As promised, here are a few online story sites for those readers well past their primers, but not quite ready for the world of Harry Potter and Mark Twain.
Walks with Red Dog
The memoirs of a naturalist and his farm dog, Red Dog. Most of the stories are just a few paragraphs long, so you can cover one or two in a sitting. Better suited for fourth grade and up (mostly due to the vocabulary and longer sentence structure), these stories could also work well with older elementary students reading to younger students. Most of the stories take place while master and pet are on a walk outdoors, so there’s plenty of wildlife discussed for those students interested in nature and one dog’s misadventures with it.
A short story that follows Celeste, a young women struggling to support herself and win guardianship over her young foster-care brother, TK. TK, a young genius, spends his days confined to a wheelchair while taking online courses from the local college. Their world is dusty, uncultured, and uninspiring until one day the Bikesters roll into town, and challenge all the local bikers to a “Run what ya’ bring” midnight match race. This story is a bit gear-headed when it comes to describing the motorcycles and the racing, but it’s a pretty captivating read as TK explores just how high-tech the world of bike racing is, and Celeste tries to make a better life for the pair.
The Adventures of Banph
If you’ve ever enjoyed any of Brian Jacques stories of the animals of Redwall, then the adventures of Banph are right up your alley. This story revolves around the unlucky ant warrior Banph (the only one to be born without wings), and his attempt to defend the Carpenter Empire from its enemies. If your students enjoy reading tales of anthropomorphic critters, they should enjoy reading about the medieval world of Banph. The images are wonderfully drawn, fully colored, but you might want to save this story for some more advanced fifth or sixth graders as the vocabulary is a bit challenging at times.