First Grade Reading Book List

As we wrap up this year of school, looking back on our first grade reading book list gives me all the feels. Whether you homeschool or choose an alternative learning method for your family, I believe having these books available to read will only enrich your child’s education as well as your connection with them. Ambleside Online is the main source we rely on for the bulk of our curriculum. The book list is simply phenomenal. I often learn right alongside my seven year old many things I was never taught in public school. It is a lot of fun to go back and learn new things!

Charlotte Mason

While talking about our choice to homeschool, the main style we rely on often comes up in conversation. I find that not many people know what the “Charlotte Mason Philosophy” is. There are so many beautiful ways of teaching and learning that exist. You may have heard of Classical education, or perhaps Montessori and Waldorf. Unschooling seems to have also gained some traction, especially for large families. Charlotte Mason is the method we have aligned the most with. However, we also enjoy many aspects of multiple philosophies like the ones I’ve just mentioned.

Charlotte Mason…was a British educator and reformer in England at the turn of the twentieth century. She proposed to base the education of children upon a wide and liberal curriculum. She was inspired by the writings of the Bible, John Amos ComeniusMatthew Arnold and John Ruskin.


“We may not make character our conscious objective,” she wrote, but she believed that parents and teachers should “Provide a child with what he needs in the way of instruction, opportunity, and wholesome occupation, and his character will take care of itself: for normal children are persons of good will, with honest desires toward right thinking and right living. All we can do further is to help a child to get rid of some hindrance––a bad temper, for example––likely to spoil his life.”


Two key mottos taken from those principles are “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life” and “Education is the science of relations.” She believed that children were born persons and should be respected as such; they should also be taught the Way of the Will and the Way of Reason. Her motto for students was “I am, I can, I ought, I will.”


Ambleside Online

This first grade reading book list comes from the curriculum we utilize throughout the year called Ambleside Online. It’s a (free, and so amazing) Charlotte Mason based curriculum that relies heavily on learning through reading. It also facilitates spending loads of time outside. Not an easy task in the very humid south we currently reside in. (Typing this after just coming inside from trying my best to work in our garden in July in the middle of the afternoon…I don’t recommend that.) We may not get in the minimum six hours a day mid summer, but we do our best.

first grade reading

Living Books

Mason placed great emphasis on the reading of high-quality literature, and coined the phrase “living books” to denote those writings that “spark the imagination of the child through the subject matter.


Ambleside’s booklist consists of these books referenced in the quote above. “Living Books” are the books our home is filled with. High-quality literature is something I could have only dreamed of having more readily available and encouraged to dive into as a child. Some of these books are certainly tougher to read than your average picture book. If you start now, you can facilitate a love for beautiful literature that basic modern books pale to compare with. Kids are way more capable than I dared to believe at hearing stories told in various different ways from classic books and authors.

First Grade Reading Book List

Without further ado, here are the lists! All of the books in bold are the ones we did not get around to reading this year, or that we didn’t finish cover to cover per reading requirements.

Free Reads

  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • King of the Golden River by John Ruskin
  • Peter Pan by James M. Barrie
  • Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  • The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
  • St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Pocahontas by Ingri D’Aulaire

History and Tales

  • 50 Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin
  • Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall
  • Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History by Richard M. Hannula
  • Benjamin Franklin by Ingri D’Aulaire
  • George Washington by Ingri D’Aulaire
  • Buffalo Bill by Ingri D’Aulaire

Natural History

  • The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess
  • Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling
  • James Herriot Treasury for Children by James Herriot

Literature and Tales

  • Aesop’s Favorite Fables by Milo Winter
  • Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty
  • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  • The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
  • Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit and Arthur Rackham


  • A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • When We Were Very Young (Winnie-the-Pooh) by A.A. Milne and Ernest H. Shepard
  • Now We Are Six (Winnie-the-Pooh) by A.A. Milne and Ernest H. Shepard
  • The Oxford Book of Children’s Verse by Iona and Peter Opie
first grade reading

First Grade Reading with Children

It’s not always the easiest to slow down enough to read out of a stack of books each day. However, I’ve found a lot of rest in cuddling up on the couch with at least one little man in this house for his first grade reading. Sometimes there’s a 4 year old nearby, giving his best at narrating like his big brother does. He often even points out things my first grader misses. Other times my year and a half old is climbing up in the middle of it. I know this season won’t always be, so I try to enjoy it, interruptions and all.

I hope this book list will help you on your next library trip, or adds to your home library if you decide to purchase them for yourself!

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