December 3, 2014

Favorite Series Books for Early Readers

As a teacher and a parent, I'm always on the look out for good books. These beginning chapter book series are some of my kids' favorites!

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There's a magical moment in a child's life when reading clicks! Suddenly they just get it, and their reading takes off. This can happen anywhere between Kindergarten and Third grade. This is the time when kids love reading easy chapter books and especially love reading stories about favorite characters. Series are very popular at this age. Kids don't seem to mind that plot elements are incredibly similar and predictable. In fact, that's what makes them so great for young kids. The predictability factor helps in their fluency and builds confidence.

If you're like me, you love giving books as gifts. These series books are some of my children's favorites (and I've read them too). Any one or set of these books would make a great gift for birthday or holiday.

Mercy Watson

What can I say about this porcine wonder? I love the Mercy Watson books. They have great colorful pictures and silly stories. The large text and lots of pictures make it very accessible to early readers. The hardbound books and chapters make children feel grown up for reading chapter books. We love these!

Captain Awesome
This is a fun new series for early readers. The print is large and there are lots of pictures. The stories are clever and funny. And with a name like "Captain Awesome" you know it's going to be good. 

My Weirder School
This is a newer series and one that my kids love! Even Maren who is way beyond this level enjoys reading them. 

Judy Moody
Judy has been a favorite around here for a long time. She's spunky and kids will relate to her moodiness. But she also is able to figure out how to get around her moods which is great for the kids to read about. 

My boys (and girl) have enjoyed reading about Judy's younger brother Stink. The words are big and the chapters short which make for good reading for young kids.

Kung Pow Chicken
Do I even need to say anything? Doesn't the title speak for itself? Crime fighting ninja chickens. Yup. That's a winner in this family.

Galaxy Zack
A new series I haven't yet read, but my kids have enjoyed. Sorry for the lame review. I hear they're good. 

Magic Tree House books
Magic Tree House are classic books for a reason. One thing I especially love about them is the positive brother/sister relationship portrayed. We need more books where kids are kind and polite to each other! Jack and Annie go on fun adventures and the kids learn things. Maren and Joshua used to go around yelling "Mt. Vesuvius" after they read the "Vacation under a Volcano" book and that always made me laugh. There are also "research guides" you can buy that have more information about each topic. My kids have liked those as well. 

The Rainbow Magic Fairies
There are a million of these books (well, not really, but it seems like it.) Maren LOVED reading every single one of them. They are very predictable, but that helps make reading them easier.

Secrets of Droon
This is the series Christopher is currently interested in. Maren read and liked them too. They are fun early reader fantasy books for kids who like that sort of thing. 

A to Z Mysteries
There's something about mysteries at this age - kids just love them. This series about three friends solving mysteries is great. There are other series by the same author and in the same format that my kids have liked - The calendar mysteries, and the the capitol mysteries come to mind. 

This funny little girl has spunk. Maren loved reading about her adventures. 

Andrew Lost
These books are great for kids who love science. Each book takes Andrew on a new science adventure, discovering new things. They are similar in difficulty to the Magic Tree House books.

Cam Jansen
These books will always hold a special place in my heart. This was the first series Maren devoured as a child and she used to love to pretend she had a photographic memory like Cam. She'd close her eyes and tell me to quiz her about what was in the room. It was extremely cute. Kids love these mysteries and how Cam is able to solve them. 

The Littles
Fun stories about little people living in your walls! These are great classic books my kids have loved. 

Beast Quest
Joshua and Christopher have both loved these books. Honestly, I was surprised because parts are scary and my kids don't do scary very well. There's another series about the same land I've stayed away from because I've read reviews that they were gory, but these ones are good. The idea is that there are several beasts around the land who are being controlled through magic collars and a boy goes on a quest to free them from the collars and save the land. 

Bailey School Kids
These are popular with the kids. Any stories about school actually seem to do well, and a school where the teachers may be magical or mythical beings? Definitely high interest there.

Flat Stanley
Everyone loves Flat Stanley! These books are classics and a great place to start for kids beginning chapter books. Christopher and I started reading these together last year, and he liked them so much he wanted to just read them on his own rather than wait for me to read them with him. I call that a win!

Zack Files
This is one of the series I have not read any of, but my kids like them. 

Junie B. Jones
I know, I know. Some people CAN'T STAND Junie B., and I get that. But personally I just love her. She makes me laugh. Just as long as none of my children try to behave like Junie. Maren loved these books, but she didn't read them on her own. We read them aloud to her, and it was a great bonding experience. We laughed together, but we were also able to talk about what wrong choices Junie B. was making and what she should've done. Christopher can't get past the first chapter of these books. He has a hard time with suspense caused by kids doing wrong things. He gets too nervous for them and the consequences. So clearly, not for everyone, but it was Maren's favorite so I included them. Just be warned. 

Notebook of Doom
The titles of these books are very appealing to my boys. Doom! Aghh! Christopher says they are good.

Encyclopedia Brown
There was a time when Joshua devoured every Encyclopedia Brown book he could find. Again, it's that mystery thing. These are great books for kids on the older end.

There are LOTS of series out there for the beginning-to-read-chapter-book child, and it can be hard to sort through them all. I hope this list of our favorites has helped as you try to find books that will be your child's favorites. What ones that you loved would you add to the list?


  1. What a great resource! I appreciate it as my older two kids (7 and 6) are bookworms, and I can't always stay ahead of them. I appreciate the reviews from someone who appreciates positive sibling relationships. I need to spend some of the holiday reading some of these for myself. :) As a teacher I loved Junie B, but as a mom I'm not quite as crazy about her. I let my daughter get stacks of Junie from the library, but I'm not so sure I want to own them. Sometimes that mouthy talk finds its way into our house... this will all be interesting as she grows and reads more and more.

    1. My oldest is a bookworm too! Glad you found the list helpful. I have a love/hate relationship with Junie B. also. I LOVE that she made my little girl giggle and laugh and it was a great bonding read aloud, but I hated when Maren tried to talk like Junie. Thanks for commenting!


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