Books and Literacy


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First Chapter Books For Boys
Starting To Read Independently

Here are some easier chapter books that can help bridge the gap between when a child has become comfortable with easier, shorter picture books, but still gets frustrated by more difficult, longer stories in some chapter books, like the great and popular Beast Quest books for example. These suggestions are for boys books, as in the themes are aimed at boys, but obviously girls can and will enjoy them too.

They are going to appeal from around age 5 if you have an advanced reader, but the average age is for 6 and 7 year olds, and possibly older depending on the child. When they first begin to read them independently is more to do with the child’s reading ability than their age, and when they stop reading them will depend on whether they still find the books interesting. Obviously they can also still be read to the child as a bedtime story etc whenever they are ready for chapter books.

At first your child may still find them a bit tricky to read alone, as the jump can still be a bit much. If this is the case you could try reading the book together, where your child reads a paragraph, page, or chapter, and you read the rest, or read a bit alternately, whatever works for you. It also helps allay the fears that some children have, that when they can read, that you will stop reading to them. At the end of the day you are trying to encourage a love of books, that they are enjoyable, fun and great for learning new information.

The other thing to try, is to encourage your child to read different books, eventually one will capture their interest enough, and you will find they want to continue reading on their own to find out what happens next. Once this happens their reading often takes off, this may not be at the early first chapter book stage but a bit further down the line, and it may even be a non fiction book that captures their interest.

So here are my first choices of easy early chapter books.

Bug Buddies by Joe Miller

These books are centred around four best friends Zap, Buzz, Lurch and Crunch who are all bugs, they are going to appeal to any child with an interest in bugs and insects. It has fun and appealing black and white drawings on nearly every page, and it also has a larger text size and double line spacing to help the emerging reader. There are 6 books in this series

  1. The Big Game
  2. Enemy Attack
  3. Ant Invasion
  4. Tunnel Trouble
  5. Beetle Power
  6. Slime Time

Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon

There are quite a few horrid Henry books, but you want to look out for the ones labelled early readers or Horrid Henry for younger readers. While they are the same stories as in the normal horrid Henry books, the vocabulary isn’t particularly difficult. To make them appealing to younger emergent readers they only have one story to each book, and also have a bigger font size and coloured pictures throughout the book. Always a popular choice, due to the ‘boyish’ subject matter in the books and also that horrid Henry is on TV. This makes it useful for reluctant readers that like the TV programme to get them interested in the books too.

There are 7 books in this series for early readers but it doesn’t matter what order you read them in.

Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne

A great series of fiction books, full of adventure, in different settings, mixed in with facts along the way. There are currently 16 titles for the UK all covering different areas of interest, with everything from dinosaurs to pirates, so you should be able to find at least 1 or 2 to get your child interested!! The beginning chapter sets the scene and explains the set up in each book so there is no need to read them in order if you would prefer to just dip into the ones of interest. The books appear to have slightly different titles in the USA.

This is a list in order for the UK magic tree house books that are available.

  1. Valley of the Dinosaurs
  2. Castle of Mystery
  3. Secret of the Pyramid
  4. Pirates’ Treasure
  5. Night of the Ninja
  6. Adventure on the Amazon
  7. Mammoth to the Rescue
  8. Moon Mission
  9. Diving with Dolphins
  10. A Wild West Ride
  11. Lions on the Loose
  12. Icy Escape
  13. Racing with Gladiators
  14. Palace of the Dragon King
  15. Voyage of the Vikings
  16. Olympic Challenge