Making the leap from beginning reader books with their 1 – 2 – 3 levels, small words and large print to regular chapter books can intimidate even the most excited reader. Chapter books have the perception of having smaller print, no pictures and lots and lots of pages. What a difference from the short, brightly illustrated beginning reader books! It can be challenging (sometimes scary or even heavy) to make the leap. Luckily that’s where these wonderful in-between books come in.

Step up books, sometimes called early or beginning chapter books, are shorter than standard chapter books (less than 120 pages), contain slightly larger print (sometimes even print in different fonts!) and contain illustrations every few pages. Plus, the Accelerated Reading level of these books run between 3.0 and 4.0. They’re published specifically to help young readers make that step from beginning reader to chapter books seem less daunting. Many of them are published as a series, too, so kids can continue reading about the further adventures of a beloved character(s). Once a reader gets hooked, the series can help sustain their reading momentum.

Best of all, early chapter books have something for everyone—fantasy, mystery, contemporary, humor and even sci-fi. I love suggesting these books to families whose kids are ready to step up from beginning readers. It’s so joyful to see formerly reluctant readers rushing to the shelf in search of another book in the series.

Scroll below to see a few of my favorites. There are several kid detectives, a biracial girl living in amazing Africa, a very special pig, hilarious fairy tale mash-ups, adventures with dragons, silly stories about school, magic treehouses, awesome superheroes and more. Many of these lend themselves well for family read-alouds, too.

And as with any titles at the library, if there’s something you think is missing, let us know. We’re always interested in shaping our collection to meet your needs. Happy reading!

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