Thinking about Literature for First Grade and the first draft of First Grade Reading List

I want Literature to be an additional subject beyond phonics / reading because I feel it is important they boys hear good literature that is well beyond their reading.  Also that they, in time, are able to “tell it back” or at least some of it; to follow more and more complicated plots and think more complex thought about the reading.  While I want them to hear some that is barely beyond Big’s reading level, to keep them reaching, most I plan to read several years beyond.  The oft lorded ‘classics’.  Hearing good writing will help them write well.  Hear grand thoughts will help them think magnificent thoughts.  Hearing tales of obstacles over come and challenges met will impression on them that challenges and obstacles need not stop you.  Moral stories and stories of moral struggle build them up without them feeling lectured.  Stories of God’s heroes, Biblical and historical, will plant the seeds of trees of deep and strong faith.  Great literature, famous stories, people and places (real or fictional) are the language of a culture.  To be literate, to be able to converse there are certain things the boys need to know (we all know who had a coat of many colors and why to beware of Greeks bearing gifts), and they’ll learn these gems cuddled next to me on the sofa reading well loved books, good books, books that have stood the test of time.

Of course there is no way we could possible read all the good books ‘out there’ any year or on any given topic.  I desire to wet their appetites, to present them a buffet, to show them the stack and stack and stacks of books they can spend the rest of their live nibbling away at.  I’ll choose some and we’ll see how far we get.  Rabbit trails may lead us off in to lands unplanned.  As the years go by we’ll not totally move past this list since we do have Little Brother coming up 23 month behind Big. I plan to keep the boys on “the same era” in history (Ancient, Medieval, ____) and I plan to work on US History and civics every year.  Nevertheless as Little Brother ages and is himself in First Grade we’ll have a chance to reach, again, into these lists and pull out something different.  Many of these good are timeless, as good for a 7th grader to read (or hear) as a 1st grader, and so many I am excited to read, or reread as an adult.  There is a natural progression in reading, and being read to, that is certainly not limited by dates on a calendar (be it school year, or birthday).  You’ll note many of the books that show up on a search of ‘first grade reading list’ that many of the books also appear of either a ‘pre-school’ search or a second grade search (or both). Reading, literature (especially read-a-loud books) are very fluid things.

I love searching and reading ‘reading lists’.  There are so many great books that I have never heard of, find, read and then wonder how I lived without it.  Looking back at Children’s Literate from 50 years ago, 100 years, or even more; opens a door to an amazing wonderland I have never visited before, and I am excited to drag my children though.  I am constantly assured by the titles that repeat from list to list, and excited to find new ones.  It never ceases to amaze me how you can ask 20 different people for the 50 best read-a-louds and get 20 different lists; but that means there is always something for each parent to find to fit well with their own child unique needs and personality and interests.

This is a compilation of several reading listing I have gone over; and a few tossed in that I have seen following rabbit trails around  This represents maybe not the best reading for the first grade year but the books I feel my boys will most enjoy and be most engaged in.

We will be doing Ancient History via Story of the Would Vol #1  for History for the year and that we’ll also give us many read-a-louds (it is a spine and actively guide with a good deal of suggested additional reading to flesh it out).  We’ll also be doing American History via maybe Truthquest History Guide: American History for Young Students Volume 1 as our Social Studies core.  I have chosen each of these spines (Trustqest is set up much like SOTW) because each has a 3 or 4 year cycle of different time periods laid out.  I am following the same over all “theme” I have in history and in Literature; that is focusing on people and personal lives more than events and dates.  Included in my reading list below, are many ‘additional reading’ for Story of the World also; most I have found recommended by other homeschool moms.

This list is still under construction, when I finish it I’ll post it like I did my Master List of Kindergarten Reading.  I make no claims that we’ll read all of them in the first grade year; though some of them we already have and / or have read; or will have read before First Grade is officially underway.  In fact I know we will NOT read them all; but that, after all, the point of a reading list to choose from as the topic suits and to leave them wanting more.

I’ll also be pulling titles from my many “books of books”.  This will help me most find books to supplement our topics and to provide us new and different readings for the different seasons and holidays.

Ones I have chosen, so far from the lists below.  List subject to change, and change and change.  Note they are not all chapter books, merely books I want to share with the boys and that are beyond their reading level.   Also note I have some more research to do, and will be updating this post; I have not been though all I want to go though yet.

—-Work in Progress —-

Some of the rest of the list(s) complied: in alphabetical order with duplicates removed (for my efforts to compile a list for Pre-K and Kindy see here; many of the books are repeats actually, not my doing, all the reading listing I am drawing from):

The reading lists I drew from:

An Old Fashion Educations (an amazing resource)

Amberside first grade reading list in 36 weeks segments

Tanglewood First Grade reading list by subject

100 Great Books

beautiful feet

SonLighht and


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3 responses to “Thinking about Literature for First Grade and the first draft of First Grade Reading List

  1. Rebecca

    A couple classic stories that really appealed to my boys were The Swiss Family Robinson ( Johann Wyss), Treasure Island and The Three Musketeers. Boys love stories about adventure. Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book stories and Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series are aso popular with boys.

  2. Crystal

    My dd loved doing some of those stories for school. You are such a great planner.

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