These texts for grades 3–5 cover a variety of different types of love, from family to friendship.
Love is in the air! But love doesn’t just encompass the mushy-gushy, romantic kind. Love is a powerful feeling between friends and family to which students can deeply relate.
Here is a meaningful selection of texts for grades 3–5 from CommonLit about the power of love between family and friends.
“Jasmine Girl” by Jey Manokaran (3rd Grade)
In this short story, Manokaran captures the power of friendship between two young girls. When Jodi needs help affording her sick brother’s medicine, Shanti forgoes buying the doll she desperately wanted to help her best friend. Shanti’s good deed helps Jodi’s brother get the medicine he needs, and the siblings eventually return the favor by buying Shanti the doll.
This lesson provides a great opportunity for students to make text-to-self connections. Use Discussion Question 1, “In the story, Jodi and Shanti are described as best friends. How do they show each other that they care about one another? Describe a time that you did something nice for your best friend.”
“Funeral” by Ralph Fletcher (5th Grade)
In this excerpt from his memoir, Fletcher takes a final trip into the forest with his friends before moving to a different town. His friends tell him that they are having a funeral in his honor and go around reminiscing on the times they shared together. This excerpt will make students think about the importance of their own friendships and what these friendships mean to them.
This text could be paired with “Scout’s Honor” by Avi, which also explores friendship between young boys. After reading both texts, students could discuss how the friendship between the boys in “Funeral” compares to the friendship portrayed in “Scout’s Honor.”
“Poetry Means the World to Me” by Tony Medina (4th Grade)
In this short poem, Tony Medina writes in the voice of Langston Hughes, a famous African American poet and leader of the Harlem Renaissance. The poem describes the power of words and how words can be used to spread love. It is a wonderful text to encourage students to use their own writing to share love in the world.
Before reading this piece, build students’ background knowledge by showing the video “Mini Bio: Langston Hughes” under the “Related Media” tab. After reading, ask students why they think Medina found Hughes inspirational.
“Farmyard Wedding” by Joy Cowley (5th Grade)
In this heartwarming poem, the farmyard animals celebrate the marriage between their friends Mrs. Duck and Mr. Drake. The animals demonstrate their love for the happy couple by throwing them a wedding celebration that gets a bit out of hand! The poem ends with Mrs. Duck and Mr. Drake paddling away and living happily ever after.
After reading, have students make text-to-self connections by asking them about their pets. Students can describe how they show love to their pets and how their pets show love to them.
“Aly’s Discovery” by Jacqueline Adams (4th Grade)
In this short story, Aly befriends her elderly neighbor, Miss Strawbridge, who tells her about a girl named Rachel who used to live next door. Miss Strawbridge tells Aly about what Rachel used to do when she was bored, and Aly does the same. While Aly is playing in Miss Strawbridge’s shed, she realizes that Miss Strawbridge is Rachel! Aly invites Miss Strawbridge to spend time with her, and the pair become fast friends.
As students read, have them follow the annotation task, which asks them to take notes on the different things that Aly does to fight off her boredom. Then, have students use their notes to discuss what makes Aly and Miss Strawbrige become good friends.
“My Great-Grandma” by Nancy Machlis (3rd Grade)
In this powerful short story, the narrator and her brother visit their aging great-grandma in a nursing home. Great-Grandma is suffering from memory loss, and the children notice that she has changed since they’ve last seen her. Although the narrator and her brother feel sad, they know that the love they have for their great-grandma and the love that she has for them will always tie them together.
Consider assigning CommonLit’s Guided Reading Mode when students read this text. The Guiding Questions will help students monitor their comprehension to ensure they understand the narrator’s emotions as they read.
“The Sheep and the Pig” by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey (3rd Grade)
In this short story, a sheep and a pig set out to build a home of their own. Along the way, they run into several animals who want to live with them. The new friends each use their special talents to help build their new home.
As students read, have them follow the annotation task, which asks them to take notes on the conversations between the sheep, pig, and other animals. Then, have students use their notes to describe the lesson they learned from the animals’ interactions.
“The Sacrifice of the Rainbow Bird” retelling by John M. Burt (4th Grade)
This retelling of a Lenni Lenape tale describes a brave bird’s quest to help his friends through a long winter. The Rainbow Bird pushes on through challenging weather conditions to talk to the North Wind, Snow Maker, and Supreme Being. Finally, the Supreme Being gives him fire to bring back to his people. He loses his beautiful voice and colorful feathers on the journey home, but his friends are deeply grateful for his sacrifice.
Many of us have made sacrifices, big or small, to help the people we care about. Prompt students to think about sacrifices they’ve made in their lives to help those they love. Use Discussion Question 1, “Have you ever made a sacrifice, or given something up, to help someone? What did you sacrifice? Why did you do it?”
“Hazel Down the Rabbit Hole” by Rebecca Agiewich (4th Grade)
This light-hearted story tells the tale of a budding friendship between a new student, Hazel, and two of her classmates during rehearsals for a play. Hazel and her classmates are disappointed when they are given minor roles in the play and are asked to do a variety of miniscule tasks. They decide to turn their minor roles into something amazing, surprising their classmates and drama teacher! Most importantly, Hazel finally feels like she has found community in her new school.
As students read, have them follow the annotation task, which asks them to take notes on how Hazel’s feelings change throughout the story. Then, have students use their notes to discuss how Hazel changes from the beginning to the end of the story.
“Dancing for Mamá” by Joanna Lukens (4th Grade)
As Margarita prepares for the Festival de Las Flores in El Salvador, she can’t help but think about her mother, who is supporting her family from the United States. Margarita is sad that her mother is unable to come to her performance, but when she dances, she imagines her mother is there watching. She dances so beautifully that she gets to meet the President of the United States. Margarita’s photo ends up on the front page of every newspaper across the United States which thrills her mother and makes the distance between them feel a little less hard.
This text is set during the vibrant Festival de Las Flores in El Salvador. Build students’ background knowledge before reading by showing them the video “Feria de Las Flores Flower Festival Parade” under the Related Media tab. Have students describe what they notice about the festival.
Looking for more great texts to share with your students? Check out our CommonLit library!
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