When kids first learn to read, they’re usually excited to practice their new skills. Reading is like a key to a new world for them and most are eager for books. While they can just grab any book off the shelf, early reader books are the most beneficial and will give them the best reading experience.
New readers can get frustrated quickly. If they try to read a book that’s too challenging, they may stop a few pages in and lose some of their confidence. Early readers are designed for new readers. They’re just challenging enough to help them work on their skills while being easy enough for them to read all the way through.
Great early reader books will help kids build their reading skills while also helping them become more confident readers. Below, we’ve listed some of the best early reader books that kids will enjoy reading.
1. Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers
By Bobby Lynn Maslen
Bob Books are a staple in kindergarten classrooms because they’re designed for kids who are just beginning to read.
The stories are simple – the first book is written with only four letters. Even if kids can only read a few words, they can finish a Bob Book and gain a lot of confidence.
2. Dancing Dinos Go to School
By Sally Lucas
This book features delightful dancing dinos. In the story, they turn up at a school library and cause all sorts of musical fun.
Young readers will enjoy this rhyming story of dinosaur antics. It’s an easily accessible book and the rhymes make it easier for kids to figure out unfamiliar words.
3. Pinkalicious 12-Book Phonics Fun!
By Victoria Kann
Pinkalicious is a popular kids’ character. She’s a spunky little girl who loves the color pink.
This 12-book set features Pinkalicious in short, easy-to-read stories. Each book focuses on a long or short vowel sound. A couple of the books feature sight words. These books are great for kids who are learning a certain vowel sound and need extra practice.
4. There Is a Bird On Your Head!
By Mo Willems
Books for kids who are learning to read are often put down for being boring or too repetitive. Yet Mo Willems creates books that aren’t boring at all. His Elephant and Piggie series are easy to read and are full of hilarious antics that kids will enjoy. They’ll also appreciate that they feel like “big kid” books.
This book won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, an award given to the best children’s books each year.
5. A Friend for Dragon
By Dav Pilkey
Kids may be familiar with Dav Pilkey from his Captain Underpants and Dog Man books, but he also has a couple of early reader book series.
A Friend for Dragon is the first in his books about Dragon. In this one, Dragon is lonely. He befriends an apple. What could possibly go wrong?
6. Get the Giggles: A First Joke Book
Most kids love a good laugh, so a joke book can be highly motivating. While the book is a Level 1 reader, there are some challenging words, so kids need to be adept at sounding out unfamiliar words. The cute and colorful illustrations are also helpful in deciphering words.
7. Pete the Cat Goes Camping
By James Dean
Pete the Cat is a favorite among the kindergarten set and for a good reason. He’s a lovable cat who always has a positive attitude.
There are many Pete the Cat early readers. Pete the Cat Goes Camping is one of the best. Pete is excited to go camping…until he finds out about Bigfoot. Young readers will enjoy seeing how Pete gets over his fears and has a fun time.
By Kathleen Zoehfeld
Many kids don’t develop an interest in reading until they get their first taste of nonfiction.
Dinosaurs are a high-interest topic to this age group, so this book from National Geographic Kids is a good place to start. The book is simple but still has a lot of fascinating facts. Kids will also enjoy the exciting illustrations.
9. First Little Readers Parent Pack
By Deborah Schecter
This box set of 25 books is another great collection for beginning readers. It’s also the first in a series of sets that get increasingly challenging as kids progress.
Each book features a simple story and colorful illustrations. Each page contains one or two simple sentences, making them easy to read and great for confidence.
10. Ice Cream Soup
By Ann Ingalls
The silly title of this book will instantly draw in reluctant readers.
Ice Cream Soup is a cute story about a little boy who tries to make an ice cream cake that instead turns into soup. In addition to being one of the best beginner reader books, it also has a great message about looking at the bright side when things don’t go as planned.
11. Silly Milly
By Wendy Cheyette Lewison
Silly Milly is a story about a little girl and her many likes and dislikes. Each page contains a new riddle like Milly likes butter but not bread or seeds but not flowers. The rhyming text makes for an easy read.
Once kids are finished, they’ll enjoy coming up with their own riddles like Milly’s.
12. The Berenstain Bears’ Nature Rescue
By Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain
Reading their first chapter book is a rite of passage for children. The Berenstain Bears is popular among preschoolers, but the chapter books are aimed at an older audience.
At 112 pages, this book may be too much for struggling readers. However, advanced early readers will enjoy the challenge. The book also has an important message about conservation.
