Moving early readers from phonics level readers to chapter books can take some time. I know my own daughter took a while to make that transition. Something that really helped was keeping some fun books around that was at or below her reading level. And when I found a series she loved I’d order every book in the series from our library!
The 18 books listed below are the first in a series of books – perfect for girls who are making that chapter book reading transition (when they are ready to move on from books like Frog & Toad or Little Bear). Some are fluff/twaddle type books but I’m okay with a little twaddle if it will get my daughter reading!
Early chapter books that come as a set/series are great for young readers. The predictable storylines are easy for new readers and can help them develop comprehension skills and reading speed. And kids love a series because they can spend more time with a favorite character while reading through that stack of books!
- 1. Ruby the Red Fairy, Rainbow Magic Fairies
- 2. Dinosaurs Before Dark, Magic Tree House
- 3. Voyage with the Vikings, The Imagination Station
- 4. Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds, Cam Jansen
- 5. The Double Dabble Surprise, Cul-de-Sac Kids
- 6. Betsy-Tacy, Betsy-Tacy (1st 4 books)
- 7. Beezus and Ramona, Ramona Collection
- 8. The Boxcar Children, Boxcar Children
- 9. In Grandma’s Attic, Grandma’s Attic
- 10. Little House in the Big Woods, Little House
- 11. Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
- 12. The Doll Shop Downstairs by Yona Zeldis McDonough
- 13. Bea Garcia by Deborah Zemke
- 14. Dessert First by Hallie Durand
- 15. Absolutely Alfie by Sally Warner
- 16. Paddywack
- 17. The Princess in Black
- 18. Anne Arrives
There are a vast number of Rainbow Magic Fairy books that can be purchased incredibly cheap both new and second hand.
One of our favourite Rainbow Magic Fairies books is Ruby the Red Fairy. This is one of the first books in the series, and is made up of around 65 pages and is suitable for children between the ages of 5 and 7.
The black and white sketches throughout the book really help to tell the story and keep young readers engaged. Better still, there are more than 100 additional books you can purchase if you’re children enjoy this book.
This incredible book follows eight-year-old Jack and his younger sister Annie as they discover a magic treehouse. The treehouse whisks them back to an ancient time where they are able to meet dinosaurs.
With 365 pages this is one of the longest books featured in this list, that said the story is highly engaging which can make working through this book somewhat of a breeze to young readers up to the challenge.
Much like Rainbow Magic Faries there’s a number of books in this series that you can purchase should your child enjoy this one.
Another fantastic book for early readers is Voyage with the Vikings which is part of the Imagination Station series.
This Christian historical fiction book is perfect for children looking to develop their reading. With more than 200 pages, there’s plenty here to keep your children reading for a couple of weeks.
And the good news doesn’t stop there… Much like many of the other books on this list there’s an entire Imagination Station series so children can purchase additional books if they enjoy this one.
The Cam Jansen books are perfect for young readers who are making the transition to chapter books. They follow an incredible girl with a photographic memory who is on a mission to solve problems.
In her first case, Cam is solving the mystery of the stolen diamonds. This is a relatively short book at just 58 pages, but is perfect for children between the ages of 5 and 7.
These books have been around for more than 20 years and have a proven track record of engaging young readers with fantastic stories and easy to follow vocabulary.
The Double Dabble Suprise is an easy to follow secular chapter book for kids that follows sisters Abby and Carly who were expecting their Korean sisters to arrive only to find that the children arriving aren’t sisters at all, they are brothers!
This book does a great job of demonstrating how mix-ups can be incredible blessings.
There are an additional 23 books in this series, all with Christian values as an underlying theme which make this perfect for teaching young children the influence and power of God, the difference between good behaviour and bad behaviour and more.
Since their first publication in the 1940’s the Betsy-Tacy stories have been a hit with young readers.
The author, Maud Hart Lovelace (1892-1980) based her Betsy-Tacy series on her own childhood. Her series still boasts legions of fans, many of whom are members of the Betsy-Tacy Society, a national organization based in Mankato, Minnesota.
The books have advanced vocabulary in some areas so might suit slightly older readers between the ages of 8 and 12.
Newbery Award-winner Beverly Cleary delivers a humorous portrayal of the ups and downs of sisterhood.
