Working to support readers this year, I have realized that I need to brush up a bit on my early chapter books. Personally, I'd keep kids in picture books as long as I could but, let's be honest, kids can't wait to get into them. Of course, there are things readers learn from chapter books. Readers build stamina, learn to think about more extended ideas, follow characters over time and develop comprehension strategies. I'd have to say most of my second grade readers who made the most progress last year did so because they got caught up in a chapter book series. Early chapter books were certainly a help in getting readers hooked on books.
This summer my goal is to read early chapter books to find some I can recommend to my second graders receiving support who often want to look like their peers in their classrooms. Even first graders toward the end of the year begin to develop an interest in chapter books.
Here are three very early chapter books that I will recommend:
Katie Woo: Boss of the World by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammie Lyon. This very easy to read chapter book series is perfect for mid to late first grade readers. It's probably one of the easiest to read chapter books I have found so far. Who can resist Katie Woo? Katie Woo is a bit bossy and not always the best friend. In this story, Katie always wants to be first, takes things from her friends, and doesn't ever compromise. Can she change her ways? Readers will be able to relate to the struggles of Katie Woo and her work to be a better friend. There are many many titles in this series.
Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes. In this book, Penny loves to sing, but her mom and dad aren't so crazy about the possibility of waking the baby. Penny is often forced to put her song on hold. One day she finally gets to sing for the family and the baby loves it too. This quick read will help young readers who are hoping to take their first steps into chapter books. There are three books in this series.
Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken by Sarah Dillard. Young readers will delight in this story of Warren who doesn't want to be just an ordinary chicken. Warren hopes to find a way to be extraordinary. He gets his opportunity when Millard comes along. Millard is looking for chicken dinner. Can Warren save his friends? Kids will love the story of this unlikely hero. They will enjoy the colorful pictures and graphic novel-like breaks in text. Right now, there are only two books in this series, but my hope is more are coming soon.
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