The Bookshelf Bucket List: The 5 essential classroom reads

National ‘read a book’ day falls on 6th September this year, conveniently the Monday most schools in England return. What better way to kick start the start of the new school year than with a good book to get stuck in to? Whether reading independently or together as a group, the team at Initial Education have pulled together our must-read list of classics. Guaranteed to capture the imagination of primary students of any age.


With a spectacular focus on nonsensical wordplay, the BFG is a tale filled with adventures that children dream of. Acting not only as a fantastic tale of ‘gobblefunk’, the story has many underlying lessons, from the obvious that its okay to be different to the more complex derision of the ‘gobblefunk’ language.

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

Enter the land of talking beasts, witches and centaurs through the wardrobe in the ‘spare room’ and inspire children with the sense of hope and determination felt by Narnians.

Swallows and Amazons

Evoke feelings of childhood adventure and take your students on a series of summer adventures with the Walker family with Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons. The family set sail and embark on a summer filled with unbelievable discoveries and battles designed to inspire a new love of reading amongst children.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Perhaps one of Roald Dahl’s most well-known full adaptions, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is indeed even better to read. Brilliant for highlighting the development of materialistic attitudes, this tale is fantastic for reminding children to stay grounded whilst allowing the to explore the futuristic realms of the factory.

George’s Marvellous Medicine

Roald Dahl, the author behind a plethora of childhood classics, is back again with a story guaranteed to capture any child’s attention. The story follows a young George Kranky as he attempts to lift his grandmother’s mood with a delightful concoction of paint, floor polish and anti-freeze to name but a few ingredients. If you’re looking to get your students engaged after a long summer off, this story is your ticket, igniting children’s imaginations from the outset.

Also, some great ideas for costumes for World Book Day which falls in late April 2022!