Finding great books for advanced readers can be hard. It’s a balancing act between choosing a text that is challenging enough and develops reading skills but also finding books that are age-appropriate.
When choosing books for advanced readers, it is also important to remember that reading isn’t just about fluency and being able to decode difficult words.
What’s the point of reading if the reader doesn’t understand? That is why it is essential for advanced readers to also focus on their comprehension and inference skills.
With this in mind, sometimes it is beneficial to give advanced readers a text they can read fluently but provide them with comprehension questions that stretch and challenge them.
So we have devised a list of the best books for advanced 3rd grade readers. Some of the listed books challenge readers on a fluency level and others are books that can be used that can be used to test the comprehension skills of your students.
1. The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System
This book is one of the best books for advanced 3rd grade readers because it offers good levels of challenge at a decoding/fluency level and is also the perfect text to test understanding and comprehension.
The book joins a class as they take a field trip on the Magic School Bus to outer space. The book teachers students scientific facts all about space which makes it a good book to test comprehension. Plus, the subject specific vocab relating to the solar system also provides challenging words to decode.
2. Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds #1
Cam Jansen is a girl with a sense for justice. In this first book Cam witnesses a robbery and watches as the police arrest the wrong person. It is down to Cam to right the wrong.
For advanced 3rd grade readers, the text in the book should be more than manageable. This means they can practise reading with fluency, pace and style, without worrying about pausing to decode challenging words.
Another reason this book makes our best book for advanced 3rd graders is the fact that it is part of a series. Reading book series can help develop a love of reading and to remain an advanced reader kids must first of all want to continue reading.
3. Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery
Bunnicula is an amusing story that involves a curious bunny, a suspicious cat, and a dog fed up of being caught in the middle.
When a family discovers and adopts a seemingly innocent bunny, Chester their pet cat begins to notice some bizarre goings-on. Harold, their dog soon tires of Chester’s jealous obsession with the cute innocent bunny. So, Chester is left alone to convince his family they are in danger.
This book is great for advanced 3rd grade readers as they have the opportunity to explore character emotion and the bizarre happenings are a way to test their prediction skills. Have students realised and picked up on the subtle clues about the mysterious bunny?
4. The Complete 8-Book Ramona Collection
Written by the well-known author Beverly Cleary. These books are some of the best books for 3rd graders thanks to the way Cleary writes.
She writes with students and teachers in mind. Dropping in interesting and taxing vocabulary whilst at the same time ensuring her books can still be enjoyed by independent readers.
The Ramona 8-Book Collection, all feature the main character Ramona. The books centre on school life, making it instantly relatable to 3rd grade students. In the books, Ramona talks about her bossy big sister, adjustments to new teachers and her occasional run in with school bullies. Her stories are funny, loveable and at times embarrassing!
5. Out from Boneville
Out of Boneville is a graphic novel with a very strange choice of characters, 3 bone cousins.
The 3 Bone cousins are lost and separated in a desert. The book follows their quest to reunite. They come across some terrifying characters hidden amongst a forest in which they must cross before being reunited on Gran’ma Ben farm, where they also meet her strong willed granddaughter Thorn. But little do they know this is just the beginning of their adventures.
With its unusual theme and choice of characters, advanced 3rd grade readers will have a lot to question and discuss about the book. Also, the fact it is a graphic novel is great too. Although we often associate advanced readers with reading prose style novels, it is really important that 3rd graders get an opportunity to experience writing in as many formats as possible.
6. Nancy Drew Complete Series Set
The Nancy Drew series has made it onto our list of best books for advanced 3rd graders because they are great books for readers to practice their inference skills.
Nancy Drew is a girl with a nose for solving mysteries. The series is packed full of bizarre happenings and curious characters. The subtle clues give readers the perfect opportunity to practice inference and comprehension skills.
Nancy Drew has been a popular fictional character for generations. Since the original creator of Nancy Drew passed away there have been multiple ghost authors who have kept the character alive.
As a result there are around 64 titles in the Nancy Drew collection. Another reason why this book series is great for advanced readers, as it builds stamina and provides them with enough material to really get stuck into.
7. Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon
Told in the voice of Amber Brown, who is a witty, out-spoken and humorous 3rd grader. The 1st person narrative and the similarity in age makes this book an instantly relatable read for 3rd graders.
For advanced readers it is also a chance to experience a book that is written in the characters voice. And, with that comes the chance to read with expression, tone and intonation. Hence why we feel that the book is worthy of a place of the best books for 3rd graders.
The story follows Amber Brown and her friendship with Justin Daniels. It covers the ups and downs of friendship. From best friends to bickering pals, can they patch things up? Plenty of dilemmas for readers to discuss and think about and also a healthy amount of rumour. This book is a well balanced read for 3rd grade readers.
8. Wayside School Boxed Set
An instantly funny book from the get-go. As soon as readers learn that Wayside School was built the wrong way up, they will be hooked. Yep, that’s right the builder got it wrong and built 30 classrooms one on top of the other.
It is not only the building that is a little weird… the students and teachers have plenty of quirks too.
For Advanced readers, the character descriptions will test their ability to read and build images in their imaginations, and will get a chance to lose themselves in the abstract descriptions these books hold.
Luckily, these books are a series of 3 so, once they have finished book one, readers can continue the fun for a little while longer.
9. My Weirder School 12-Book Box Set
This is another series about a strange school and with 12 books in this box set it will keep your 3rd grade readers occupied for a while.
The text in the book should be easy to read for most 3rd grade readers but the writer has thrown in the occasional word that they will need to use their decoding skills on. Therefore, we feel this book is a good mix of practising reading fluency and learning to decode.
When choosing a text for 3rd grade readers, they should be able to comfortably read the majority of words in the book. Otherwise, their reading will become too ‘stop-start’ and this is no good for practising fluency and will not help them with the comprehension of the text. Hence why, the My Weirder School series has made it onto the list of best books for advanced 3rd grade readers.
10. The Adventures of Captain Underpants
Boys reluctance to read and write is a widely studied topic in the world of education and for teachers it is an ongoing battle to engage boys with these core literacy skills.
Studies have found that reluctance to read is sometimes unconnect to ability. So, regardless of whether your 3rd grade boys are beginner, intermediate or advanced level readers sometimes they just don’t dig reading.
This is why it is so important to engage boys with books that appeal to them. We hope The Adventures of Captain Underpants will grab their attention, it certainly has done for many boys in the past.
Silly superhero adventure stories written as a hilarious graphic novel. Both the stories and their comic book layout will attract boys and offer an alternative for teachers who are desperately searching for engaging books.
11. The Worlds Worst Children
When choosing books for advanced readers, teachers often make the mistake of searching for a nice long novel for their students to get stuck into. But, despite having advanced reading skills, we must remember that our students are still only 8-9 year olds. Their attention and concentration is still developing and while meaty novels are great for ‘getting lost in’, young readers do quite literally get lost if a book is too long and complicated.
The World’s Worst Children is a collection of short stories that offer a good amount of reading challenge and the short stories make them perfect for 3rd grade readers.
The book is worthy of a place on our best books for advanced 3rd grade readers not only for the reasons mentioned above. But also because it is downright hilarious! Written by British comedian David Walliams, this book will be guaranteed to have your 3rd graders in fits of laughter.
12. Chronicles of Narnia
We know that every student is different so while some may enjoy short stories as the ones mentioned above in the previous entry, others may also enjoy those more meaty novels.
We have decided to include the Chronicles of Narnia on our list of best books for advanced 3rd graders. Firstly, kids love the story and secondly the books do offer a lot of reading challenge.
The plot is more complex compared to other books for 3rd graders and there are plenty of characters to meet amongst the pages. This means students will have to have a high level of comprehension in order to follow along.
It could be an idea to read this book alongside your 3rd grades, to take a moment to reflect and summarise the things that have happened along the way.
13. Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Reading poetry is an art form. Getting the rhythm and flow of a poem just right takes practise and skill.
So, to challenge your advanced readers we have included this anthology of Revolting Rhymes written by the renowned author Roald Dahl.
The rhymes and poems include familiar characters from traditional tales such as The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.
As with all of Dahl’s writing, the poems spring to life and are very amusing to read.
