Over the course of last school year, M gained the confidence to read short chapter books on her own and by early summer was devouring them at a rapid rate. I knew about easy readers – we’d explored Elephant and Piggie, classics by Dr. Seuss, Mr. Putter and Tabby, Amanda Pig and many others as Meg began to read. When she was ready for something longer, she started with the Magic Tree House series and moved on to Cam Jansen, Rainbow Fairies, Keeker and the Sneaky Pony, Secrets of Droon, and other short chapter series.
But when those became easy reads, I wasn’t sure what was next. She started several significantly longer books that we’d read aloud – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and The Lightning Thief for example. She could read them but her slow progress, the length of the books and the small print discouraged her so she only read a chapter or two. I wanted to encourage her to keep reading whatever she chose no matter the level, but I also wanted to present her with some choices that would challenge her but not be discouraging. I questioned a few teacher friends and learned more about different systems of leveling books, particularly Lexile and Fountas and Pinnell.
Based on what I’d learned I began to assemble a list of books that were at her current ability level or just above it. So if you are looking for some reading suggestions for a reader who is gaining confidence with chapter books, here are some options. Most of these are O, P, Q on the Fountas and Pinnell scale or 500-750 on the Lexile scale. They are more or less listed from easiest to hardest but all scales don’t agree and interest or familiarity with the story makes a big different in how difficult it seems to a reader at this stage.
Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows
Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald Sobol
Dragon Slayer’s Academy series by Kate McMullan
Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka
The Boxcar Children (and sequels) by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Socks by Beverly Cleary
Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
Betsy, Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace
Animal Ark series by Ben Baglio
Dolphin Diaries series by Ben Baglio