Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Early Readers? Transitional Books? Early Chapter Books? - Books for 1st to 3rd Graders (2)

Since a goal of mine is to read more books directed towards young readers grades 1st to 3rd, I will be doing occasional posts on what I am reading.  Here is the second installment in this feature and the focus is on early chapter books that appeal to boy readers.

Note: The challenge is to find books that appeal to an audience that is very diverse in their reading abilities.  In a first grade, a teacher may have children that are barely reading common sight words to others who are reading sizeable chapter books.  Parents and teachers will always need to match the right book to the right reader, but here are some of the books that I have been reading lately that might engage a child in this transitional period.

 Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald

I may just like Stink better than his older sister Judy Moody (though she is a lot of fun too).  McDonald must have liked Stink too since he is featured in several books.  In this first book, Stink is afraid that he is shrinking and that he will always be the shortest kid in his class.  Stink also admires James Madison and would like to see Madison honored as well as Washington on President's Day.  The Stink books have just the right balance of humor, lessons to learn, and silly behaviors to engage readers and to not be annoying.  
Frankie Pickle And The Closet of Doom by Eric Wight

In Frankie Pickle, I would almost describe it as graphic novel meets chapter book.  This is a great transitional book for 1st to 3rd graders who aren't quite ready to give up illustrations but want to feel like they are reading something more.  This book would even work with a struggling reader in upper elementary.  Frankie is a bit of a dreamer with an active imagination and he is often finding himself to be a bit like Indiana Jones.  In the first installment, Frankie learns that a messy room may not be as fun as imagined.

Roscoe Riley Rules #1 Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs by Katherine Applegate

In some ways, the Roscoe Riley series is geared for the younger end of the 1st to 3rd grade age span, but there is plenty of humor for those in 3rd grade too.  Roscoe tries to be helpful during a school play but of course there are always surprises.  Great characters, lots of laughs, and a lesson or two to learn.  As a principal, I have a special fondness for Roscoe and the Roscoes in my life.  
Zac Power #1: Poison Island by H. I. Larry

Most boys will ask about action/adventure books and Zac Power is full of action. Zac and his family often find themselves in the middle of some place trying to save the day and stop a villan.  Though Zac loves this, he can't necessarily share about his secret life to his friends.  The book definitely had a Spy Kids/Incredibles feel to it.  At times, I felt that the transitions were a bit choppy, but I definitely could see boys enjoying this book and liking all of the technology devices and different adventures Zac gets himself into. 

What early chapter books do you enjoy?  Do you have any ones that boys are particularly interested in reading?  Tell me about them in the comments.