Both the younger and older siblings of the family will enjoy this book. This chapter book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 7 to 9 who are reading independently.
And the good news is that there’s a whole host of additional Ramona books for your kids to enjoy.
The Boxcar Children dates back over 50 years. However, children around the world continue to adore these delightful stories.
The stories are based around the brothers and sisters; Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. They’re orphans too, and the only way they can stay together is to make it on their own.
When the children find an abandoned boxcar in the woods, they decide to call it home.
A young girl delights in her grandmother’s stories of days gone by, sparked by keepsakes and simple questions, Grandma shares marvellous stories of mischief, discovery, and laughter, such as the time she accidentally lost the family buggy.
These charming tales are part of a best selling series, updated with delightful new illustrations they’ll engage your children as they take on their first chapter book.
Despite only having 144 pages, the vocabulary can be advanced in some areas and younger children may need assistance at times.
Little House in the Big Woods, is the first in the series. The story takes place in 1871 and follows four-year-old Laura who lives in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin.
This book is 238 pages of pure delight and the 9 books in the series continue to educate and inform young readers.
The colourful and highly detailed illustrations really allow children to imagine what life as like more than 150 years ago.
This early chapter book is set in modern Africa and follows Anna Hibiscus. Her mother is from Canada, her father from Africa, and she has twin baby brothers, Double and Trouble.
Each of the four chapters tells a complete story and, while presenting clear cultural differences, explores themes that are universal and child-centred.
Early chapter books that deftly handle the difficult issues of poverty, class, and economics are even rarer. The incredible storytelling is enhanced by charming illustrations.
This incredible early chapter book follows nine year old Anna and her sisters who often help out in their parents doll repair shop.
The girls are allowed to play carefully with the dolls until they’re fixed and ready to be returned to their owners.
However, when World War I begins an embargo on German-made goods threatens to put the shop out of business, it’s up to Anna to come up with an idea to save the day.
Each of the books in this series is around 100 pages and feature delightful illustrations by an award-winning author and illustrator which makes these stories wonderfully engaging for young readers.
The four Bea Garcia books have been written by Deborah Zemke, who you may have heard of from the wildly successful Doodles place mat series.
They follow Bea Garcia, a bilingual girl who misses her best friend weighs the opportunity to make another as she records her life in a delightful visual diary.
This series is perfect for children between the ages of 6 and 8 who are looking to experience their first chapter book.
Dessert Schneider has her very own personal style. But sometimes walking to the beat of her own drum means walking right into a heap of mischief, especially when it comes to the legendary family recipe (and Dessert’s all-time favorite treat).
As the oldest in a rambunctious, restaurant-owning family of six, Dessert seems to be better at getting into trouble than getting out of it.
And that’s because, for this eight-year-old, saying sorry is definitely not a piece of cake!
It’s safe to say that young fans of desserts before dinner will quickly fall in love with this delighful chapter series.
Absolutely Alfie Series features Alfie Jakes. An while Alfie may be the youngest in her family, she has no trouble speaking up for herself.
This true to life chapter book series starring an African-American family is absolutely funny, absolutely honest, and always absolutely Alfie!
With more than 140 delighful pages you can be sure that these chapter books will keep your little ones entertained for hours on end.
The step into reading books are fantastic books for young readers. Step three involves teaching children to read on their own and what better place to start than with this delighful animal inspired book.
Paddywack is a petite nine hands high, and every pony inch is packed full of energy.
It hasn’t been easy, but he now has his rider, Jane, well trained. He’ll trot. He’ll canter. He’ll jump the jumps.
He’s a perfect pony . . . when she gives him treats.
But on the day of the big horse show, Jane is so nervous she forgets his treats. Will Paddywack dig in his hooves? Or can he rise to the occasion?
A humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.
There are six books in this series created by the award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham that are sure to delight young readers.
Each book has less than 100 pages and is centred around an easy to follow story with basic vocab which really makes these early chapter books suitable for readers as young as first grade.
18. Anne Arrives
This book is the first in an early-readers series which follows Anne, an outspoken, spirited young girl as she arrives at Green Gables.
Green Gables just so happens to be owned by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert who need some assistance, as a result they adopted what they believed to be a sturdy, helpful boy.
The illustrations in this book are incredible and continue to keep young readers engaged throughout.