Popular Books for Third Graders

Popular Books for Third Graders that are Timeless

Third graders are at the crossroads of their elementary reading journey as they transition from picture books in junior school to chapter books in middle school.

Whether they are a young boy or a young girl, there is always a perfect book (or series of books) that taps into their passions and fuels their love of reading. This article will explore the best chapter books for 3rd graders to add to your classroom library.

We have selected five can’t-miss third grade chapter books that have sold hundreds of millions of copies because they are beautifully crafted narratives that tell unique stories that are sure to engage and inspire students at the third-grade level.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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When Roald Dahl wrote this book in 1964, it became an instant classic telling the story of a young Charlie Bucket as the main character touring the Amazing chocolate factory with Mr Willy Wonka. The story works like the levels of a video game as the main character, Charlie, outlasts the other children around him as they spend a day of imagination, wonder and risk inside the bowels of the Wonka Factory.

The story has many themes to explore based on bad parenting and being humble and gracious, making it a great choice to read aloud to a class and discuss these as well as an independent read.

This classic chapter book is still timeless and has two film adaptations that are vastly different from each other. They are great resources to tap into when comparing and contrasting the message and delivery of the story to diverse audiences.

We have a complete Charlie and the Chocolate Factory teaching unit for you here.

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The Harry Potter Series

The adventures of Harry Potter span seven books that grow in maturity and complexity as the story unfolds. This popular book series follows the adventures of good friends Harry, Ron and Hermione at Hogwarts school of magic, facing rising adversity, mystery and experience as they uncover the truth about Harry’s past along the way. These books appeal to young readers, and the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is an excellent gateway into the world of Hogwarts and a good choice for reluctant readers that will hook many students into reading the entire series.

As most students will have already encountered the films, they can also use the books to expand their understanding of the story prior or use it as a comparative tool after reading.

Geronimo Stilton Series

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Everyone loves adventure stories, and Geronimo Stilton provides a slightly easier entry point for grade three students to uncover mystery, suspense, Heroes, villains, bad guys and more. These books tell the tale of a mouse sharing his adventures of daring as a collection of memoirs. It is one of the best books on this book list for younger readers who still want to tap into anamorphic characters (In this case, a mouse.) but want a strong story and a variety of plot options.

With over 80 books in this popular series, this massive collection of short stories provides a great way to build confidence in reading before stepping up to some of the more challenging books in our list here.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox

It is no surprise that Roald Dahl returns to our list with yet another excellent book for grade 3 students. This popular book tells the story of the ultra Charismatic Mr Fox as he tries to outwit the local farmers in his area who wish to see him dead. It is a quintessentially British story that today’s children still adore as it describes in detail the creativity and drive of Mr Fox in his battle to outwit the evil trio of Boggis, Bunce and Bean.

You cannot help but root for him and his friends as he tackles what seems like an impossible quest for survival and intellectual edge against all odds.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is not lengthy and can be quite easily read by a whole class in around a week before exploring the excellent animated version of the story created by Wes Anderson, which is also highly recommended.

Charlotte’s Web

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No list of favorite books could be complete without the timeless tale of a pig and his best friend, Charlotte, who happens to be a spider and demonstrates that friendship and selflessness make the world a better place. An assortment of human and animal characters bounce off these new friends, which will allow students to make a strong connection between the text and the real world.

Set in rural USA in the 1950s, this great book does a beautiful job of creating a fantastic setting, characters and plot that blends all the story elements into one of the most classic books of all time.

Again there is an excellent live-action version of this film which also holds tightly to the original story.


These Charlotte’s Web lesson plans, teaching guides and activities come with complete instructions for teachers and students.

It includes answer keys covering all aspects of one of the world’s most popular books. OVER 70 PAGES of great teaching resources for FREE.

So there it is… Our top 5 books for Third-grade students can easily be found in your local library or classroom.

Some other Honourable Mentions that didn’t make our top five are.

  • Stuart Little
  • Boxcar Children
  • The Nancy Drew Series
  • Pippi Longstocking
  • Anne of Green Gables

All 3rd-grade teachers should make time for some of these in the school year as they provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about your students and what they love about reading.

If you are looking for more reading strategies and teaching ideas from us, check out all our reading resources here.