Easy Reader Books
Taking easy chapter books to a whole new level!
Until I started looking for easy reader books for my students, I had no idea how many titles had been published in this genre. Especially in the I Can Read Series – created to get children reading as young as possible.
Easy readers take easy chapter books to a much simpler level, often enabling kindergarteners (and sometimes younger) to begin reading their first books. Publishers like HarperCollins and Random House, who recognize the importance of literacy among children, have done a great job of developing ways to get children reading early.
There are five levels in the I Can Read series of easy reader books. As described by HarperCollins, the levels range from books for children who can’t read at all (“My First”) to “Step 4” books for advanced readers.
I’ve described selections from a couple of the levels here:
My First I Can Read
Biscuit, the Little Yellow Puppy
Alyssa Satin Capucilli is the author of this popular series of easy reader books about an adorable yellow retriever puppy.
The first book in the series, Biscuit, was published in 1996. Capucilli says it was inspired by her daughter Laura, who loved to dog-sit their neighbor’s huge golden retriever.
To tell you the truth, I probably would have passed this book up in the library, but one of my 1st grade students found it on a shelf and brought it over to me. She seemed to really get a kick out of the story. And so did a 1st grade boy I was tutoring.
This little boy, who was very reserved most of the time, would burst out laughing at Biscuit’s antics. And he loved reading Biscuit’s words throughout the story: “Woof, woof!”
For a closer look at Biscuit’s world, visit this page on Capucilli’s website.
I Can Read! (2)
Arnold Lobel is a name familiar to anyone who’s hunted for good books for beginning readers. Several of his books are part of HarperCollins’ I Can Read! Series.
Two of the books we own from this series are by Lobel. Both are Level 2 – “for readers who are increasingly confident but still need some help.” The chapters in these books (Frog and Toad Are Friends and Mouse Tales) are actually more like mini-stories, laid out like chapters.
Mouse Tales is a compilation of seven humorous, and sometimes quirky, stories told by Papa Mouse to his seven sons at bedtime. The illustrations in both books were done by Lobel himself, who became an illustrator very early in his career.
Frog and Toad Are Friends is the first of four “Frog and Toad” easy reader books written by Lobel. Published in 1970, the book received a Caldecott Honor award the following year.
The power of this book to hold the attention of even reluctant readers was proven to me during a tutoring session with a 1st grader. Not only was she completely focused on the story while I was reading it, she even wanted to read one of the pages herself. Believe me, that was a major accomplishment for her!
Later in his career, Lobel collaborated with his wife, Anita, on four easy reader books, including one that’s been praised as being one of the best ABC books in print: On Market Street.
Amelia Bedelia is the name of a very literal-minded housekeeper. Peggy Parish wrote the first book in this easy reader series in 1963. Over the next two decades, she went on to write 11 more books about Amelia.
Unfortunately, Peggy passed away in 1988, of an aneurysm. However, because her nephew Herman didn’t want to see the stories stop, he decided to continue writing books about Amelia Bedelia.
He came out with the first one in 1995, followed by three more. The latest – Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey – came out in August 2009.
This website is a great place to learn more about Amelia.
Step 1 – Ready to Read
The Lion and the Mouse
The Lion and the Mouse – written by Gail Herman and illustrated by Lisa McCue – is a beautifully illustrated 32-page easy reader paperback book. It’s based on the well-known Aesop’s fable by the same name.
Run, Remy, Run!
Run, Remy, Run! is the other book I have in this Step Into Reading series. Because I’m a fan of the movie this book is based on (Disney’s Ratatouille), I thought this would be a good book. It’s a very simplified version of the movie, but still fun to read, I think.
In a league of their own are the books by Dr. Seuss (also published by Random House). I mention them here because they’re simple enough for early readers, but not really chapter books. For a more detailed look at these one-of-a-kind stories, take a look at my page dedicated to Dr. Seuss here.
Little Golden Books
And last, but certainly not least, are the classic Little Golden Books – a publishing division under Random House.
Since their first appearance in 1942, Little Golden Books have become favorites with young readers all over the world.
The best-selling book in this easy reader series, The Poky Little Puppy, was one of my own personal favorites. Two of my other favorites were My Little Golden Book about God and Baby Animals.
The story behind Little Golden Books is fascinating. You can read about it here.
Learn about other types of chapter books at our Chapter Books page.
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