Monday, June 21, 2010

Fun Summer Reads for the Early Chapter Book Reader

Chapter books for the emerging reader can be challenging to find. A good early chapter book should have everything that a middle grade book has, but in an easier-to-read format (simpler sentence structure, shorter chapters, illustrations etc.). You want to make sure to provide kids who are at this developmental stage with great reading material over the summer, so that they continue to make progress. One of the best ways to ensure this is to find books that have sequels, so that they barely miss a beat as they pick up the next book. So here are a few suggestions to hook those emerging readers:
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-made Catastrophes

Written by: Lenore Look
Illustrated by: LeUyen Pham
Recommended Ages: 6-10

I'm delighted to say that Alvin Ho is back. In the first book Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things we met Alvin and his family and immediately wanted more (see my previous blog post). Now Lenore Look has written two sequels in the same lively style that made kids fall in love with Alvin. He's a very appealing, funny, idiosyncratic child that new readers will relate to. Whatever he tackles, whether it's a camping trip or a science project, he does in his own, one-of-a-kind style. You really can't go wrong with Alvin Ho; he's the perfect summertime buddy.

Just Grace

Written By: Charise Mericle Harper
Recommended Ages: 6-9

Here is another endearing character that is sure to please the elementary-aged crowd. Grace is called Just Grace because she happens to be in a third grade class with three other Graces. When her teacher asks her to state her name as Grace with her middle initial, she tells the teacher she'd rather be called just Grace. And it sticks; from then on she's called Just Grace. She has a lot of personality with a mischievous side to her, that is enhanced by some very funny scenes.
Just Grace's voice is strong throughout the book, and young readers will want more. Luckily there are four other Grace books that will be sure to keep your child interested (and laughing at the same time).
Still Just Grace
Just Grace Goes Green
Just Grace and the Snack Attack
Just Grace Walks the Dog

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Written by: Betty MacDonald
Illustrated by: Hilary Knight
Recommended Ages: 6-10

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was first published in 1957, and it still remains a favorite among children and parents alike. Kids like her because she understands them in a way that most other grownups don't. She lives in an upside down house and smells like freshly baked cookies. She has a knack for solving problems that parents aren't able to, like "Never Want to Go to Bedders," and "Answer Backers." Each chapter is a self-contained story, so kids can read them in small increments, if they like. Other titles in the series are:
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic

Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (HarperCollins))
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm
It's a delightful, somewhat old-fashioned, series that still resonates with children today.

Clementine's Letter

Written by: Sara Penny Packer
Illustrated by: Marla Frazee
Recommended Ages: 6-10

As I've written before, boys and girls love Clementine, and will be happy to hear that she's back in two new books. In Clementine's Letter, we find Clementine happily ensconced in third grade with the teacher of her dreams-Mr. D'Matz. Finally she has somehow who understands and accepts her for who she is. Life is good! Then she learns that he has been nominated for a huge Teacher award that will take him away for the rest of the year. She and all of the students have to write a letter of support for him, and you can imagine her dilemma. It's full of typical Clementine moments, complete with her interactions with a substitute teacher, that don't go very smoothly. Pennypacker has done it again and has another winner. There's also another Clementine book-The Talented Clementine, that is another crowd pleaser.

Summer can be the perfect time to introduce new books to kids. Making frequent trips to the library and/or bookstore will ensure that they have a variety of books to choose from so that they have lots of success with their reading. For after all, isn't our ultimate goal for them to become passionate, lifelong readers?


Tracey said...

Thought you'd appreciate this comment from my middle-grade reader last night, when choosing an "easy" book for bedtime: "Mom, sometimes I just like to settle myself with a little Geronimo Stilton."

Alvin Ho is a favorite easy-read for him too(I think thanks to you!).

Robin Gaphni said...

I love that! I think we all need a good book to settle ourselves with at bedtime. Great choice.