CommonLit Elementary Classrooms 7 Adventure Stories To Spark a Sense of Excitement

Get your students excited for new adventures with these seven short adventure stories!

Whether it is going to camp or trying out a new hobby, going on adventures are an important part of growing up. These eight stories about adventurous kids who took risks and tried new things will be sure to spark your students’ sense of curiosity and fun!

Little Yin and the Moon” by Jeremy Yoder (3rd Grade)

In this East Asian folktale, Little Yin is worried when she finds her mother crying because their cow has stopped giving milk. She embarks on a journey and learns that her family is going hungry because the Moon is cold. Even though she is hungry and cold herself, Yin gives her only blanket to Moon. In the end, Yin’s determination and generosity brings food back to her family, and she is pleased to know the moon will always stay warm.

The annotation task with this lesson, which asks students to take notes on Yin’s thoughts and actions as she tries to solve the problem, helps students understand why Yin is able to overcome obstacles. Students could use their notes to discuss Yin’s determination and connect to a time when they may have faced a multi-layered challenge and had to persevere.

Nasbah’s Rescue” by Catherine Grace Jones (4th Grade)

In this adventure story about a Navajo family, Nasbah is helping her grandfather move the sheep down from the mesa when she realizes one is missing! She retraces her steps like her grandfather taught her and finds the missing lamb stuck at the bottom of a crevasse. She rescues the lamb, making her family proud.

After reading the story, show students “Sheepherding - Navajo Traditions Monument Valley” under Related Media to build knowledge about Navajo culture. After reading the story and watching the video, ask students what similarities they notice between the two.

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?”

Kayvan the Brave” by Elizabeth Laird (4th Grade)

In this tale, a misunderstanding spirals out of control when Kavyan, a gullible man, comes to believe he is a great hunter. For no good reason, others begin to think so as well, and Kayvan lives in comfort until he has to go to battle. He cannot control his horse and accidentally bolts toward the enemy, terrifying them. Kayvan is rewarded for his bravery, becomes commander of the armies, and decides never to go to war again, bringing peace to his kingdom.

After reading this short adventure story, ask students Discussion Question 2, “In the story, the Shah believes that Kavyan is a hero. Do you consider Kayvan a hero, despite the misunderstandings surrounding his actions? Why or why not? Do you think Kayvan considers himself a hero? Cite examples from the text to support your answer.”

A screenshot of Discussion Question 2 for the CommonLit, short adventure story"Kayvan the Brave"

The Long Night” by Steve Vance (5th Grade)

In this suspenseful science fiction story, Bobby is the only one who does not respond to the “Hibernation Instinct,” which makes people fall into a deep sleep for six months. Bobby, very much awake, decides to explore and sees a bunch of spacecraft. He hears a voice saying that “the target” has been reached without resistance, so he yells back to tell the voice to leave his planet alone. The spacecraft retreat, and Bobby realizes that he has saved the world.

After reading, have students make text-to-self connections. Use Discussion Question 1, “In the story, all of the people on Earth fall asleep except for Bobby. How would you feel if everyone around you was asleep and you were the only one awake? What would you do and why?"

Into the Rapids” by Bradford H. Robie (5th Grade)

In this short adventure story, Wyatt takes a terrifying tumble into the rapids on a rafting trip through the Colorado River. Wyatt is able to remain calm and get himself out of a dangerous situation by remembering his rafting guide’s instructions. The guide is impressed by Wyatt’s fortitude, and they continue their journey down the river.

This story is excellent for teaching students about following directions and staying calm when things go astray. Ask students Discussion Question 1, “When Wyatt falls into the river, he remains calm and collected. How is this a form of bravery? Describe a time when you were brave in a dangerous situation.”

Scout’s Honor” by Avi (5th Grade)

In this heartwarming adventure story, three boy scouts from New York City decide to go camping in the country to prove their toughness. The boys lie to their families and set out on their overnight camping adventure with improper gear. Everything goes wrong, and when they finally get to the campsite in the New Jersey suburbs, they sheepishly admit that they don’t like “roughing it” in nature and agree to return home.

This story is sure to make your students laugh but also teaches a valuable lesson of the importance of preparation for an outdoor adventure. Get your students ready for their next outdoor experience by showing them the video, “How to Pack for a Camping Trip” under Related Media. Then, ask students if they think the boys could have camped successfully if they followed the list of suggested supplies in the video.

Screenshot of the related media tab for a short adventure story called “Scout’s Honor.”

Next Steps

Looking for more great texts and stories about adventure? Browse the CommonLit Library!

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