Overview: Do you have a child who is stuck on picture books and can’t seem to make the transition to chapter books? Easy reader books may be the answer!
My older son was a natural reader. He quickly made the leap from Mr. Putter and Tabby books to The Chronicles of Narnia and he just kept right on going. He never had an issue moving from books with large pictures and a few sentences to no pictures and lots of sentences.
My younger son wasn’t as fortunate. He struggled to move through the different levels of books and remained stuck for quite some time. I wasn’t sure how to help him. We checked out every single book I could find at the library which was at his level to try to build his confidence. But reading remained a struggle for him until we discovered the Magic Treehouse series. We started reading the first book together and suddenly something clicked. My son devoured those books. He couldn’t get enough of them!
Looking back, I think there were a few things which came together to help my son overcome his reading struggles:
1 – Practice – It took hours of reading practice for this son’s abilities to develop.
2 – Interest – We needed to keep looking until we found books that actually interested him enough to give him the desire to want to read.
3 – Patience – I needed to adjust my expectations for how quickly I expected my son to progress and stay calm to keep from adding too much pressure to my son. Believe me when I tell you that stressing out only slows things down! I learned that the hard way.
4 – The Right Books – When kids are used to reading a few sentences per page it can be intimidating to make the switch to books where the pages are filled with text. Look for books which will provide a more gentle transition with plenty of white space, illustrations, and sentences that don’t overlap pages. There are even fonts which are friendlier for early readers than others!
If you’re looking for Easy Reader books that will interest your child and help to build his or her confidence, I have some suggestions for you!
13 Easy Reader Books and Book Series to Get Kids Unstuck:
1 – Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne– I’ve got to go with this set first since it worked so well in our family. Take a trip back through time as Jack and Annie travel through time and space to visit different places during different historical time periods. These books are an excellent transition from easy readers to chapter books!
2 – Two Sides by Polly Ho-Yen – Lula and Lenka are best friends and total opposites, but together they make the perfect pair. Until the day that Everything Goes Wrong. Suddenly they are no longer friends. Each blames the other and neither is prepared to listen or forgive. Will it be this way forever?
3 – The Climbers by Ali Standish – Yasmeen has kept the little bear cub a secret, but then the villagers discover him, causing fear and panic to spread. Yasmeen knows it’s time to leave, but will she and Star Bear ever find a place to call home?
Series: Read with Usborne Level 1
Very short stories, typically 100-300 words over 20-24 pages. Short, simple sentences using everyday words. Stories are followed by fun puzzles to test the child’s understanding of the story.
Series: Read with Usborne Level 2
Longer stories, typically 500-700 words, full book length at 48 pages. Longer sentences and slightly more challenging vocabulary.
Series: Read with Usborne Level 3
Several stories on a theme, or one longer story in chapters. Typically 1,000-1,600 words over 48 pages, with slightly longer and more complex sentences, and longer paragraphs.
Series: Read with Usborne Level 4
Adapted classics or nonfiction topics, which may assume some background knowledge. Typically 2,000-2,500 words over 64 pages.
The following video will help you to figure out which level of Read with Usborne books you should start with for your child.
5 – Scurvy Dogs by Kevin Frank – Scurvy Dogs is a fully illustrated first graphic novel for kids who like silly books! It’s a swashbuckling journey like no other. Join Captain Hooktail, First Mate Chubs, Helmsman Patch, and Tinkles as they hunt for treasure (the local butcher shop), fight with sworn enemies (alley cats! No shame in running from those monsters) and have a rip-roaring great time while capturing the best booty of all – your heart!! This group of backyard pets with big imaginations will have you hoisting the flag, trimming the sails, manning the oars … and laughing all the way through.
And now, there is also a second book called Scurvy Dogs and the Dinosaur Boneyard.
6 – Billie B. Brown Collection by Sally Rippin – Sally Rippin, author of the Billie B. Brown & Hey Jack! books wrote them because her son struggled with reading. Each book is written so that no words cross over onto another page, there are no hyphenated words, and some words appear bigger than others. These books were written with a very specific purpose in mind. One is for a child to pick up the book, look at the page and say “That doesn’t look so hard, I can read that” The other is to give kids 6-8 a fun, engaging story that they can relate to and learn from.
This collection includes the paperback edition of the following titles: The Bad Butterfly, The Soccer Star, The Midnight Feast, The Second-best Friend, The Extra-special Helper, The Beautiful Haircut, The Birthday Mix-up, The Spotty Vacation, The Big Sister, The Secret Message, The Little Lie, The Best Project, The Copycat Kid, The Deep End, and The Night Fright.
→ Related Content: 30 Recommended Books for Tweens (Favorites of My Boys)
7 – Hey Jack! Collection by Sally Rippin – This collection includes the paperback editions of the following titles: The Crazy Cousins, The Scary Solo, The Winning Goal, The Robot Blues, The New Friend, The Worry Monsters, The Bumpy Ride, The Circus Lesson, The Worst Sleepover, The Top Team, The Playground Problem, The Best Party Ever, The Big Adventure, The Bravest Kid, and The Toy Sale.
8 – Billy and the Mini Monsters by Zanna Davidson – Billy is an ordinary boy until one night he finds five mini monsters living in his sock drawer. From the moment he discovers Gloop, Peep, Fang-Face, Captain Snott, and Trumpet, Billy’s life will never be the same again.
9 – Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown – When Stanley Lambchop wakes up one morning, his brother, Arthur, is yelling. A bulletin board fell on Stanley during the night, and now he is only half an inch thick! Amazing things happen to him. Stanley gets rolled up, mailed, and flown like a kite. He even gets to help catch two dangerous art thieves. He may be flat, but he’s a hero.
10 – Fizz by L. Gibbes – Follow Fizz through his police dog academy tryouts and training to become a dog detective, and on to his first cases. Told in simple but very lively language, with lots of playful repetition, short chapters and Stephen Michael King’s quirky cartoon-style illustrations throughout, we think this hilarious and action-packed series is perfect for newly confident readers.
11 – Beginners Animals Box Set – How many eyes do spiders have? What do fire fighters wear? What kind of truck can transport the space shuttle? Find the answers to these questions and lots more in these exciting books for children who are learning to read on their own.
12 – Ella Diaries by Meredith Costain – WARNING: You are about to read my UTTERLY BIGGEST SECRETS. Can I trust you? OK then, I’m Ella, and this is my diary. In the first book, Double Dare You, it’s a new school year, and everything is perfect. Ella has a new uniform, glittery stationery and she can’t wait to meet her new teacher. Until class starts, that is — and EVERYTHING goes wrong. She can’t believe she has to sit next to her absolute WORST ENEMY EVER, Peach Parker! No matter how far she moves her pencil case across the desk, Peach is in her SPACE. Where’s her BFF Zoe? Can this year get ANY WORSE?
13 – Billie B Mysteries by Sally Rippin – A slightly older Billie, her best friend, Jack, and other familiar friends from the original series, solve mysteries at school and in the neighborhood, using their smarts and common sense to get to the bottom of things.
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Question: Which of the above books have your kids loved? Do you have any other books you would recommend to help kids progress from picture books to chapter books? Please leave a comment below.