Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Chapter Books for Readers Gaining Independence

This summer I have been working to become more familiar with early chapter books.  I support readers in first and second grade who need to make gains to catch up with their peers.  Many of them want to read chapter books, but often end up choosing books from the library that are much too hard.  In order to be proactive, I want to have suggestions ready to help get them started in a place they can be successful.

Many of my second grade readers are nearing the transitional stage in reading.  They're getting reading strategies under control.  They're becoming more flexible in the work they do to sustain their reading.  They're developing stamina and building fluency.  They're able to read books with less picture support.  They can think more about characters, events, and the author's message as they move beyond literal comprehension and become better able to infer as they read.

Though I am not only looking at series chapter books, I do think they provide some support for young readers.  Often after reading the first book in a series, subsequent books are less challenging because the characters, vocabulary and situations are similar enough that the reader can read with greater ease.  Additionally, it is often to possible to have the first book read aloud and then move easily into the following titles in a series.  Lastly, it seems the readers I support who found a series they loved made greater gains.

Here are three early chapter books I'll recommend to these young readers nearing the transitional stage of reading and gaining independence:

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Katie DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.  I know, where have I been?  This series has been around for awhile, but I finally got around to reading it.  It is perfect for readers making the transition into longer books.  Mercy, a pig, lives inside the house with Mr. And Mrs. Watson. One night Mercy sneaks into bed with The Watsons. All are dreaming peacefully when the bed starts to shake and fall through the floor. An earthquake? 

Part of a series and perfect for 1st steps into chapter books. Larger text may feel comfortable for readers as it helps make the pace of reading the book feel faster.  The delightful color illustrations make the book appealing.

The Black Princess by Shannon & Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham.  This is a fun book about a princess who doesn't just wear pink and crowns, she also wears black --- and often saves the day. Readers will love this character as she tries to hide her secret identity from the world. 

This book has the glam of the commercial books kids gravitate toward, but with a much stronger story line.  The next book in the series, The Princess in Black and Perfect Princess Party, is due to arrive in October.  I can't wait.  

Humphrey's Creepy-Crawly Camping Adventure by Betsy G. Birney and illustrated by Priscilla Burris.  I read Creepy-Crawly Camping Adventure which is one title in this HUMPREY'S TINY TALES series. This story was about Humphrey's camping adventure when he goes home with Heidi for the weekend. Told in first person, we learn of the world from a hamster's point of view.

Pet lovers will likely enjoy this tale of a classroom hamster living day to day.  The words are a bit larger and lines are spaced nicely for readers.  Illustrations are sprinkled throughout the text to add a little interest.  

I'd love to hear your favorite early chapter books to recommend to young readers.

More Early Chapter Books

1 comment:

  1. Do you know ZAPATO POWER or the SOFIA MARTINEZ series, both by Jacqueline Jules? Or how about SHELTER PET SQUAD by Cynthia Lord or RANGER IN TIME by Kate Messner? Or an oldie but goodie not quite chapter but close enough, HENRY AND MUDGE?