Over the last 5 months, I have been reading stacks upon stacks of short chapter books.
Thousands of pages later, I am ready to bring you a handy list, although what I arrived at is slightly different than where I thought I was going at the start.
My goal to begin with was to hunt down terrific chapter books for fledgling readers who have graduated from leveled easy readers but aren’t quite ready for just any ol’ chapter book. These folks need books that aren’t too daunting.
I didn’t look for books quite this small.
I made an arbitrary rule for myself in order to cut down the enormous number of options I might read: The book had to be under 100 pages. Thus I merrily set out. I discovered a couple of things, though, along the way.
One isn’t really a new discovery: I am not fond of rules.
Therefore I kept breaking my 100 page rule, fudging just a teensy bit here and a teensy bit there. All in all, though, the rule was very beneficial for me as it kept me from reading every single book that screamed at me to check it out. I really, really tried to turn a cold shoulder to the ones over 100 pages!
Me, coming home from the library.
The other thing was — okay this wasn’t really a new discovery either — that 100 page books span the gamut of difficulty, from illustration-heavy, text-minimal, zoopy stories to texts full of challenging vocabulary, complex plots, and almost no illustrations. Short chapter books are not just for budding readers.
Here, then, is my revised list of all the kinds of people that my 100-page-book list is for:
•new graduates of leveled readers, to be sure
•older readers who struggle with reading or simply aren’t enthused about reading; short is less intimidating
•young-but-advanced readers who may be only 5 but are tearing through books — what can you hand them next?
•readers perfectly capable of tackling the entire Harry Potter series who might want something utterly different to zip through in an hour
•parents/caregivers looking for a short read-aloud
•Kindle-less readers who need something lightweight to tuck in a travel satchel
•children assigned to read x number of pages over summer vacation looking for ideas
In other words, a lot of readers might benefit from short chapter books of varied difficulty, but it’s tough to find them because one can’t search for books by length. The newer series are a cinch to spot, but older or stand-alone titles are tricky to find.
I dug through stacks of out-of-print books and read bundles of brand new books, searching for what I thought were the very best reads. I hunted for variety — animal stories, fantasy, diverse cultures, history, humor. There are still so many excellent titles out there that I missed but I have other reading journeys I’d like to go on so I’m ending this particular voyage and posting the best of what I’ve found tomorrow.
There are lots of easy chapter books already on my blog including some of my very favorite ones. Those are listed with links to their reviews in my Title index so do check them out.
I hope you’ll find something or a lot of things that are just the right fit for the readers in your life. If you share this post with others, it will make my efforts all the more worthwhile, so please do!