Exploring Easy Readers!

Houndsley and Catina book coverFor young children nurtured on a foundation of picture books that have been read to them, nothing can be more exciting than learning to read a whole book by themselves.  Beginning with pages with a few words and related pictures, such as those in Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss or Else Minarik’s Little Bear, children expand their reading skills and build confidence.
At Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, easy readers are organized into four reading levels. 

Level One features few words, accompanied by illustrations which help a child decode and read the words. Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie series has become a favorite, rivaling the classic Dr. Seuss in popularity among Level One readers. 
Elephant and Piggie book cover
Level Two books offer more character and plot development.  Particularly popular are series by Cynthia Rylant, such as Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball and Mr. Putter and Tabby.  Many other prominent authors of treasured picture books and children’s novels are writing in the Easy Reader genre, including Grace Lin, James Howe and David Adler.

Level Three books offer charming stories with lovely illustrations, as found in Bob Graham’s Tales From the Waterhole.  Kids and parents will both enjoy visiting exciting international cities alongside a duck named Dodsworth, in the series created by Tim Egan.  Future detectives will get a head start reading Marjorie Sharmat’s  Nate the Great series.  Prefer superheroes to detectives? Try some of the DK adaptations featuring popular comic book characters!

Levels Three and Four are a springboard to juvenile series fiction (the Magic Tree House series, Judy Moody, Geronimo Stilton), and regular fiction books appropriate for young readers, such as the classic My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. 

Easy readers fly off library shelves due to their popularity with the preschool and early elementary audience.
However, there are many easy readers in the nonfiction shelves that are often overlooked. 
DK readers offer a popular “Day in the Life” series that introduces children to the work of many community helpers and occupations, including dancers, teachers, and musicians.  Nonfiction books on animals, insects, dinosaurs and historical figures are available for young readers.
Geese Find the Missing Piece

The Library has a trove of engaging easy readers in the nonfiction section JUV 818.  What could be more fun and encouraging to young readers than jokes and riddles?   Marco and Giulio Maestro’s Geese Find the Missing Piece: School Time Riddle Rhymes offers the silly humor that kids love in an “I Can Read” format.  During a midsummer heat wave, this riddle was most refreshing: “Where do polar bears learn their ABC’s?”  Answer: “At a cool school.”
Other choices are dinosaur jokes and spooky creature riddles.

This summer, have fun and “dig into” cool easy readers. Don’t forget to explore the treasures in the nonfiction shelves too!