One of the questions we get asked the most is around recommendations of great stories to read aloud to each year group. Whether it’s for a whole class novel, a library read-aloud, storytime assemblies, book club choices or bedtime stories, some stories lend themselves very well to being read out loud, capturing the imaginations of listeners or leaving them of the edge of their seats as they eagerly listen to each instalment.
We’ve hand-picked a selection of recommended class stories and favourite read-alouds for Year 5 and Year 6. If you are looking for adventures into exciting lands, try Vashti Hardy’s sky ship adventure BrightStorm, or Alex Bell’s exciting wintry voyage in The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club. Magical settings and fantasy worlds are always a good choice for keeping listeners engaged in a story, and for this reason we love BB Alston’s magically-charged Amari and the Night Brothers or Thomas Taylor’s fantasy seaside world in Malamander.
If you’re looking for a bit more intrigue and mystery to keep listeners guessing along, try the full-stream-ahead mystery adventure The Highland Falcon Thief or Sharna Jackson’s urban whodunnit, High Rise Mystery.
If you’re looking to fill the room with giggles and gaffaws, try Uma and the Answer to Everything by Sam Copeland for guaranteed giggles, or Jenny Pearson’s The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, which is full of humour and heart in equal measure. Or if nail-biting suspense is what you’re after, Crater Lake is a huge hit with Upper KS2 (just don’t read it before bedtime on your Y6 residential…), or try Polly Ho-Yen’s edge-of-your-seat dystopia, The Boy in the Tower.
Finally, if you are short on time (or attention spans), short stories can still pack a punch as class read-alouds. Try Christopher Edge’s STEM-themed The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day, Tom Palmer’s historical short novel Armistice Day or, for a collection of very short stories, Terry Pratchett’s Dragons at Crumbling Castle, which is characterised by the author’s trademark style of fantasy and wit.
If you are looking for something to match a particular theme or topic, browse through our topic booklists. For other Year 5 and Year 6 book recommendations, be sure to check out our Reading for Pleasure booklists.