Fourth grade is a great year to be a reader. Once children reach a fourth grade reading level, the quality and complexity of the stories they can read really takes off. Whenever I do family read alouds, I love to choose books that have a fourth of fifth grade reading level, because they can often be fully understood by the younger kids and still thoroughly entertaining for the big kids and adults. Below are some suggestions based on what our family has found to be the best book series for fourth grade.
Note that these fourth grade books are targeted at 9 and 10 year olds. However, remember that all children are different. Whatever your child’s age, they will have the most success if you find books that are at or just above their current reading level.
Fourth Grade Book Series
Bear Grylls Adventures
I have a friend that sells Usborne books and we were lucky enough to have her introduce us to the Bear Grylls series. We definitely are a family that like nature and being outdoors, but I think any kid would enjoy this series. Not only does it involve fun, exciting, often dangerous adventures, but they indirectly teach kids survival skill as well.
Baby Sitters Club
When I was in elementary school, I read the entire Baby Sitters Club series. It is such an addictive book series for little girls. I LOVED these books as a kid. I know that they are not considered high quality literature, but they are wholesome and entertaining and I turned out just fine. When my daughter was a toddler, I purchased several of these books used from bookstores and off Ebay. It brings me great pleasure to watch my daughter enjoying these books in her bed at night. (If your daughter likes Baby Sitters Club, also be on the lookout for used copies of Sweet Valley Twins.)
The very first book in the Boxcar Children series was one of my favorite books as a kid. All my children enjoyed it as a read-aloud as well. I feel like this is one of those series that my oldest child skipped over just because he advanced so quickly and got completely sucked up by Harry Potter. However, if you are looking for books at this reading level, this is a fun, wholesome entertaining series definitely worth trying.
I am currently reading the first book in this Percy Jackson series as a read-aloud. My 8 and 10 year olds are completely mesmerized. They never want me to stop reading. My husband and I think it’s entertaining as well. It’s a little over my 5 year old’s head, but he sticks around when I read. I am combining it with D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths (a fantastic book). My plan was originally to pass off the rest of the box set to my oldest child after I finish, but my 8 year old likes it so much, I may end up reading the next book aloud as well.
I loved Encyclopedia Brown as a kid. Before my oldest was quite up to this reading level, he and I used to read these stories together. Since each book contains multiple mysteries, you can get through a whole case in under 20 minutes. Some of the stories are a little dated and I would have to explain to him what certain things meant, but overall they hold up pretty well. My son outgrow his detective phase before he hit this reading level, but if you have a child interested in mysteries, this could be a perfect fit.
The books in this Catwings series are relatively short, but the language is more complex than easy readers. It would be a great option for kids who have the ability to read at a fourth grade level, but haven’t really built up much endurance for long novels. I did the first book in this series as a read-aloud in only a couple sittings. Ursula K. Leguin is one of my favorite authors. I love her books for young adults and adults, so I was very happy to be able to introduce my kids to her at a young age.
I can still remember reading The Face on the Milk Carton as a kid. I think I might have been a little older than fourth grade, but I thought the story was riveting. Since this Janie Johnson series was being written as I was growing up, I never read past the second book, but I will definitely be introducing them to my daughter when the time is right. I might even read them along with her. After all these years, I want to know what happened to Janie Johnson!
Choose Your Own Adventure
When I was a little kid, my much older and much cooler cousin, Chris, introduced me to the Choose Your Own Adventure series. I can still remember sitting on his bedroom floor and him reading a story to me and explaining how the books worked. It blew. my. mind. When I was old enough to read, I loved these books as much as he did. I’ve picked up a number of these over the years at used bookstores and now my fourth grader can enjoy them as well. They aren’t necessarily high quality literature, but they are definitely fun. They can be read in any order.