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Early or beginning chapter books are the perfect transition from picture books to chapter books. Beginning chapter books tend to feature a larger print, shorter chapters, and typically have one illustration per chapter, helping to break up longer passages of text for children – while still allowing them to gain context and meaning from the pictures. Developing readers can sometimes become frustrated if their first chapter book experience is with a book that is too challenging.
Each of the series in this list would be a great selection for your developing reader. My soon-to-be first grader is working his way through the list, and has discovered many new favorites, just as his older sister did a few years ago. Happy reading!
1. The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
Both of my readers are huge fans of The Magic Tree House, and the adventures they can take through time and history with Jack and Annie. This series introduces young readers to new places and events, and may help pique their interest in a new topic or two. Full of adventure, with storylines dealing with pirates, knights, and dinosaurs, there is enough adventure to satisfy even a reluctant reader.
2. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
While many people are familiar with the original Flat Stanley book, the story of a boy flattened like a pancake by his dresser, many may not be aware of the series of books about Flat Stanley, and his many adventures. My son is a BIG Flat Stanley fan (and is currently reading Flat Stanley : Showdown at the Alamo, part of the Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventures Set.) These books are funny and full of adventure.
3. Ready Freddy by Abby Klein
Ready Freddy is another fabulous beginning chapter book series for early readers. I love that the Ready Freddy books take on a more “relatable” tone – as Freddy is just an average boy facing many circumstances and situations that your child may be experiencing. This is a wonderful series that is sure to be a favorite of your children.
4. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
Like Ready Freddy, Junie B. Jones is an average girl, just trying to figure out how to navigate her way through kindergarten and first grade. Your child will grow right along with her, as she learns and develops. I appreciate that Junie B. also allows for some “teachable moments” with my children, as we can discuss alternative ways to react or speak, and talk about the way Junie B handles difficult situations.
5. Rainbow Magic Series by Daisy Meadows
If your child loves fairies, she/he will love the Rainbow Magic series. With many different series within the series (The Pet Fairies, The Ocean Fairies, The Weather Fairies, etc.) your child is sure to find a group of new fairy friends they will love.
6. Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Nate is a lovable and bright boy detective, working to crack cases and solve mysteries. Young readers will love working the case right alongside Nate as they enjoy the entire Nate the Great series.
7. Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
The Ivy and Bean book series is about two young girls who became unlikely best friends. This series shows that kids with different interest, ideas, and backgrounds can come together and be friends.
8. Cam Jansen by David A. Adler
Young readers will love Cam. She’s a spunky and bright girl who loves to solve mysteries. If you have a budding young detective at your house, make sure to check out the entire Cam Jansen series!
9. Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
The author of the acclaimed Because of Winn Dixie, brings to life an adorable and perhaps unlikely hero in Mercy Watson – a pig. Mercy Watson is a pig with a knack for trouble and a love of buttered toast. Your child will love the predicaments Mercy gets herself into!