Young Readers Ready for More

Has your young reader mastered beginning reader books?  Is she able to recognize most common sight words and easily sound out more complicated words? Is he ready for longer sentences and more complex vocabulary? Is she eager to read a chapter book but not yet ready for the longer books that older children are reading? If you answered yes to these questions, then your young reader is probably ready for a First Chapter Book.

First Chapter Books bridge the gap between basic beginning reader books and longer chapter books that children commonly read beginning in third or fourth grade.  First Chapter Books cover a wide variety of high-interest topics and story plots that appeal to boys and girls in early elementary grades.

First Chapter Books have these basic features:

  • 50 – 100 pages in length
  • 6 – 10 short chapters
  • 6 – 12 words per sentence
  • A combination of sight words and new words that must be sounded out
  • Large and consistent font
  • Ample white space around the text
  • Illustrations on at least two pages per chapter

Many First Chapter Books are part of a series.  Children especially enjoy series books because once they have read the first book in the series, they feel comfortable with the characters, topic, and writing style.  They naturally want more!

Here are some of the most popular series books that are classified as First Chapter Books at BCPL:

  • Junie B. Jones series
  • Magic Tree House series
  • Cam Jansen series
  • Mercy Watson series
  • Jake Maddox sports series
  • Field Trip Mysteries series
  • Ghost Detectors series
  • Victory School Superstars series
  • Zigzag Kids series

Most First Chapter Book titles are part of the Accelerated Reader program, usually in the 2.0 – 3.5 book level range.  The Accelerated Reader website ( is a quick and easy way to find the book level of most First Chapter Books.  Simply type the title in the search box, and the website will give you the book level and point value of the book.At BCPL, First Chapter Books are shelved with the juvenile chapter books, but they are easy to identify by the bright green dot that is affixed to the spine of the book. Or, ask your friendly BCPL librarian to help you find a First Chapter Book that is just right for your young reader. You can view the complete list of our First Chapter Books on the the children’s webpage; look in the Books, Music & More box.

It’s an exciting moment in the life of a child when he picks up his very First Chapter Book.  Let BCPL help you make that experience a positive one that will result in a lifetime of reading pleasure for your young reader.


Elaine Demoret has worked at Boone County Public Library for five years as a Youth Services Associate in the Children’s Department.  Her mission is to bring quality children’s programs and performers to the library from a variety of community resources.


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