Summer Reading Challenge #3- Second Grade

Second grade reading books

Here’s the school list for kids going into Second grade:

  • 39 Kids on the Block *  Marzollo
  • Amazing Grace  Hoffman
  • Amelia Bedelia SERIES  Parish
  • Arthur SERIES  Brown
  • Busybody Nora  Hurwitz
  • Cam Jansen SERIES  Adler
  • Chair for My Mother  Williams
  • Chrystanthemum  Henkes
  • Corduroy  Freeman
  • Fallen Spaceman *  Harding
  • Fancy Nancy SERIES  O’Connor
  • Flat Stanley SERIES  Brown
  • Fly Guy SERIES Arnold
  • Franklin SERIES  Bourgeois
  • Frog and Toad SERIES  Lobel
  • From the Black Lagoon SERIES  Thaler
  • Get ready for Second grade, Amber  Danzingen
  • Giving Tree  Silverstein
  • Henry and Mudge SERIES  Rylant
  • Horrible Harry SERIES  Kline
  • How Much is a Million?  Schwartz
  • Insect Detective  Voake
  • Ivy and Bean Make the Rules   Barrows
  • Magic School Bus SERIES  Cole
  • Magic Tree house SERIES  Osborne
  • Minnie and Moo  Cazet
  • Mr. Putter and Tabby SERIES  Rylant
  • Nate the Great SERIES  Weinman
  • Pain and the Great One  Blume
  • Poppleton SERIES  Rylant
  • Second Grade Friends  Cohen

Wow, this is all over the map.  We have picture books, early reader books, beginning chapter books, longer chapter books…. To add more confusion, popular characters now have books at all reading levels.  Arthur books are picture books, readers, beginning chapter books and longer chapter books, for example, so if a child says they like Arthur books, you need to do a bit of detective work.  I think kids who have finished first grade are expected to be able to read with some fluency, and begin to attempt chapter books.  Flat Stanley is a good entry-level chapter book.

The asterisks  are for books that are out of print.  The 39 kids on the block series looks a lot like the babysitter club series.  I know they came out in the 90’s, but realistic fiction gets old fast, and frightening as it is to realize, this is now historical fiction for 7 year olds.  This is when we have to decide if something is a classic or ephemeral.  One clue is if it keeps getting reprinted, like Judy Blume, L.M. Montgomery, or Louisa Alcott.

So from now on in this challenge, I will read 2-3 books on the list, instead of reading them all.


Dinosaurs Before Dark, by Mary Pope Osbourne.  This is the first book in the series, which is still going at #52 or more.  It is a chapter book using short sentences and easy vocabulary.  The idea of a tree house that is a time travel device is appealing, and it is certainly more exciting for children than some other chapter books I’ve seen.  The series connects with non-fiction books related to the topic, which I think is awesome.


How Much is a Million by David Schwartz.  I hate math, so loving a math book is great praise.  This nonfiction book helps children visualize large numbers with fantastic illustrations by Steven Kellogg.


Mr. Putter and Tabby Fly the Plane by Cynthia Rylant.  Cynthia Rylant has written over a hundred children’s books and has won Newberry and Caldecott honor awards.  The Mr. Putty and Tabby series are about an old man and his old cat, something you might not immediately think is appealing to 7 year olds.  This book is sweet and gentle.  It is a hybrid between a reader and a chapter book, having 3 chapters with only a few sentences per page.  This particular book was about Mr. Putter’s love of planes and his cat’s fear of them.

Books I would add to the list:

  • Anything your child is obsessed with- tv shows, movies, music, animals, trucks- if she can’t get enough, it will encourage her to read.  It’s ok, any reading helps.
  • fairy tales and mythology from other cultures
  • Association of Library Services to Children’s 2014 K-2nd grade list
  • Mercy Watson To the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty McDonald (reading this makes you realize how much has changed in child care since the 1940s.  Kids wandered around town, went to the movies, stayed home by themselves- that’s more amazing than the woman’s magic, in some ways.)
  • craft and cookbooks
  • World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney
  • Anything from my first grade list
  • parent read-alouds or audiobooks that introduce new vocabulary
    • The Hobbit by Tolkein
    • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
    • The Borrowers by Mary Norton
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Lunch Lady graphic novels by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

I remember reading the Hobbit by myself in second grade.  I’m not sure if that memory is accurate or something I filled in later.

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