Great for kids to learn the art of reading for performance. Maybe you could organise a class poetry recital.
14. Harry Potter Box Set
The Harry Potter books are fabulous for advanced 3rd grade readers. They are world famous, so we probably don’t need to convince you that the storyline and characters are a big hit with kids and adults.
But, on an educational level, the books offer a great opportunity for readers to practise their decoding skills.
Many of the wizarding words in the books have been created by the author J.K. Rowling. As a result, kids will need to rely on their phonics knowledge to read and pronounce some of the unusual wizard words.
The books also seem to become more challenging to read and follow as the series goes on. Making them great for developing reading skills.
15. The Guinness Book of Records
What kid doesn’t love trawling through these books of weird and wonderful world records?
With world records of every variety, shape and size, the opportunities to learn new vocabulary seem endless.
Also, the way the books are displayed introduces readers to a new layout which they must navigate as they read.
If we could give a world record for the most loved non-fiction book, The Guiness World Record Books would definitely be in the running… but we can’t. So, instead we have awarded them a place on our list of best books for advanced 3rd grade readers.
16. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
We have chosen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a best book for advanced 3rd graders. One, because it is a great story. And, two, because it is written by Roald Dahl.
Really, most of Dahl’s books are great for advanced readers and this is thanks to the techniques he uses in his writing which inform the reader how it should be read.
Dahl is able to convey pace in his writing which readers will notice as they read. He also develops characters in a spectacular way. When they speak it is almost as though you are hearing them. He does this using various writing techniques. And, learning how to read his books as he has intended, is a fun challenge for an advanced reader.
17. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Whether your kids are beginner or advanced readers, finding books that they can relate to is a useful tactic when trying to develop their reading skills.
Comprehension is a major skill in reading. And, if children are faced with books that have no relatable context or topics, they will find it hard to practise comprehension skills. Sometimes, giving them something familiar allows them to hone those vital comprehension skills.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid follows the life of school boy Greg. His thoughts, feelings and mishaps are all things that kids should have some understanding of. And therefore, they should be able to discuss and ponder the books more deeply, leading to a better level of comprehension.
18. Percy Jackson Collection
Yes, relatable topics and familiarity are great to help kids understand what they are reading. But the fantasy genre is also great fun to read and helps engage their imaginations as they work through the pages.
Percy Jackson is a series of books based on a heroic boy and some recognisable characters from Greek myths.
So, if your advanced readers have enjoyed some of the traditional Greek tales they will be sure to enjoy these modern day twists too.
19. Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems
As we mentioned earlier, poetry is a great way to challenge advanced readers. Finding the rhythm and flow can be tricky. But this anthology adds yet another level of complexity into the mix.
All the poems included in this book are shape poems. Students will be tasked with navigating the text, quite literally. Turning this way and that way as they read the collection of beautifully written and drawn poems.
It’s another chance to experience text written in a different way and great opportunity to stretch advanced readers.
20. The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs
Instructional texts introduce readers to yet another style of text layout and contain specific vocabulary relating to niche topics.
We have chosen this cookery book to feature on our list of best books for advanced 3rd graders because learning to read recipes is a useful skill for the real world.
The book contains a whole load of delicious baking ideas from savoury to sweet options. It will be great fun for your 3rd graders to advance their reading skills without even realising.
21. Martin’s Big Words
This biography book is a great alternative to fiction novels. Told in narrative form but packed full of factual information. It is all about the life of Martin Luther King and it tells his inspiring and empowering story.
Aside from being just simply a great book, biographies are also a great way for teachers to test their students ability to absorb information as they read.
So for advanced readers looking for something a little different and for teachers looking for a way to test students comprehension and attention while reading, this book and other biographies are perfect.
Our list of best books for advanced 3rd grader readers was designed to give you a broad choice of options in terms of genre and skill development. We hope that you will find it useful in your quest to stretch and challenge your advanced readers.
But, before we leave you to start trawling the shelves of your local bookstore just remember…
Above all else, reading should be enjoyable and forcing kids to read books they don’t enjoy could hinder their progress and damage their love of reading. So, please, let them be part of the decision making too!