with humor (nothing preachy here!), and can build confidence in struggling readers. It’s a win-win!
There are so many great books to choose from. I hope these five must-have back to school books for 5th grade will bring joy, laughter, courage, and community to your classroom. Happy reading!