The first years of elementary school are full of learning moments and changes. The transition from picture to chapter books is one of the most excited ones. The process is beautiful but can also be overwhelming as parents try to figure out what their kids like, their comfort with reading, and understanding reading levels. It is very easy to get carried away and jump into books that can overwhelm children which, in turn, demotivate.
When my eldest started to read, we went through all the phases. Getting super excited and finding all kinds of chapter books, only to find out that he was not interested. But as time went by and he continued to practice with picture books, his reading level finally evolved into chapter books and since then he has been unstoppable.
One thing we have found with chapter book series, is that they tend to progress on difficulty with vocabulary, length, depth in characters, and plot. My son has really enjoyed the continuation of characters and how they move from one adventure to the next, which in turn makes it easier to keep reading new books in the series.
How To Expand Their Selection
As we navigate this new phase with our children, there is much to learn and little time to do so. Thankfully our teachers were great guides on what titles to introduce and what level we should aim for. This online community has also been great at suggesting titles and additional resources, which has also landed me on a very interesting title: “Some of My Best Friends Are Books”. Although the book is geared towards “gifted” children (which is a topic entirely for another post), it is a great companion for parents as we navigate this reading world. The book also has an annotated bibliography to help you identify new titles, so if you find yourself out of new ideas, this is a great resource.
So, after a year of reading fun, we now have a nice selection of books which we hope you find useful. I have broken it down by levels with the help of my son, and he has also added a quick commentary in parentheses on some of the titles. And while this seems like a lot, we have purposely helped it grow to have the books always available to the boys and have different reading spaces. Grandparents and uncles have been great help as we have created an Amazon wish-list for books, which we keep feeding with new titles. We’ve also found that Costco has great offers in their book section.
- Magic Tree House (“Perfect for learning about history.”)
- Flat Stanley
- Freddie Ramos (“A little kid who gets things that ESCAPE FROM PEOPLE.”)
- The Secrets of Droon (“Eric, Nick and Julie discover a realm.”)
- Prince Martin (“A kid wants to earn his sword and join his father.”)
- Lola Levin (“A girl getting in trouble.”)
- Merlin Missions (“More magic.”)
- Boxcar Children (“These orphans become famous.”)
- Hopeless Heroes (“Tim breaks a vase and goes on adventure in ancient Greece.”)
- Encyclopedia Brown (“This kid solves mysteries.”)
- Harry Potter
- The Chronicles of Prydain
- Percy Jackson
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- The Green Ember
- Hardy Boys
For kids who prefer non-fiction, Scholastic, DK, and other publishers have great collections on biographies, history and animal facts that are perfect to get the little ones into reading.
Other Favorite Titles From our DC Area Moms’ Writers:
- Dog Man Collection
- Nancy Drew Diaries
- Junie B. Jones Collection
- Max E. James
- Dave the Unicorn
- Zoey and Sassafras
- Dory Fantasmagory
- Meet Yasmin
- Anne of Green Gables
- Amelia Bedelia
- Wings of Fire
- Ivy + Bean
While my kid really enjoys adventure chapter books, there are others who are more drawn to graphic novels. Here are some of the recommendations from our fellow DC Area Moms’ Contributors:
What are your children’s favorite chapter book series?
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