Kids' Books Gift Guide: Early Readers

When I decided to do this series of posts, I almost decided to take Wednesday off.

Sadly, there isn't a ton of new, innovative stuff in the getting ready to read/early reader category.

One might think it's the most important, though.


Well, anyway, here's what I came up with.

Ok, here's the truth about these.  They will probably not inspire any "Wow! Awesome gift!" comments if they are left under the tree, but they are a great starting point for early readers.  There are five levels, ranging from sight word recognition to long vowels sounds.  What fun! 

Detective Dinosaur An I Can Read Picture Book
Let's face it - I Can Read type books are all pretty much alike.  You pick your character of choice - from Little Bear or Frog & Toad to Olivia or Spiderman, then you pick your child's reading level, and you're all set.  The main problem with them, however, is that they're all the same, pretty much.  Enter the I Can Read Picture Book Series.  This series is a great bridge from picture books that are read to children to picture books kids can learn to read themselves.  The picturebook format and illustrations make them a hit with your early reader.

If teaching with phonics is more your speed, this word family series is the one to look for.  Each book in the series covers a different word family, and the silly, (mostly) rhyming verses are entertaining as well.

This fictional non-fiction series (I know, but it's TRUE) follows a classroom of children, led by the scatter-brained (and poorly dressed) Ms. Frizzle on a boatload of adventures through every geeky science loving kid's favorite topics, like the human body, the solar system, into a beehive, inside the earth... You get the picture.  Great fact-based books presented in story format.

Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
These are definitely for the more advanced early reader.  Jack and Annie find a magic treehouse that's full of books, and every time they read a new story, they are magically transported to that timeframe or place.  Imagine that.  I had a treehouse just like that when I was a kid.  The topics range from science to history to dinosaurs to pirates to pyramids.  Fun stuff for both boys and girls.

Junie B. Jones is the funniest kindergartner ever.  She's opinionated, opinionated, and opinionated.  And funny.  And with thirty or so books in the series, it's a great one for your little girl (or boy!) to follow for years.

Ok, I'll admit, I'm a sucker for Half-Pint.  I devoured the Little House Books over and over and over as a child, and these chapter book adaptations are a great way to get a whole new generation hooked on Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa.  Each stand-alone title takes a story from one of the original books and adapts it to early reader chapter book format.  

With holiday specific titles like Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors, it's easy to pick up at any point in this series, which doesn't really need to be read in order to make sense.  Whew, that's good news.  The kids at Bailey School are constantly debunking myths and outing impostors.  Totally fun.

This is an excellent collection of poetry for children, and what makes it great for the early reader category is the included cd of the poems being read aloud.  It's perfect for early readers to follow the words on the page as they are being read aloud, many by the poets themselves.  Let's teach kids early that poetry doesn't suck.  Well, except for the sucky stuff.

If you simply can't decide which series to get your early reader started on, try this boxed set.  With the first in series title from Junie B. Jones, Magic Treehouse, A-Z Mysteries, Nate the Great and Andrew Lost, there is sure to be a new favorite that is discovered.

Ok, your early readers are all set.  Join me tomorrow when we talk about my favorite books for your young reader/preteen.  Oh, and I feel like I should warn you - there are a lot of them.

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