Suggested Reading & Research Sites

Did you know that this study by Renaissance found that students who read just an extra 6 minutes every day jumped from struggling readers to at or above benchmark? This drastic change happened in the course of one school year, or a total of 8 – 9 months.

Furthermore, a study of more than 9.9 million students found that those students who read 15 minutes or more per day made rapid improvement in literacy skills. And those students who read for over a half-hour to an hour saw the greatest increase in literacy gains.

Image result for children reading

Below are 30 incredible book series for boys and girls ages 8-14, which correspond to US grades 4-8 Reading levels.  Series are great, especially for reluctant readers, because if you can find one you like, chances are you will want to start on the next one as soon as you’ve finished the first.

We have many of these series books in the St. Francis School Library!  Come in and check them out!

The Princess Tales (3 book series). Each book in this series is a compilation of fairy tale retelling by Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted. Readers can expect fun and funny new twists on familiar princess tales. Grades 3-5.

The Penderwicks (4 book series). A charming modern classic about four motherless sisters, their absent-minded professor father, and their exploits and misadventures. Lighthearted, warm, and just plain fun. Grades 3-6.

The Great Brain (8 book series). J.D.’s older brother Tom is known as “The Great Brain” around town because he’s always conning the other kids into doing his chores or giving them his prized possessions. Set in Utah in the early 1900’s, these boys have plenty of adventures and get into plenty of trouble. Grades 3-6.

Tuesdays at the Castle (3 book series). Every Tuesday, the castle changes: adding a new room or hallway or an entire wing, and the only person who keeps track is Princess Celia. When her parents go missing, will she be able to use her knowledge of the castle’s every twist and turn to find them? Grades 3-6.

Charlie Bone (7 book series). When Charlie starts hearing voices, he thinks he’s going crazy, but he isn’t: he can hear the voices of people in photographs. His unusual power lands him in an elite school for the magically gifted. Grades 3-7.

Inkheart (3 book series). Meggie’s father can make books come to life–literally. When he reads aloud from a book called Inkheart the villains appear in his world, while Meggie’s mother gets trapped in theirs. Grades 3-7.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (4 book series). On his 13th birthday Alcatraz receives a bag of sand from his long-lost parents, and on the next day, his grandfather arrives to tell him why the sand is important and how it will help him defeat the evil librarians, who have taken over society. Grades 3-7.

Spirit Animals (8 book series). In the world of Erdas, each 11-year-old child must discover if he or she has a spirit animal, a bond between human and beast that brings great power. Four children and their animals must work together to save the world. Grades 3-7.

Pegasus (5 book series). When Emily meets a pegasus who has crashed during a storm, she is thrust into a battle between Roman gods and stone warriors. She ends up on a quest to save Mount Olympus. Grades 4-6.

Magyk (7 book series). Septimus Heap disappears the night he is born, and his father brings home an abandoned baby girl on the very same day. The heaps raise the girl as their own, but who is she really, and whatever happened to Septimus? Grades 4-7.

Kingdom Keepers (7 book series). Thanks to new technology, five teens are transformed into holograms to direct people through Walt Disney World. When it turns out that Disney villains are threatening the park, the teens must figure out how to save The Magic Kingdom. Grades 4-8.

The Chronicles of Narnia (7 book series). Four bored children stumble through an old wardrobe into a magical land in the midst of an eternal winter. Can they save the friends they make there from the witch who rules the land? This classic series hasn’t lost any of its appeal. Grades 4-8.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians (5 book series). Percy’s always had trouble at school, but now that his algebra teacher’s turned into a monster and is trying to kill him things are just getting worse. Soon Percy finds out who he really is and sets out on a quest to the Underworld to prevent a war between the gods. Grades 4-8.

The Chronicles of Prydain (The Black Cauldron – 5 book series). This timeless fantasy series begins when Taran, a lowly pig keeper, has a run in with a sinister horned rider. He’s joined by a minstrel, and princess, and furry little Gurgi in a quest to save Prydain. Grades 4-8.

Among the Hidden (7 book series). In a future where only 2 children are allowed, third child Luke spends his life hidden in an attic, until one day he discovers he may not be the only one in his situation. Is he willing to defy the government for a different kind of life? Grades 5-8.

