Read aloud choices for year 6 includes books with more mature themes, such as Zana Fraillon’s The Way of Dog which children at this age will enjoy discussing with a supportive adult.
We have included books like Simon James Green’s Sleepover Takeover and Helen Rutter’s The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh as they are good tension-busters, but also deal with the anxieties of moving on to secondary school. Steven Camden’s Everything All at Once is an ideal final read-aloud of the year, as it deals with the changes experienced in the first term of a new secondary school.
Throughout the year, you will want to read stories requested by the children, offer guided choices, and expand their reading horizons.
Our recommended poetry lists have plenty of suggestions for each year group too.
Roy Moss has written a useful blog about choosing read-alouds for your class.
Find out which books our reviewers enjoy reading with their classes in this video, Choosing Books for the Classroom; Read Alouds.
Sonia Thompson and Ben Harris join Nikki Gamble to talk about why reading aloud to your class is so important and to advise on choosing books to read aloud.
Poetry is perfect for reading aloud to your class, and you will find more suggestions in our recommended poetry for year 6 list.
Our top picks from recent titles
Digging for Victory
By Cathy Faulkner. Published by Firefly Press.
Our reviewer, Stephen Dilley, writes, ‘To me, this book feels like a future children’s classic. It would make a great class reader for upper KS2 children with the potential for links to history and science.’
The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie
By Yvonne Banham. Published by Firefly Press.
When Delores Mackenzie is chased home by a restless spirit, she is sent to the mysterious Uncles in Edinburgh Old Town to learn how to control her unusual ‘gifts’. Scared and alone, she finds her new home at the Tolbooth Book Store is full of curious surprises: some welcome, others less so. But when a sinister apparition threatens the lives of her strange new housemates, Delores must gather all her strength to save them.
Our reviewer Karen-Vickers-Hulse, writes, ‘This is a must-read for older primary school children who enjoy spooky and dark stories that send shivers up their spine’ Not for the faint-hearted, but if you have a class at the end of year 6 who enjoy spooky tales, this might just be for them.
The Monkey Who Fell from the Future
By Ross Welford. Published by HarperCollins.
Centuries after a catastrophic meteor collision, nature has retaken the earth. In a small town in what was once England, young Ocean Mooney and the monkey-owning Duke Smiff have just dug up a 400-year-old tablet computer. Meanwhile, in the present day, Thomas Reeve and his genius cousin Kylie create the Time Tablet – a device which they hope will allow them to communicate with the future. But when the Time Tablet malfunctions live on television, Thomas and Kylie are sucked into the year 2425.
Our reviewer Karen Vickers-Hulse, writes ‘ Readers will be gripped by the story and compelled to read on to find out what happens. Sections written in ‘an accent’ are fun and help to bring the characters to life.’
By Simon James Green. Published by Scholastic.
When dorky, unpopular 11-yr-old Otis wakes up in the morning at a sleepover birthday party, he’s in for a shock. At the marquee where the sleepover took place, it’s a scene of carnage and mayhem: there’s a donkey drinking at the chocolate fountain, a huge inflatable helium sausage looms above, doves everywhere, one of the kids has a tattoo, and there’s a suitcase of bratwurst on the floor! But what’s weirdest of all, neither Otis nor the other kids can remember what happened!
This funny novel works well for year 6 in the final term as it deals with the anxieties of moving to secondary school and making new friends. You can hear Simon James Green discussing the novel with Nikki Gamble In the Reading Corner.
The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh
By Helen Rutter. Published by Scholastic.
Billy Plimpton is an eleven-year-old boy with a big dream. When he grows up, he wants to be a stand-up comedian, delivering pinpoint punch lines and having audiences hang on his every hilarious word. A tough career for anyone, but surely impossible for Billy, who has a stammer.
Our reviewer, Emily Weston writes, ‘The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh is well-suited for years 5 & 6 – it speaks about the transition to secondary school, as well as what an experience for a child with a stutter might be like. It would be fantastic for a class reader.’ Hugely funny – a great tension-buster for year 6. You can hear Helen Rutter talking about the novel with Nikki Gamble In the Reading Corner.
