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10 Great Living Books for Early Elementary-Aged Students to Read This Summer**And a Free Printable Reading Record

If you homeschool your children or if they attend traditional school, summer time can be a great time to encourage extra reading. Libraries and book stores often have reading incentive programs that encourage kids to read. And if kids are on a school break, reading is a much better choice than continual vegging out in front of electronics.

Often, although we'd love to share really great books with our kids, we don't do it because of lack of time. This summer take the challenge to introduce ten great living books to your child. In this post I'm sharing ten living books for early elementary-aged children.

Make sure to check out the summer reading lists for other ages at the end of this post. And pick up a free printable reading record and coloring sheet packet as well.

Living book summer reading
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Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater- This is the classic story of Mr. Popper and his accidental accumulation of penguins. It's a funny and charming story of the Popper family and all of their penguin adventures. (And of course, the book is better than the movie!)


Early elementary books

Stuart Little by E.B. White- Stuart Little is a little mouse on a big adventure. Stuart is special because he was born to a normal human family, but he's a, well, a mouse. The classic story is his adventure to rescue his best friend- a small bird. (And, again, the movie is no substitute!)


Living books

Little Bear by Elsa Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak-Although many "learn to read" books for younger children seem choppy and wouldn't make the cut as a "living book", the Little Bear books are excellent for new readers to begin to read independently. Written simply, the stories are sweet and interesting as well as easy to read.


Living books for kids

George Washington's Breakfast by Jean Fritz- Illustrated by one of my favorite authors and illustrators- Tomie dePaola, this is the story of George Washington Allen and his research into his famous namesake. Kids can enjoy an interesting story and learn quite a bit about this famous American hero.


Living books

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan- This story, set in the West during the time of pioneers and mail order brides, is a story told by Anna, a young girl whose mother died in childbirth with her younger brother. Anna's father has sent to the East for a new bride and mama for Anna and Caleb. Sarah comes to get to know the family and decide if she is going to stay.


Summer reading

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne- Although most children have heard of Pooh, many have never heard the stories about the bear of little brain. The Pooh stories are sweet and funny. And kids will love hearing about the adventures Pooh and his friends find.


Books for elementary ages

The Borrowers by Mary Norton- The Borrowers are a tiny family living beneath the kitchen floor in an English manor house. All is well until Pod- the father of the family- is spotted up above. The story is the adventures the family faces trying to remain in their home.



Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald-Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house, smells like cookies, and was once married to a pirate. All of the local children love her. And she seems to have the answer for any behavior problems the parents might face with their children as well. With creative cures for everything from children who always talk back to children who won't go to bed, the things she comes up with make for funny and entertaining reading.


Classic kids books

American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne- Some of America's most famous heroes of tall tales are described in these retellings. Men like Paul Bunyan and John Henry and women like Sally Ann Thunder and Whirlwind are introduced to children.


Summer reading for kids

Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine by Evaline Ness- Sam, a fisherman's daughter, loves to make up stories. Her father is often cautioning her to tell the difference between reality and "moonshine." Sam finally learns her lesson in a hard way when her tales bring danger to a young friend.

Living books for kids


Do you have any other favorite living books for this age group? I'd love for you to leave them for me in the comments.


Pick up a free printable reading record and color sheet here. And check out the other summer reading lists for different ages below.





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