Hatchet (5 book series). Brian is stranded in the Canadian wilderness after the pilot of the small plane he’s on has a heart attack and dies. He deals with questions of survival as he struggles with his feelings about his parents’ recent divorce. Grades 5-8.

Princess Academy (2 book series). Miri never expected to live anywhere but her small village on a mountain, but when the king’s priests decide she may be a candidate to marry the prince, she is sent to princess academy, where she must prove herself and save her friends. Grades 5-8.

Ranger’s Apprentice (12 book series). When 15-year-old Will is chosen as an apprentice to the mysterious rangers, he doesn’t realize they protect the entire kingdom. And the biggest battle of all is about to arrive. Grade 5-8.

Anne of Green Gables (7 book series). Precocious orphan Anne ends up with elder brother and sister Marilla and Matthew by mistake, but they decide to keep her anyway. Anne’s heart is in the right place, but her imagination can’t be tamed so she makes mistakes and gets into scrapes almost daily. Charming and funny. Grades 5-8

Stranded (3 book series). Four kids who are thrown together as a family as a result of their parents’ marriage are sent sailing, with the plan that they’ll get to know each other better. But they don’t expect to be stranded together on an island when the boat capsizes. Grades 5-8.

Far World (3 book series). Marcus travels to Farworld, a place where everyone has magic, except Marcus’ new friend Kyja. The two friends must work together to defeat the Dark Circle and save Farworld. Grades 5-8.

A Wrinkle in Time (5 book series). Meg’s father disappears while doing secret work for the government, and a mysterious stranger appears with information for Meg. She travels through space and time with the help of her little brother Charles Wallace and new friend Calvin to try to save her father. Grades 5-8.

Peter and the Starcatchers (5 book series). This fast-paced pirate adventure tells the story before the story of Peter Pan, filling in all the questions you never knew you had: where did pixie dust come from and how did Peter get to Neverland in the first place? Lots of swashbuckling action, humor, and a great story. Grades 5-8.

The Mysterious Benedict Society (3 book series). Children respond to an ad in the newspaper to take mind-bending tests; the few who pass are sent on a mysterious mission. Expect riddles, villains, and adventures. Grades 5-8.

Holes (2 book series). Cole is unjustly sent to a youth detention center, where the warden makes the boys spend their days digging holes in the desert. The plot thickens when Stanley realizes they aren’t digging just for punishment: the warden is looking for something… Grades 5-8.

Warriors (6 book series). Rusty’s an ordinary housecat looking for adventure. He finds it when he joins the ThunderClan, a group of warrior cats. The ThunderClan is in danger from a rival clan, and Rusty (renamed Firepaw) must do what he can to help his new family. Grades 5-8.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (5 book series). The incorrigible children in this book were found roaming the woods on Ashton place (they actually were raised by wolves!), and it’s up to their young governess (Penelope, age 15) to teach them manners, geography, and Latin. But what else is lurking on the edge of the estate? Grades 5-8.

The House with a Clock in it’s Walls (and at least 10 other John Bellairs mysteries). All the Bellairs mysteries are deliciously creepy adventures set in places like haunted castles or mansions with secret passageways and feature evil wizards, mummies, and more. Spooky and fun! Grades 6-8.

Dragon Slippers (3 book series). When Creel’s aunt decides to sacrifice her to a dragon (in hopes a handsome knight will come and save her), Creel doesn’t know she’ll end up with treasure from the dragon’s hoard, a pair of blue slippers. But the slippers are more than they seem, and it may be up to Creel to save the entire kingdom. Grades 6-8.

Tripods (3 book series). Huge three-legged machines control the earth and nearly everyone on it. 13-year-old Will Parker never thought he’d be the one to start the revolution, but that’s what he’s about to do. Grades 6-8.

Research Help

Fact Monster Online Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Homework Help –

Electronic Library for Minnesota

Britannica Elementary:

Britannica Middle School:

Hennepin County Library Homework Help

Library of Congress American Memories:

Hennepin County Library –

Presidents –

Make a Bibliography:

Another Bibliography creator:


Helpful Sites for State Research: 

Elementary Research Databases (several choices):
Library of Congress “Explore the States“:
Census Bureau State Info for Kids:
Fact Monster – States
Learn About the States from USA GOV:


Authors and Illustrators:

Jan Brett:

Eric Carle:

Tomie DePaola:

Dr. Seuss:

Mo Willems:

Great Author and Illustrator Websites:


Finding Good Books: