Learning Centre Recommendations

Chapter books for young able readers

Things to consider when choosing chapter books for young able readers.

The Fear Factor: When choosing a book for any reader, but especially an advanced reader, it is important to know your reader's tastes. It is very important to know what in a book frightens or causes anxiety in your child, if anything. Avoid anything that may scare or disturb them if you don't want to be up all night with nightmares.

The Maturity Factor: Another thing to consider with advanced readers is the maturity and the comprehension level of the child. A seven year old reading at a 5th grade level may be able to read Harry Potter or The Golden Compass and enjoy the story but miss out on the emotional nuances, relationships between the characters and beauty of the writing. In other words, a 7 year old is probably just reading for the plot because they can handle the vocabulary and thus missing out on the layered complexities. If this happens it is a real shame as the richness in books is lost.

The Animal Factor: Animals in books can be a tricky proposition, but the cover art should help you sort things out fairly well. Most books with animals as main characters that are set in the real world involve some kind of sadness, mistreatment and occasionally the death of an animal. Many young children find these things very difficult to cope with and dislike it intensely when animals are hurt.


The Big Picture: why picture books are important for older children

Do not under estimate picture books.

To the untrained eye, a person might confuse picture books as “babyish” and chapter books as “smart.” Do not underestimate the power of the picture book. In fact, throw out those inaccurate views.

There are plenty of chapter books poorly written or written with vocabulary at the level of a five year old. Picture books, on the other hand, can be enriching and thought-provoking. Reading picture books can be an educational experience for the entire spectrum of learners from low-level to gifted, from infants and toddlers to adult.

Read the following article to learn more about picture books.
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A few titles to consider when selecting chapter books for young able readers.

The Magic Tree House series is great. There are 25 or so of them - small chapter books - and each is about a certain time in history. Reading these is all of the history you need for a lower-elementary age child.


Pippi Longstocking. There are several books in this series.


The Moffats, Ginger Pye (a Newberry winner which involves a lost dog),


The Witch Family by Elanor Estes.


The Borrowers, by Mary Norton (and sequels) - little tiny people who "borrow" things they need. Often inspires much play with small dolls and dollhouses. Several books in the series.


The Littles. Like the Borrowers, but shorter books at an easier reading level.


Henry Reed, who also has a kind of scientist/inventor spirit.



Little House on the Prairie. Great series but not all children will like some of the realistic scenes.


Boxcar Children. Warning - in the first book the children's parents have died and they are on their own.


Wizard of Oz - there are quite a few books in this series, and they're not as scary as the movie.


Alice in Wonderland. Still Mrs. Gilchrist's favourite after all these years.



Mary Poppins - there are several books in the series.


I couldn't forget good old Ramona! This is the classic age for Ramona the Pest, her sister Bezus, etc. by Beverly Cleary.


Charlotte's Web (Warning - Charlotte dies at the end.) E.B. White

Oh and of course Paddington Bear by Michael Bond - these are just perfect and there's a zillion of them. (Warning - they're very English and some of the words may be unfamiliar.)


Encyclopedia Brown. Each chapter is a stand-alone mystery, and there are a whole bunch of these.


Mr. Gum by Andy Stanton


Horrid Henry by F. Simon Be warned he is very naughty and not all children like this sort of thing.


Everything by Roald Dahl;. (Boy being the exception here)


More recommendations here

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