Archive for the ‘chapter books’ Category

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


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M and her dad have starting reading The Red Pyramid, the first book in Rick Riordan’s new series focusing on Egyptian mythology. We’ll be studying Egypt in a few weeks so we thought this would be a fun choice. She asked me for yet another re-read of Magic By the Lake which is her favorite of the Edward Eager books. We’re almost done with it and our next read will likely be either Gone-Away Lake or The Penderwicks on Gardam Street.

M’s reading has taken off by leaps and bounds over the summer and she’s now devouring books so fast I’m not sure I catch them all but this week I know she’s read The New Kid at School (Dragon Slayer’s Academy, Book 1), Camp Babymouse, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, and she’s started January Joker (Calendar Mysteries, Book 1).

I finished The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and fell in love with Flavia de Luce, resourceful 11-year-old chemist and aspiring poisoner. Now I’m reading Harriet the Spy and The Red Pyramid (when I can sneak it away from Brent and M).

While staying with my parents this week, C discovered several new favorites from my old books including: The Frisky Kittens by Roberta Miller, The Elephant Who Wanted To Be A Leopard by Eve Witte, and Nobody’s Puppy (a Whitman Tell-a-Tale).  She’s also made many requests for Curious George and the Puppies, Hide and Snake by Keith Baker, and Yummy! Yucky! by Lesli Patricelli which she often reads to herself before falling asleep.

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Welcome to the July edition of I Can Read: A Carnival Celebrating New Readers. This carnival runs for 3 days in the middle of each month and I’m excited to be this month’s host. We’re sharing reviews of Easy Readers and Short Chapter Books that can set emerging readers on the path to confident reading and a love of books as well as tips on getting kids started reading.

Easy Readers are books with simple text for readers who have just become ready to read a whole book.  Some great examples are the Mr. Putter and Tabby series, Green Eggs and Ham, the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.  Short Chapter Books are accessible to readers who are ready for a longer book but need larger text, more space on the page and pictures in the text. If you need more information about Easy Readers and Short Chapter Books, there are excellent definitions at the very first I Can Read Carnival page.

If you have a review of one of these types of books, either fiction or non-fiction or a post about the first steps in the reading journey, add a comment with your link, and I will add your post to the Carnival.  I will take submissions for the next three days (July 16-18).

My older daughter has been reading short chapter books for the last year, and she now devours them rapidly often staying up to finish one whole. These books have helped her gain confidence as a reader and take pride in her ability to read a whole chapter book.  Her favorites series include:

Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne

Pony-Crazed Princess by Diana Kimpton

The Secrets of Droon by Tony Abbott

Rainbow Fairies by Daisy Meadows

Keeker and the Sneaky Pony by Hadley Higginson

Catwings by Ursula K. LeGuin

Magic School Bus Chapter Books by Eva Moore

My younger daughter has learned to recognize letters and has become interested in the sounds they make. She loves reading books to herself, telling herself the stories after she’s heard them read aloud or making up her own stories. A few weeks ago, we checked out the first two books in Mo Willems’ new Cat the Cat series. She adored them and asked me to read them several times in a row. The next day she came running out to me and said. I can read all the words in this book. The book was Cat the Cat Who Is That. The simple, repetitive text allows even very young children to read the book on their own. Even though my daughter may not truly recognize the words yet, she will eventually, and for now she has the pleasure of reading a book to herself. I highly recommend all the Cat the Cat books!

I look forward to reading all your posts!

Posts from the Kidlitosphere:

Brenda Kahn has a review of Lulu and the Brontosaurus, a short chapter book that sounds delightful.

Earlier this week, I posted a review of It’s Best to Leave a Snake Alone, a non-fiction easy reader.

Dee has an interview with Sheryl Gwyther that includes tips for writing Short Chapter Books.

Read about Dizzy Izzy, the lastest in Jon Sciesczka’s Trucktown series at NC Teacher Stuff.

Learn about a princess who’d rather be a clown at The Book Chook.

Roberta at Wrapped in Foil shares Life Cycle of an Oak Tree, a non-fiction easy reader.

Zoe has a post about using picture dictionaries for early readers at Playing by the Book.

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I’m still trying to shake the lasts sniffles and coughing and generally recover our household from my being sick this week.  I have many blog posts started in my mind about art projects we’ve been doing, science experiments, more thoughts on teaching math, etc.  But I am enjoying a relaxing day out on my own and my camera is home with all the pictures I want to use on it so instead I’ll share what we’ve been reading.

M and her dad are reading Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus,  the third book in the Theodosia series by R. L. LaFevers.  She and I just finished a re-read of Ramona the Brave and we’re starting a re-read of The Moffats.

M just read a graphic novel version of Swiss Family Robinson retold by Martin Powell. Now she’s reading Adventures in Cartooning by James Strum by and Just Grace Walks the Dog by Charise Mercie Harper.

C is on a Mo Willems kick, lots of re-reads of Cat the Cat, Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny Too, and Elephant and Piggie. Other favorites this week: How Will We Get to the Beach? by Brigitte Luciani, Wave by Suzy Lee, What the Sea Saw by Stephanie St. Pierre, Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Where Did the Baby Go? by Shelia Hayes.