13. May I Please Have a Cookie?
By Jennifer E. Morris
May I Please Have a Cookie? is one of the best books for beginning readers because it’s easy to read and teaches an important lesson.
Alfie the alligator wants a cookie and he tries all sorts of strategies for getting one. Eventually, he learns that asking politely is the answer. The book has short sentences and fun illustrations, perfect for new readers.
14. Meet the Sight Words: Level 1
By Kathy Oxley
Buy the Book: Amazon
Learning to read sight words is an important skill for new readers. The more sight words they’re familiar with, the more fluently they’ll be able to read.
Meet the Sight Words is a box set of 12 books. Each of the books focuses on several of the most frequently used sight words to give kids plenty of practice.
15. Big Shark, Little Shark
By Anna Membrino
Big Shark, Little Shark is a fun Level 1 book that kids will want to read over and over.
The story is about two sharks who are complete opposites, yet still manage to coexist. Not only do kids get to practice their opposites, but the opposites also make the text predictable to help with reading confidence.
16. Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream
By Rob Scotton
Splat the Cat is a favorite amongst preschoolers and kindergarteners and there are many books about his silly antics. This book finds Splat and his friends going on a field trip to the ice cream factory.
This book is a little longer than many Level 1 readers, so it’s a good fit for kids who’ve had some reading practice.
17. Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend
By Herman Parish
Amelia Bedelia is a childhood classic. Kids will crack up at her misunderstandings of popular sayings. We love the Amelia Bedelia books because there are many different versions – read-aloud, leveled readers, and chapter books.
Kids can explore this character throughout their reading development. In this story, Amelia’s best friend moves away. She learns that you can have many friends when she meets her new neighbor.
18. Star Wars Boxed Set Level 1
By Lucasfilm Press
For reluctant readers, familiar characters that they know in another context can be motivating. The Star Wars films are hugely popular, so these books have the potential to get kids excited about reading.
These books feature all your kid’s favorite characters like Luke, Chewy, and R2-D2. Each book tells a story from either the classic trilogy or the new series. While the stories are easy to read, the adventures are exciting enough to keep kids reading until the end.
19. Sight Words Storybook
By Kimberly Ann Kiedrowski
New readers can never get enough sight word practice.
The Sight Words Storybook is one of the best books for early readers. It has 25 stories containing some of the most common sight words. Each story focuses on one or two sight words. The book also has activities that go along with the stories to reinforce the sight words covered.
20. Go, Go, Trucks!
By Jennifer Libert
Trucks are always a big hit with preschoolers, so Go, Go, Trucks! is a good pick for younger readers.
In this story, two siblings see all of the different types of trucks in their city. The story is simple, with rhyming sentences, and the colorful illustrations will help kids as they read. This book is perfect for kids who’ve just moved into slightly longer books.
21. Disney Princess: Five Enchanting Tales
By Various Authors
If your child is a fan of the Disney princesses, they’ll enjoy this book of five princess tales featuring Tiana, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and more. Each story retells one of the films, so if your child is already familiar with the stories, they’ll find the book easier to decode.
22. DC Super Friends: Flying High
By Nick Eliopulos
Superheroes are another high-interest topic for kids who may be reluctant readers. The DC Super Friends series features all of kids’ DC favorites, including Batman and Superman.
Flying High is a fun easy reader. The Penguin has tricked all the birds in Gotham City to create distractions while he robs a bank. Kids will enjoy the adventure while practicing their skills.
23. Hi! Fly Guy
By Tedd Arnold
Buy the Book: Amazon
The Fly Guy series is popular with young readers because the books don’t feel like they’re written for little kids. These books are great for older kids who are struggling readers. Hi! Fly Guy is the book that started it all and the winner of a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.
In this story, Fly Guy meets Buzz, a little boy, and their adventures begin. Kids will love this witty book!
24. National Geographic Predators Collection
By National Geographic
This four-book collection about nature’s deadliest predators is designed to grow with your kid.
The books are a mix of Levels 1 and 2 readers, perfect for your child as they develop their reading skills. Kids will also find the topic of deadly animals to be exciting, so they’ll be motivated to read.
Early Reader Success
Learning to read is an exciting and often challenging part of a kid’s life. The teachers and parents in the kid’s life must give them the encouragement and tools they need to succeed. The goal is to create lifelong readers.
Choosing the right early readers is essential to kids’ reading success. Good early readers will help build their confidence while also helping them grow as readers. The best books will also engage them. Try choosing one or more of these books and let your child read them aloud to you. Kids become readers when they tie reading to happy memories.