Our Charlotte Mason/Classical 1st Grade Reading List

As I mentioned in this post about our revised 1st grade curriculum, the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling is playing a major role in how we’re learning this year. In particular, we’re reading lots of living books.

What is a living book?

Simply put, a “living book” is a book that makes the subject come alive. Think the opposite of your typical school text book, which is dry, dull, unimaginative, full of facts but not apt to draw you in to the topic and leave you thirsting for more.

By contrast, a living book is written by an author who’s an expert in that field, who is passionate about his topic, who evokes emotion from the reader and who draws the reader into the text in a lively, contagious way.

Living books are available in most all subjects, including science, math, history, art, and literature. In this post, I want to share some living books I’m reading aloud to my first grader and her younger siblings during Read-Aloud Time.



These books are drawn from the following sources:

1. Ambleside Online’s Year 1 Booklist {We are using AO for the majority of our curriculum this year. It has a wealth of living books. AO’s curriculum goes through 12th grade, and there are booklists from kindergarten on up.}

2. Simply Charlotte Mason’s Grade 1 Booklist {SCM also has booklists by grade that you can search through.}

3. Classical Christian Education’s Booklist: Primary Reading Level 1-3 {The books on this list all set forth a Christian worldview and include values our family adheres to as well as books with a timeless quality. Books are organized by reading level rather than age or grade and range from Primary to Senior.}

4. Sonlight’s 1st Grade Read-Aloud Booklist {Sonlight is a literature-based homeschool curriculum that is Christ-centered. In many ways, I really like it, but it’s pricey. Still, the books are excellent, so I will likely consider their booklists each year as I make my own.}

5. Recommendations from family, friends, and homeschool bloggers {Because there are so many amazing books out there!}

Here’s a list of our Charlotte Mason/Classically-influenced 1st Grade reading list: 

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1st grade reading list

 Just a note: I have 3 girls so this book list presents a greater number of works with female main characters than male. Also, I tried to include FREE editions of books wherever possible.

1. Aesop for Children by Milo Winter

2. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

3. Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit

4. Betsy -Tacy by Maud Lovelace

5. The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang {FREE on Kindle}

6. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

7. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

8. Five Children & It by Evelyn Nesbit

9. Five Little Peppers & How They Grew by Margaret Sidney

10. Heidi by Johanna Spyri

11. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling {FREE on Kindle}

12. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

13. The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin {FREE on Kindle}

14. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

15. Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett {FREE on Kindle}

16. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

17. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

18. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

19. My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet

20. Old Mother West Wind by Thornton Burgess

21. The One Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

22. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

23. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

24. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter {FREE on Kindle}

25. The Princess & the Goblin by George Macdonald {FREE on Kindle}

26. The Railway Children by Evelyn Nesbit {FREE on Kindle}

27. The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang {FREE on Kindle}

28. The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame

29. Saint George & the Dragon by Margaret Hodges

30. Sarah, Plain & Tall by Patricia Maclachlan

31. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

32. Shoeshine Girl by Clyde Robert Bulla

33. Stuart Little by E.B. White

34. The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla

35. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

36. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

37.  The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

38. The Wheel on the School by Meindart DeJong

39. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

40. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame {FREE on Kindle}

41. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

(Note: These books are in addition to those living books we’re using in our regular subjects.)

Sure, we probably won’t get through all of these books in the next year, but at least we have some book ideas for when we run to the library. I’ll share soon how we do Read-Aloud Time in our home.

What are some of your favorite chapter books to read aloud to children ages 7 and under?



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  1. You have shared some wonderful books here! This brings back many fond memories! Thank you for sharing this lovely literature list on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. Praying for a safe delivery for mother and baby…
    JES recently posted…Elderberry Infused Herbal Honey {Immune Boosting Sweetener}My Profile

  2. Great titles here! We loved My Father’s Dragon, so happy to see it on someone else’s reading list! 🙂
    Caroline recently posted…When Your Advent Devotional Is Wearing You OutMy Profile

  3. We’ve enjoyed so many of these books! Our favorites were Winnie-the-Pooh and The Hundred Dresses. There are some I’ve not heard of…so we’ll probably pick a few of them up this year and add them in. Thanks, Keri!
    Lisha recently posted…A Few of My Favorite Things – a Giveaway!My Profile


  1. […] If you are looking for some good read-aloud books for your first grader, check out this post. […]