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As an elementary school teacher, I was often confronted with a dilemma: once kids could read “easy” books and wanted to read “chapter books,” what could I recommend? There’s just something about chapter books that entices kids: they seem like “real” books, grown-up books. Here are some beginning chapter books that kids who are transitioning from easy readers may enjoy. I’m also adding “Christian” to this list, because as a mom I appreciate books that are wholesome.
As a side rant and example, I haven’t included the Junie B. Jones series. While these books are written at the level I’m aiming for, and while they’re no doubt entertaining, as a mom I didn’t always appreciate some of the attitudes and words Junie B. used. These books avoid those pitfalls.
- The Grandma’s Attic series — I have fond childhood memories of these. My sister and I read them to two ladies in a nursing home when we were teens. They are gentle, sweet stories about days gone by (think Little House on the Prairie era). The ladies laughed and laughed when they heard these stories. The Grandma’s Attic Treasury includes several of these stories all in one book.
- All-of-a-Kind Family and its sequels are chapter books I remember loving when I was in elementary school. Again, these books will transport your child to another time and place. Written in the ’50s, they promote wholesome values and take place in the early 1900s. You’ll wish you could live in the world they create!
- If you’re looking for more modern tales, try out the Kingdom Kids series, A Dog Called Naaman and Sophie, Pay Attention (Rhoda, You Too)! . These beginning chapter books combine a modern girl’s life with that of a Bible character. Fun way to let your child learn about a Bible story in addition to reading practice.
- The Magic Tree House series is popular with beginning readers. The books take kids to a variety of locations and time periods. They’re not overtly Christian, but the kids in them have good attitudes and I haven’t seen anything objectionable in them. An added bonus is that there are so many of these books — if your child likes them, he/she will have reading material for quite a while!
- Many kids love animals. If you have an animal-loving reader, check out the Animal Ark series (Kittens in the Kitchen is the first book). No matter what animal your child loves, chances are there’s an Animal Ark book out there about it. And for horse lovers, check out the Pony Pals books. Neither series is specifically Christian, but all the stories are gentle and wholesome. What better way to improve reading skills than by learning facts about animals?
What are some beginning chapter books your child has enjoyed?