Growing Reader

8 Great Chapter Books
for Third Graders

by Janssen Bradshaw

Wondering what book to pick up for your third grader?

As they develop more independence and the ability to read longer and more complex stories, the world of children’s literature really opens up.

These new and classic titles are perfect for all kinds of third-grade readers. They’re also great for reading aloud, if that’s more your child’s speed. Or you can try alternating back and forth — they read a page, then you read a page — so they can practice their reading but not get so bogged down they lose sight of the story arc.

No matter how you use these books, all eight are winners.

  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

    by Betty MacDonald, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

    Who do parents call when their children are behaving badly? Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, of course! She has all sorts of cures up her sleeve. Every child I know gets a kick out of watching children acting up and are equally delighted to see the inventive ways Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle helps them out.

  • Muggie Maggie

    by Beverly Cleary, illustrated by Tracy Dockray

    Maggie doesn’t want to learn cursive. She absolutely refuses until she is made the class messenger and starts taking notes, all written in cursive, to the office. After a while, she starts to wonder if the notes are written about her. But if she wants to know what they say, she’ll have to learn cursive. Like all of Beverly Cleary’s books, this one is pitch perfect and a delightful read for all ages.

  • The Trouble with Chickens

    by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

    J.J. Tully is a retired search-and-rescue dog. He’s getting a little bored with retirement when a chicken shows up claiming that two of her chicks are missing. Lured by adventure and the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. Tully takes the case. But is he walking into a trap? Funny and not too long, this book has huge appeal for animal lovers and those who like a little mystery and a lot of humor.

  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School

    by Louis Sachar, illustrated by Adam McCauley

    Wayside school was supposed to be thirty classrooms, side by side. Instead, the builder made it thirty stories high, one classroom stacked on top of another. But that’s only the beginning of the weirdness at the school, especially on the thirteenth floor, where things are always a little bit odd. Perfect for a reader who enjoys their fair share of goofiness.

  • The Boxcar Children

    by Gertrude Chandler Warner , illustrated by L. Kate Deal

    I read all the originals and many of the books that followed when I was a child, and now my own daughter absolutely loves this series. I really like that the siblings all get along well and work together. Plus, there are just PLENTY of titles, so if your child loves them, you’ll be able to keep them stocked for ages.

  • The Doll People

    by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, illustrated by Brian Selznick

    Life as a doll is pretty dull. It’s the same people, the same house, and the same life, day after day, year after year. Except that 45 years ago, Annabelle's Auntie Sarah disappeared without a trace. And when Annabelle, bored and restless, discovers her Aunt’s diary, she is determined to solve the mystery.

  • Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye

    by Geronimo Stilton

    Most of the time, Geronimo Stilton lives a quiet life editing The Rodent's Gazette. But when his sister finds a secret treasure map, Geronimo finds himself off on the adventure of a lifetime. This series is fast-paced and fun, plus the illustrations and text are done in full-color with plenty of differing fonts and types, making the reading experience just as delightful as the story.

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox

    by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

    When is Roald Dahl not a good idea? This book is a quick read and hilariously funny. (Penguin has just released new audio versions of Roald Dahl’s books and this one is particularly excellent, if you have a child who would rather listen than read.)