5 Recommended Read Aloud Chapter Books for Year 3 (Age 7-8)
I love reading aloud to my class and always make reading a priority. Alongside a healthy, varied diet of picture books and poetry every day, we also have several chapter books which we read over a few weeks in the classroom, as well as other books that we read as a whole class during Reading Lessons. In the Spring Term we focus on non-fiction books and in the Summer Term we focus on playscripts. Reading is central in my classroom and in my school and I count myself a success as a teacher if I can enthuse children about reading and have them leaving my class looking to go on to discover even more books that they will love! Year 3/ P4 (Age 7-8) can be a tricky age range to choose books for as you ill often have a wide range of reading abilities and interests in the class.
I could go on forever about all of the wonderful books out there which you can read to your class, but here are a few perennial favourites to read aloud, some of which probably need no introduction:
The Twits by Roald Dahl
How do you outwit a Twit?
Mr. and Mrs. Twit are the smelliest, nastiest, ugliest people in the world. They hate everything—except playing mean jokes on each other, catching innocent birds to put in their Bird Pies, and making their caged monkeys, the Muggle-Wumps, stand on their heads all day. But the Muggle-Wumps have had enough. They don’t just want out, they want revenge.
This is a classic for a reason. It is absolutely delicious to read-aloud, even as the children chuckle in a slight scandalised way as Mr and Mrs Twist play increasingly horrible pranks on each other and call each other names. This is one of the first books I read with my Year 3 class every year and I am always surprised, firstly, by how few of them have actually already read it and, by how many of them go on to read lots more Roald Dahl afterwards.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Mildred Hubble is a trainee witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy, and she’s making an awful mess of it. She’s always getting her spells wrong and she can’t even ride a broomstick without crashing it. Will she ever make a real witch?
This is one of my favourite books and is also an excellent choice for reading aloud to a Year 3 class. Mildred Hubble is instantly loveable and I often find that children in my class go on to read the whole series of books after I have read this one aloud. It has been interesting to me how many boys in my class have devoured this series, after admitting that they probably wouldn’t initially have picked it up because of the girl on the cover (the fact that a picture of a girl on the cover of a book puts them off when a boy on the ocver doesn’t often put the girls off reading a book is a completely separate issue…)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
They open a door and enter a world
NARNIA…the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy…the place where the adventure begins. Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the Magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever.
This is a brilliant read-aloud for the last part of the Autumn/Winter term with all of the lovely descriptions of snow falling, the Ice Queen and Father Christmas making an appearance. One thing I realised when reading this aloud to my class last year, is just how much of the book is taken up with descriptions of food, something it has in common with many children’s books of the same era. The children don’t just sit down to tea, instead three pages are spent lovingly describing the butter melting on freshly-toasted crumpets and the delectable chunks of Turkish delight that tempt Edmund to betray his siblings. I thought that my class might become restless with these ages of description, but they were hooked! Read this one right before lunch to get everyone’s mouths watering!
You’re a Bad Man Mr Gum by Andy Stanton
The beginning of a weird, wacky, one in a million series about the plight of the truly nasty Mr Gum and a crazy cast of characters—a cross between Roald Dahl and Monty Python.
Mr Gum is a truly nasty old man. He’s a complete horror who hates children, animals, fun, and corn on the cob. This book’s all about him. And an angry fairy who lives in his bathtub. And Jake the dog, and a little girl named Polly, and an evil, stinky butcher all covered in guts. And there are heroes and sweets and adventures and everything.
This book is absolutely bonkers and, as such, is great fun to read aloud…although you might want to do it when there aren’t any other adults in the room because you really have to fully commit to the silliness to enjoy this book to its fullest. I have read this book with several Year 3 classes now and it has always been a massive hit, despite or perhaps because of the fact that it is impossible to know what is going to happen next…and just when you think you have guessed it, the story swerves in an unexpected way. This book has led to lots of children continuing the series, as well as my principal enquiring, rather bemusedly, why some of my pupils have been shouting, “The truth is a lemon meringue!” in the playground!
The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd and Sara Oglivie
When Tomas discovers a strange old tree at the bottom of his grandad’s garden, he doesn’t think much of it. But he takes the funny fruit from the tree back into the house – and gets the shock and delight of his life when a tiny dragon hatches! The tree is a dragonfruit tree, and Tomas has got his very own dragon, Flicker …
Tomas soon finds out that life with Flicker is great fun, but also very … unpredictable. Yes, dragons are wonderful, but they also set fire to your toothbrush and leave your pants hanging from the TV aerial. Tomas has to learn how to look after Flicker – and quickly. And then something extraordinary happens – more dragonfruits appear on the tree. Tomas is officially growing dragons …
This is a more recently-published book than others on this list (did you know that The Worst Witch was published in 1974?! That made me feel young!) but it is an absolute stonker. I initially picked it up from my local library as I love anything about dragons, and I have since read the rest of the series (three published so far, but two more confirmed to be on the way) and really enjoyed it. Pupils in my class have loved the magic of finding a dragon fruit tree, the relationship between and his grandfather and the descriptions of each dragon, as well as the inevitable sniggers when it comes to the tricky fact that dragon poo becomes explosive as it dries out! Sara Oglivie’s illustrations don’t just complement the text, but really add to it, especially when there are sneaky details in the illustrations which aren’t mentioned in the text…great for visual literacy as well as for making predictions and inferring character’s feelings.
Reading the first book in a series is a great way to introduce readers to potential goldmines of books as they can reread the first book themselves after having it read to them, then continue with the series, helping to build confidence in reading as well as introducing them to further books and authors as they explore similar books.
I could go on introducing recommended read aloud chapter books for Year 3 for a long time, but I will keep it to five for today.
Which other books would you recommend to read-aloud to Year 3?
Have you read any books on this list with your class or your children?
How do you make reading a priority in your classroom or home?
See more recommended books for Year 3:
Thanks for reading!