The Way of Dog
By Zana Fraillon. Published by Chicken House.
Scruffity is born into a harsh, grey world. What he yearns for most is Family. But no one wants him. Just as his chances of adoption grow thin, Scruffity is set free by a boy as unwanted as he is. He learns how to run, to dig, to howl and, biggest of all, to love. But then tragedy strikes … How does a dog find his way home when he never had one to begin with?
Our reviewer, Nick Swarbrick, writes, ‘There are vivid moments of pain, loss and fear in this book but this shouldn’t prevent anyone from sharing it with a class with due sensitivity. While it is not a book to be presented without a thorough read by the adult, preparatory reading isn’t an issue: I revelled in its storylines, its language and the world-creation at the heart of how Scruffity copes with his experiences, sad and joyful, which is called The Way of Dog. It is a book to engage and delight upper KS2 and KS3 readers. ‘
The Tale of Truthwater Lake
By Emma Carroll. Published by Faber.
It’s the near-future and Britain is having yet another heatwave. Of course, the government have put in the normal curfews for this kind of weather, and shops are forced to shut again. For Polly, it’s the sort of heat that makes her do wild, out-of-character things just to cool down. Like face her fear of deepwater. Essential when she and her brother have been sent to their aunt’s eco lake-side house for the summer. But Truthwater Lake is beginning to dry up. As the water level diminishes, a lost village emerges. Swimming over the rooftops at midnight, Polly dives down and is suddenly able to breathe, to hear church bells and bird song . . . Polly has discovered an underwater gateway . . .
Our reviewer, Ann Alston, writes, ‘The novel offers countless opportunities for further discussion, to contrast past and future considering the similarities as well as the differences, to observe the human impact on our environment, but also to discuss friendship and empathy.’
By C C Harrington. Published by Chicken House.
An endangered forest. An abandoned snow leopard. A child who only feels comfortable talking to animals. When fates collide, the unbelievable can happen …
Our reviewer, Eve Bearne, writes, ‘One of the strengths of this story is that it tackles conservation issues honestly, acknowledging that not everything can turn out as Maggie, or readers, might have wished but nevertheless offers hope for the future. A book to be enjoyed by readers from 9 or 10 years upwards and which will start many a discussion when shared with a group of young readers.’
Everest: reaching the Roof of the World
By David Long. Illustrated by Stefano Tambollini. Published by Barrington Stoke.
Everest is the world’s highest mountain, towering like an icy giant over the Himalayas. For millions living nearby, it has always been a magical place known as “Goddess Mother of the World” or the “Peak of Heaven”. To explorers and adventurers, it represents a perilous but thrilling challenge to be conquered. In this exhilarating account by award-winning author David Long, he looks back at the first attempts by international mountaineers to reach the fabled summit, many of which ended in death and disaster.
A short but gripping read of true life adventure for year 6. Themes of resilience, failure and success could be discussed and related to other contexts.
Classic and established favourites
A Kind of Spark
By Elle McNicoll. Published by Kinghts of.
A kind of Spark tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard?
This book has been a popular choice for year 6 in our Reading Gladiators book club. A good choice for reading aloud and the development of empathy.
By Sara Pennypacker. Illustrated by Jon Klassen. Published by HarperCollins.
Pax was only a kit when his family was killed and he was rescued by ‘his boy’, Peter. Now the country is at war, and when his father enlists, Peter has no choice but to move in with his grandfather. Far worse than leaving home is the fact that he has to leave Pax behind. But before Peter spends even one night under his grandfather’s roof he sneaks out into the night, determined to find his beloved friend.
This story of Peter and his fox and their journeys to find each other has gripped the hearts of our Reading Gladiator schools. You can here Sara Pennypacker talking to Nikki Gamble about Pax and the sequel In the Reading Corner