Beginning readers love to measure their success and for first graders choosing that first chapter book is a big deal. As parents and teachers, we want our child to be challenged but to also achieve success so picking the right chapter books is important. These 20 beginner chapter books cover many different interests to help get your first grader excited about reading.
Parent/Teacher Note: Each of these books(series) fall in the approximate 400L-600L Lexile range. This correlates to levels J-L in both the Learning A-Z Text Leveling System and the Fountas & Pinnell levels.
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Best Beginner Chapter Books
Boris on the Move by Andrew Joyner
Boris on the Move – Meet Boris! He lives with his mom and dad in Hogg Bay. Their home is a van that once traveled all over the world. Then one morning, Boris feels a jolt. Could it be? Is the van really moving? Is Boris on an adventure at last?
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad Together – Frog and Toad are best friends—they do everything together. When Toad admires the flowers in Frog’s garden, Frog gives him seeds to grow a garden of his own. When Toad bakes cookies, Frog helps him eat them. And when both Frog and Toad are scared, they are brave together. School Library Journal called this story collection from Arnold Lobel “a masterpiece of child-styled humor and sensitivity.”
Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant
Henry and Mudge – The first book in the acclaimed Ready-to-Read series from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant featuring Henry and his lovable 180-pound dog, Mudge. Henry, feeling lonely on a street without any other children, finds companionship and love in a big dog named Mudge.
A Friend for Dragon by Dav Pilkey
A Friend for Dragon – This series is part of Scholastic’s early reader line, Acorn, aimed at children who are learning to read. With easy-to-read text, a short-story format, plenty of humor, and full-color artwork on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and fluency. Acorn books plant a love of reading and help readers grow! (Plus, Dav Pilkey is one of our super favorite authors, who wrote the Captain Underpants Books!)
Iris and Walter by Elissa Haden Guest
Iris and Walter – There are four chapters of easy reading pleasure in this Level 3 Green Light Reader edition of the first book in the award-winning friendship series. This story finds Iris hating her new neighborhood in the country until she discovers a treehouse…and maybe a new best friend.
Katie Woo Collection
Katie Woo Collection – Katie Woo knows how to make every day an adventure. Of course, a curious, creative girl like her sometimes finds herself in a bit of mischief, but don’t worry! Katie always manages to fix her mishaps, making her friends laugh along the way. Join Katie and have an adventure of your own with this collection of delightful stories by Fran Manushkin.
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa – Hold on to your hats! Two new pals have arrived on the scene: Cowgirl Kate and her stubborn, but devoted cowhorse, Cocoa. Together they count the herd, ride the range, and, of course, argue till the cows come home–as only best friends can do.
Gus and Grandpa and the Two-Wheeled Bike
Gus and Grandpa and the Two-Wheeled Bike – Gus is unimpressed when Ryan coolly stops his sleek five-speed bike with the hand brake. But he’s totally nonplussed when Daddy buys him a bicycle like Ryan’s. Gus will never give up his training wheels. Enter Grandpa, who wisely removes Gus from the neighborhood and curious eyes for practice, digs out Daddy’s old bike for the occasion, and patiently holds that bike as Gus rides it around and around. Gus’s ultimate triumph belongs to Grandpa as well, and will be shared enthusiastically by reluctant riders and their supportive families.
Fox and His Friends
Fox and his Friends – In three separate episodes Fox wants to play with his friends, but duty, in one form or another, always interferes.
Nate the Great
Nate the Great – Nate the Great has a new case! His friend Annie has lost a picture. She wants Nate to help her find it. Nate the Great must get all the facts, ask the right questions, and narrow the list of suspects so he can solve the mystery.
Don’t miss our top picks for the funniest books for kids!
Minnie and Moo: Wanted Dead or Alive
Minnie and Moo: Wanted Dead or Alive – When Minnie and Moo are mistaken for bank robbers, will they escape the long arm of the law?
Pedro First-Grade Hero by Fran Manushkin
Pedro, First-Grade Hero – Spend some time with Pedro, Katie Woo’s fun-loving friend. From a buggy disaster to a run for class president, Pedro has what it takes to be the hero of first-grade. No matter what he’s doing, Pedro is always good for some laughs and adventure.
Little Bear – Meet Little Bear, a friend to millions of children. And meet Mother Bear, who is there whenever Little Bear needs her. When it is cold and snowy outside, she finds just the right outfit for Little Bear to play in. When he goes to the moon, she has a hot lunch waiting for him on his return. And, of course, she never forgets his birthday.
Cork & Fuzz: The Swimming Lesson
The Swimming Lesson (Cork & Fuzz) – Cork is a short muskrat who likes to help out. Fuzz is a tall possum who likes to help himself. Cork is babysitting a porcupine, and he needs Fuzz’s help. Fuzz says he’s too busy. But when the porcupine goes missing, it is up to Fuzz to help find him! Young readers will love the sixth installment in the popular Cork and Fuzz series!
Appleville Elementary: First Day
Appleville Elementary: First Day – It’s the first day of first grade, and the kids who are going to be in Miss Popper’s class are really excited. Well, everyone except Carlos, that is! He’d rather stay in kindergarten. Carlos decides he’ll go to first grade for one day only, and he’ll never come back again. But when Miss Popper reveals that someone new will be arriving on the second day of school, Carlos can’t help but return. Who will the new arrival be?
George and Martha: One Fine Day by James Marshall
George and Martha One Fine Day – Five new episodes in the friendship of two hippos: “The Tight Rope,” “The Diary,” “The Icky Story,” “The Big Scare,” “The Amusement Park.”
Young Cam Jansen and the Double Beach Mystery
Young Cam Jansen and the Double Beach Mystery – Cam Jansen has a great time looking for shells on the beach with her friend Eric and her aunt Molly. But when they’re done, Cam’s mother is nowhere in sight! She was just sitting under a red umbrella, so how could she have disappeared? With a click, Cam puts her photographic memory to work to find her mom.
Horrible Harry Goes to the Moon by Suzy Kline
Horrible Harry Goes to the Moon – When Harry finds an ad in the paper for a used telescope, Miss Mackle suggests that the class raise money to buy it. The telescope will make their moon study unit even more exciting! Once they get the telescope, the class can have a nighttime moonwatch. But Harry wants to do more than watch the moon-he wants to go there! Can Harry really take a trip into outer space?
The High-Rise Private Eyes #1: The Case of the Missing Monkey
The High-Rise Private Eyes #1: The Case of the Missing Monkey – When a glass monkey is stolen, High-Rise Private Eyes Bunny Brown and Jack Jones are on the job! But will this be one case that’s too tough to crack?
Poppleton – Meet Poppleton. He lives in a sunny house. He has a friendly neighbor. He visits the library on Mondays. And he always helps his friends!