If you are preparing a summer reading list for your third grader, this book list will be right up your alley. Kiddo will be entering 3rd grade in the fall, so I’ve been searching out some early chapter books with a summer theme for his independent reading.
The reading level of these books falls in the 2nd grade to 4th grade range and with the exception of Turtle in Paradise, all books are either part of a series or have companion books to encourage further reading. Be sure to check out our funny 3rd grade summer reading list for more suggestions!
Are you making a summer reading list of chapter books for your child this year? If your child has a particular interest like science or math or detective stories, be sure to check out all our themed book lists for kids. (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.)
Summer Reading for 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grades
Like Bug Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg. Both my son and I were delighted to receive a review copy of the sequel to Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie. Brooklyn girl, Eleanor, is nervous about being sent off to Camp Wallumwahpuck. She doesn’t like learning how to swim, or the suspicious food, but with the companionship of new friends and camp counselors, she finds herself growing and learning. What I like best about Sternberg’s writing is her ability to tenderly capture a well-rounded picture of growing up by combining the small joys of new childhood experiences as well as its frustrations. The author’s website also has a terrific (and free!) companion activity kit. Also available as an ebook.
How Tía Lola Saved the Summer by Julia Alvarez. This is the only book in Alvarez’s praised Tía Lola series that I have read, but I am eager to read more. A single father and his three daughters are coming to stay with Miguel’s family for a week during the summer. Miguel is not looking forward to the visit, but Tía Lola manages to make everything magical with her insight and understanding. Also available as an ebook.
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm. 11 year old Turtle moves in with her extended family in this lovely gem of a book set in 1930s Florida Keys. Turtle’s time running around the neighborhood, meeting new people and having pirate adventures with her boy cousins make for a charming and funny story with old-fashioned overtones. Also available as an ebook.
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Leonore Look. This is the 2nd book in an early chapter book series about 2nd grader Alvin Ho and his struggle to overcome his various fears. Alvin’s adventures coming to terms with his family camping experience are sweet and funny. Also available as an ebook.
Summer According to Humphrey by Betty E. Birney. Humphrey is the classroom hamster hero of his own early chapter book series, which I unfortunately left off my list of early chapter books starring animal protagonists. In book 6 of the series, Humphrey and the class frog take a summer camp vacation with the teacher and some of the kids from school.
Summer with Elisa by Johanna Hurwitz. Long time readers of my book lists (yay for long time fans!) know that I hold a special place in my book-loving heart for Johanna Hurwitz’ Riverside Kids series. SuperDuper Teddy was one of the first chapter books I read aloud to my oldest son and the series is about a group of kids living in an Upper West Side Manhattan apartment building. Summer with Elisa is one of the easier books on this list and perfect for early chapter book readers. These books are mostly out of print but the excellent news that they are now available for the Kindle.
Summer Reading is Killing Me! (Time Warp Trio, No. 7) by Jon Scieszka. I admit, the title sucked me in, but when I read the description I laughed out loud. The three boys find themselves trapped in a world with literary characters gone wrong. The narrator describes, “I saw Homer Price being carried by the Headless Horseman. Dracula was dragging Winnie the Pooh in a headlock. Mr. Twit was breaking Harold’s Purple Crayon.” Kiddo has read several of Jon Scieszka’s Time Warp Trio books, but not this one, so it’s on the list for sure!
Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom by Rachel Vail. This is the latest book in Rachel Vail’s Justin Case series about about an imaginative, intelligent boy who worries about pretty much everything. It’s the summer before fourth grade and going to camp presents a whole new set of challenges, but Justin is determined to rise to the occasion. Both of Vail’s Justin Case books have received starred reviews from Kirkus — no easy feat.
Starring Grace by Mary Hoffman. Summer is the perfect time for Grace and her friends to have some wonderful, imaginative adventures right in her own backyard. This is a solid early chapter book about the heroine of the much loved picture book, Amazing Grace.
Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary. This is the middle book in the classic Mouse and the Motorcycle trilogy. I have read all three out loud to Kiddo in the past few years, but that’s no reason not to pick up the book for independent reading. Ralph spends his summer at Happy Acres Camp evading cats, making friends and eating pb & j. Also available as an ebook.
What’s on your child’s summer reading list?
- Funny 3rd grade books for summer reading
- 4th grade summer reading list
- 5th grade summer reading list
- Nonfiction summer reading list