Reading List for Grade 4

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Pile of books
With summer bearing down hard, it is time to consider summer activities for your 4th-grade child. I know, the sun beckons and as a huge advocate of outside activities, I do not propose that you make your child sit inside reading all day. I do, however, advocate for a bit of daily reading, both the two of you together (my favorite way) and/or individual reading time for your child.

For those of you with both 3rd and 4th-grade children, I apologize in advance for any redundancies between the two blog postings, but it is necessary to mention the standards as set forth by CCSS. Parents should note that the standards do not specify reading lists for children, allowing teachers classroom flexibility and a show of confidence in their experience to promote the reading of books, not only at the correct level for the children in their classes, but also as a positive way to encourage writing and speaking skills about assigned books.

My purpose today, is to give you a list of three summer reading books that can be enjoyed by you both and I’ll even give a few tips of activities in which you can partake after reading. Besides this posting, you can get information about good summer reads from your local public library that undoubtedly, has a Summer Reading program available for all family members!

I always like to begin with a Newberry Award winner for any level. The chosen book today is, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George and is available at for $5.39 and free two-day shipping if you have Amazon Prime. How many of us have grown tired of the people we live with, the day-to-day happenings of a predictable life. That’s Sam Gribley’s story. At 15 years old, Sam runs away to the mountains. His survival is dependent on working with nature; his new friends a hawk and a weasel. The book’s detail and flow are such that it evokes the use of all senses from the reader as he/she smells, hears, sees and feels everything that happens on the page. A five-sense experience in a five-star book; lose yourself in its pages today! After you’ve enjoyed your adventures with Sam, Frightful, and the baron-Weasel make an “Adventure Menu” for your family. Think of things that you might find in the forest to eat, and create a menu around it. You might have to change the names a bit, for example, a hamburger may turn into a “venison” burger on your menu and edible weeds may simply be lettuce. Prepare your meal and serve it for dinner on the grass in the backyard.

As you prepare for the 5th grade, why not realize that Nothing’s Fair in the Fifth Grade, so why not get ready by reading this great book by Barthe DeClements, available at for $5.99. This book is funny and true to the characters within its covers. DeClements uses her background as a psychologist to make the characters people we’ve either met or even those we know well. This is a perfect book to read with your child and then, without them suspecting anything, a launchpad from which to engage your child in discussions about “what would you do if…” conversations. Ultimately, this book is a classic that encourages self-exploration and friendship. Having your child read this book at the same time as a friend (of friends) could inspire conversations and daydreaming of what the new school year will bring while forging special relationships through a shared experience! Encourage a “book club” where friends could gather have goodies and talk about the pages!

A biography should always be included in summer reading experiences. My suggestion is Native American Doctor, The Story of Susan LaFlesche Picotte, by Jeri Ferris, currently only available as a used book on Amazon. This wonderful biography of the first Native American woman to graduate from medical school is an inspiring tale of two worlds in a time of change. Susan, the young daughter of an Omaha chief named Iron Eye made the decision to help people after seeing the health of her tribe decline. Susan was determined to get an education and return to the Midwest Plains to treat her people who suffered from illness, both mental and physical and who often received no help from the white medical personnel who were sent to treat maladies. She received an education in Philadelphia and returned to her reservation that was being diminished both in landmass from lawmakers and population due disease, to create a hospital. Although she died at the young age of 50, Susan always said she was proud of what she was able to accomplish for the Omaha Indians. Susan LaFlesche Picotte remains today, an inspiration to us all. Perhaps after reading this book, your child has been moved to “make a difference.” Maybe with your help, she/he could gather a group to clean up a neighborhood park. Google; How to Organize a Neighborhood Cleanup. The Kellogg Corporation has an amazing PDF booklet online that tells you exactly what to do!

Summer reading and activities. You can experience adventure, laughter, friendship and camaraderie. All of these things can be inspired by books, a common thread that allows us to be special, to travel and yes, to do things we never thought we’d do. Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Open a book and start dreaming!


Gail Agor

Gail Agor is a veteran teacher with over 22 years of experience teaching. She began her career as a Gifted Resource Specialist for identified intellectually gifted students. She then became the Assistant Director of Lifelong Learning in charge of youth classes and camps at a college in Maryland. Ms. Agor, known for her creativity and fun interactive teaching style, is a sought-after public speaker for conferences and training sessions. For the last 7 years she has taught, tutored and taught volunteer conversation classes to adult ESL students in Central Florida.