"Thank you Ma'am" by Langston Hughes, "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury, "Miss Awful" by Arthur Cavanaugh and "One Minute Longer" by Albert Payson Terhune are good short stories for fifth graders. These books are simple enough for fifth graders to understand the storyline, and they help them practice close reading while learning several valuable lessons.
"Thank you Ma'am" is a story about a woman called Mrs. Jones who shows kindness to a boy who has just tried to steal her purse. From the book, the reader may conclude that Roger, the boy who tries to steal the purse, is not necessarily a bad boy, but a child trapped in a difficult situation. In the end, Mrs. Jones gives Roger food and some money.
Ray Bradbury uses very illustrative language to help readers understand the conditions in Venus in the short story "All Summer in a Day." Margot, a student who moves from Ohio to Venus, is reclusive and depressed because she hates the constant rain and misses the warmth of the sun. The children in Venus bully her and lock her in a closet. However, after experiencing the sun for themselves, they begin to understand why Margot is always so sad and depressed.
"Miss Awful" by Arthur Cavanaugh tells the story of a tough substitute teacher who truly values education and who wants to teach her students to be better citizens. However, her strictness and harsh disciplines are not well received by some of her students. In the end, the students understand why the substitute teacher is so harsh, and they learn that they should not judge a person before knowing her.