Whether in class or learning from home, the 2020-21 school year promises to be a weird one. But as always, reading will still be a major part of students’ education. So to help overwhelmed kids, parents, teachers, and administrators during this unprecedented time, we’ve put together a list of the most common assigned summer reading books available in the public domain. You can read all of these popular titles, categorized by grade level, entirely for free. And they are easy to find and download in multiple formats at Project Gutenberg.
We constructed this list by looking at summer reading titles from school districts around the country as well as online lists. Then we consulted with current high school English teachers who offered more titles and helped us mark them according to grade level.
How to Use These Lists for School
These lists can be used for both summer reading and in-school assignments. Make sure you consult with your teachers and get specific titles pre-approved for any formal work. However, this list also provides great ideas for supplemental reading material options. Read a lot even outside of class! And because all these titles are available for free they are perfect for creating book clubs, either with classmates, friends, or family.
Grade breakdowns cover wider ranges than you might realize though. There can be a huge difference between a book appropriate for a fifth grader and one for an eighth grader. The same is true for books read by high school freshmen and seniors. Ask your teachers about finding the exact right reading level for you.
Grades 5 to 8
Graded 9 to 12
You can also find other free titles with our previous lists of classic books in the public domain. They include:
Also check out our list of
And the best way to read Shakespeare is by listening to it at the same time. The internet is full of ways to download entire plays for free. Find a version that works for you. The Bard is far less daunting when you hear his works being performed as you read along.
We know this school year is going to be weird, but remember, reading is always going to be an important part of your education. And it’s easier—and freer—than ever to do it.