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I love the excitement a big package of books causes at our house!

Here’s what came in our recent box from Amazon:

One Small Square: Seashore by Donald M. Silver – We love this whole series.  I wrote more about this title here.

Take A Walk: Beach by – I just discovered this series when looking at programs at Winter Promise.  This one will definitely be used in our tidepool/ocean study over the next few weeks and we’ll be taking it with us to the beach in June.

Where’s Tumpty by Polly Dunbar – Now our collection of the Tillie books is complete.  We love this series!

Adventures in the Middle Ages (Good Times Travel Agency) by Linda Bailey – M grabbed this one, stretched out on the floor, and read it immediately.  She likes it just as much at the other titles she’s read in this series.

The Stonekeeper (Amulet Book 1) – M was thrilled to have her own copy.  Thanks to Shelia for the review that encouraged me to pick it up.

The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet Book 2) – M is reading this one right now, and I know we’ll be counting down until book 3 is available.

Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors by Marian Broida – We’ll be using this for History Odyssey.

Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom – We saw this book at our local nature center and decided we need our own copy.

Friendly Gables by Hilda Van Stockum – This is the final volume in the Mitchell’s trilogy.  M and I are both excited to see how the story ends.

Mummy Math: An Adventure in Geometry by Cindy Neuschwander – I saw a recommendation for this series at Living Math. Since M has expressed a love for geometry, we’re trying this one first.

How to Think Like A Scientist by Stephen P. Kramer – I saw Becky of Farm School’s recommendation for this book and it was listed as additional reading in R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey: Chemistry.  It looks fabulous!

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M and I just finished a re-read of Canadian Summer, the second book in the Mitchells triology by Hilda Van Stockum.  Now, we’re reading The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler.

M and her dad finished Tentacles by Roland Smith earlier this week. Now they are reading The Sea of Monsters, the second book in the Percy Jackson series. M’s fondness for Percy has inspired an interest in Greek Myths and we’ve enjoyed reading selections from Greek Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean.

M has been reading and re-reading The Stonekeeper, book 1 in the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi. She can’t wait for the sequel to arrive with our latest enormous Amazon order.

C’s love for Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever continues.  She’s also been frequently requesting (and reading on her own) our collection of Wild Animal Baby magazines. Other reads she’s enjoyed this week include Corduroy by Dan Freeman, Nugget and Darling by Barbara Joosse, Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig, and My Puppy is Born by Joanna Cole.

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Elizabeth Bird of A Fuse #8 Production has finished her poll of the Top 100 Children’s Novels. If you haven’t been following along, I urge you to go check out the extensive posts on each book.

Via Mother Reader, I saw Teacherninja’s post asking for readers to reveal which books they have read. I’ve read 69 out of the 100 (the ones in bold) but having been reminded of them, there are many I’d like to revisit.  I’m also curious about many of those I haven’t read.  The ones in italics are the ones I voted for.  Two of my choices didn’t make the list, Ramona the Brave and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.  However, my vote for Ramona was really a vote for the series and three of the books did make it.  I probably have a soft spot for Ramona the Brave since I have a first grader myself.

100. The Egypt Game — Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard — Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe — Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane — DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches — Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking — Lindgren (1950)

94. Swallows and Amazons — Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn — Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted — Levine (1997)

91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School — Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall — MacLachlan (1985)
89. Ramona and Her Father — Cleary (1977)

88. The High King — Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday — Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek — Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse — Goudge (1946)

83. The Thief — Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three — Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon — Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book — Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family — Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain — Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember — DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust — Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog — Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers — Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain — George (1959)
72. My Father’s Dragon — Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning — Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy — Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society — Stewart ( 2007)

68. Walk Two Moons — Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher — Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins — Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes — Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago — Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake — Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock — Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl — Spinelli (2000)

60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle — Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart — Funke (2003)

58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase — Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 — Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars — Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins — Paterson (1978)

54. The BFG — Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows — Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
51. The Saturdays — Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins — O’Dell (1960)
49. Frindle — Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks — Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy — Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows — Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass — Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing — Blume (1972)

43. Ramona the Pest — Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie — Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond — Speare (1958)

40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me — Stead (2009)
38. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry — Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It’s Me, Margaret — Blume (1970)
35. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — Rowling (2000)

34. The Watson’s Go to Birmingham — Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach — Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH — O’Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic — Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh — Milne (1926)

29. The Dark Is Rising — Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess — Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II — Carroll (1865/72)

26. Hatchet — Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women — Alcott (1868/9)
24. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods — Wilder (1932)

22. The Tale of Despereaux — DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief — Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting — Babbitt (1975)

19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda — Dahl (1988)

17. Maniac Magee — Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy — Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie — DiCamillo (2000)
14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban — Rowling (1999
13. Bridge to Terabithia — Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit — Tolkien (1938)

11. The Westing Game — Raskin (1978)
10. The Phantom Tollbooth — Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables — Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden — Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)
6. Holes — Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler — Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe — Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — Rowling (1997)

2. A Wrinkle in Time — L’Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte’s Web — White (1952)

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