Great beginning chapter books for girly girls!

>> Monday, October 03, 2011

Lately I have had several people ask me about Maren's reading skills. She loves to read and keep up with what is cool with her peers. So, she'll check out the iCarly and Justin Bieber books, not to mention Fly Guy and Captain Underpants. She'll even come home with Babysitter Club books. And, I'm THRILLED because she can read them all!

Now, the more difficult chapter books she cannot read from start to finish. We co-read them; that is, she'll read a page, and then I'll read a few pages. I have watched her phonics skills grow by leaps and bounds when she is reading the "cool" books. But, when it comes to her Accelerated Reader tests, she has some problems with the longer books. The AR tests often have inferential questions that she will miss, or ask for details that didn't stick with her as important. So, we try to choose books she can do well on for her AR tests. Her higher scores boost her confidence and keep her motivated to read a variety of material. Sometimes, that means she is test on easy, easy books (like 10 page books about Frogs, or Police Officers).

So, what easy chapter books make for good reads for Maren -- ones that she wants to and can read independently, yet retain enough to take AR tests on and pass (fingers crossed)?! Well, to begin, the Mercy Watson series is fantastic. The stories are funny and the details are presented in memorable ways (like Mercy the pig loves buttered toast!). The stories are ones she can tackle all on her own and take the test with confidence. The stories keep her grinning from ear to ear. Kate DiCamillo, the author, has a few other wonderful chapter books that an early chapter book reader can tackle with confidence, like Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa stories. These stories are charming, and like Mercy Watson, don't overwhelm Maren with Details. Bink and Gollie have been great because they push her inferential skills just a bit further than they are because the books often require inferential leaps and an understanding of basic irony.

Of course, Kate DiCamillo isn't the only author of good entry-level, girl-oriented chapter books. Maren has also adored Amelia Bedelia, a little girl who takes everything literally! Again, these books have helped build Maren's inferential skills as she realizes the humor in how Amelia responds to the world! Oh, and Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows wonderfully engaging best friends who have a fabulous fashion sense! So, if your child isn't enthralled by Frog and Toad, and Mr. Putter and Tabby, or even the Magic Treehouse or Schoolbus, keep looking. There are some great girl reads ready to motivate your girl! Now, Maren is loving Judy Moody and with a little help, she can make it all the way through in a few days! She can tell me all about the book and the big details, but AR tests? Not ready for those yet!

Do you have favorite books for your child? Chapter books, read-alouds, co-readers? Easy readers? Challenging readers? Let's share!


Rachel Douglas 8:57 AM  

If she like Captain Underpants she might like Chicken Nugget Boy :)

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