Easy Chapter Books
Looking for some easy chapter books for boys? Ones that will get your son, grandson, or nephew excited about reading?
Or maybe you need a book that your daughter, niece, or granddaughter will fall in love with. Over the years, I’ve noticed that girls are more likely than boys to become early readers, but there are exceptions.
The books I’ve mentioned on this page will appeal to ALL reluctant readers. But first, I wanted to give a brief explanation of the difference between regular chapter books and easy chapter books.
What are easy chapter books?
Easy chapter books serve as a bridge between picture books and regular chapter books. The chapters are generally no more than 10 pages long, and contain several illustrations.
Many easy chapter books are written to be part of a series. Children who fall in love with a particular author’s style will often want to read every book in the series. The books most popular with reluctant readers are usually filled with action, humor, suspense . . . or a combination of all three!
Each of the series I’ve listed below meet all three of these criteria.
I don’t know when I first heard about these books, but I know my son loved being read Stanley, Flat Again! in one of his classes at school. The first book in this series, Flat Stanley, was written in 1964. (I was amazed to discover this, since I’d never heard of the book until a few years ago.)
Brown followed the book with several more Stanley titles, including Stanley and the Magic Lamp and Stanley in Space. HarperCollins came out with a 40th Anniversary Edition of Flat Stanley in 2003.
Unfortunately, the author died unexpectedly in December of that year, while working on a new book idea. However, Flat Stanley fans (especially teachers and parents) will be glad to know they can find fun ideas and activities to encourage reluctant readers through a website called FlatStanleyBooks.
A to Z Mysteries
This series was my son’s first introduction to easy chapter books. Soon after Ben’s 1st grade teacher started the class on these, almost all of the kids had their noses in books every chance they got – my son included.
There are 26 titles in this series, covering all the letters of the alphabet. Starting with The Absent Author and ending with The Zombie Zone, the same three main characters experience all sorts of escapades. Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose provide a continuity between books, yet the books can be read in any order since each story is complete within itself.
The author of these books, Ron Roy, encourages reluctant readers to get excited about reading through his website RonRoy.com.
Junie B. Jones
Years ago, if you had told me that my son would enjoy a book in which the main character was a girl, I wouldn’t have believed you. But by the end of his 2nd grade year in school, Ben was reading every Junie B. Jones book he could get his hands on.
After reading a few pages of one of these books (there are 29 in the series), I understood the attraction: funny and irreverent.
Here’s an excerpt from Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket:
“YOU HEARD THEM, PEOPLE!” I hollered. “THE BUDDY SYSTEM! WE WILL BE USING THE BUDDY SYSTEM TODAY!”
All of a sudden, Mrs. bended down next to my ear. “Helping Farmer Flores does not mean being rude, Junie B.,” she said. “I want you to be helpful and nice.”
“But I am being helpful and nice,” I said. “’Cause I didn’t even tell anyone to shut up yet.”
Just then, I skipped to the end of the line and checked on Paulie Allen Puffer and Jim.
“I’ve got my eye on you two clowns,” I said very helpful and nice.
Author Barbara Park says that most of the adults who comment on her books tell her that Junie B. Jones got their reluctant readers to read! They know that having good grammar is NOT what gets kids reading!!
Of course, not all easy chapter books (sometimes called early chapter books) were written as parts of a series. Listed below are the titles of a few good “stand-alones”:
Sneakers: Seven Stories About a Cat, by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Jean Charlot. Published 1979, Addison-Wesley Pub (Sd).
The Woman Who Won Things, by Allan Ahlberg; illustrated by Katharine McEwan. Published 2005, Walker Books Ltd.
Tornado, by Betsy Byars; illustrated by Doron Ben-Ami. Published 2004, HarperCollins.
Horrible Harry in Room 2B, by Suzy Kline; illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. Published 1997, Puffin.
If your child is struggling with easy (early) chapter books, you may want to consider starting them off with easy reader books.
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