5 Great Chapter Books For 1st Graders

Designed for students who are transitioning from picture books, this Scholastic imprint features fun characters and pictures on every page. The stories are a perfect way to help kids learn about their world while they build confidence reading.

This cute series follows a girl and her animal friends who problem solve together. Kevin Henkes creates lovable characters that can help 1st graders understand and connect with common life issues.

The Adventures of Sophie Mouse

This sweet series features Sophie Mouse and her woodland friends in their little corner of Silverlake Forest. It’s sweet without being saccharine, has vocabulary that challenges but isn’t too much for new readers, and it reminds kids of the importance of kindness. The story line is a little on the long side for a first grader, but it’s great for keeping their interest and encouraging them to keep reading!

If your students enjoy the amusing antics of Amelia Bedelia, they’ll love this wholesome chapter book series featuring animal characters. Each book focuses on a different topic, from making friends to learning about the science of the planets around them. The books are on the longer side, but they’re gentle and full of whimsy and hope.

The poppleton series is a fun and easy way to introduce your new readers to Chapter books for 1st graders. These sweet stories about a kind-hearted pig will help them feel accomplished as they read through the short stories. Similarly, the Sam and Charlie series follows two Jewish friends who bond over their mutual appreciation for various Jewish traditions.

The Adventures of Zoey

The Adventures of Zoey is a charming musical series about a girl with a unique ability to read people’s innermost thoughts and emotions through song. She tries to harness her power to help those around her, including her father who suffers from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). This is an excellent chapter book for kids who are making the transition from picture books to non-picture books, and the show has a good mix of comedy and serious moments.

In one episode, Zoey hears her dad singing “Moondance” and thinks it’s a sign that they are ready to get intimate. She also uses her gift to help a colleague through a difficult work situation and impresses her boss with her leadership skills in a virtual scavenger hunt project at work.

This show is a fun and lighthearted rom-com that features a talented cast led by Josephine Langford. It also features some heavier storylines that give families a model for coping with the loss of loved ones and navigating work-life balance. These are presented in a way that feels authentic to real life, and they fit with the overall tone of the show.

The Adventures of Penny

A lovable little Jack Russell terrier named Penny is the star of this book written by Abby West. After a rough start in life, Penny was adopted by someone with special expertise with handicapped animals. She quickly learned that her disability did not have to limit her. Penny’s life became an endless series of fun adventures.

One night, Penny wants to wear her hair down like her friends. Benny tries to play with her, but she brushes him off and can’t sleep without her pirate hat. Eventually, he hurries her into an outdoor storage bin and tells her to stay there. But when Penny does not return, he begins to worry.

This delightful story features effective comic-book format and easy-to-read elements to introduce two delightful mouse siblings. The book also teaches children the value of saving, trading, and giving. It is a must-read for any family with young children. This book was recommended by the children at the library in Nacogdoches, TX.

The Adventures of Poppleton

From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant and acclaimed illustrator Mark Teague, this sweet series follows the adventures of Poppleton, a posh pig who has many friends and always finds an adventure. In this collection, readers follow Poppleton through three episodic summer stories. First, he and his friend Hudson go to the beach. But he forgets sunscreen and gets very pink! Luckily, his friends know just how to make him feel better.

When he moves into a town with a llama named Cherry Sue, Poppleton becomes friends with her and other animals like Fillmore the goat and Zacko the ferret. But he wants to spend time alone too. He can’t help feeling disappointed when Cherry Sue invites him to every meal.

But he learns that she also values her time alone, and they find ways to balance their needs. Readers will enjoy following the humorous adventures of this sweet and prickly little pig and his engaging community of animal friends. This easy-to-read chapter book is a great way to introduce children to the joy of reading and learning to set healthy boundaries with others.

The Adventures of Sam and Charlie

If your kids are ready to start getting into the more long, complex chapter books, this series is an excellent option. It features stories of two young neighbors who help each other with their problems, while also learning about their Jewish heritage. Its sweet and relatable characters make it a great choice for your new readers!

Another fun option is this series of short chapters written by Kevin Henkes about a mouse who helps sick magical creatures. Your students will be enchanted by this delightful collection of stories, which are perfect for reading-aloud practice.

The best-selling Mercy Watson series from Kate DiCamillo is sure to entice animal-lovers in your classroom! This enchanting series follows a couple who buys a pig and finds more than she bargained for.

This series of short, humorous stories about a teeny seahorse and his friends is designed to be easy for first graders to read. With good-size text and illustrations on every page, these stories are a fantastic way to introduce your students to chapter books!

The Adventures of Karen

Karen has a gift: she can see, hear, and feel the presence of spirits. She knows that they are around us all the time, and she uses this ability to help people through their challenges.

This book features a strong female protagonist and plenty of action. Karen works at Madam Damnable’s upscale brothel Hotel Mon Cherie in the burgeoning town of Rapid City. When she takes in a girl fleeing Peter Bantle’s less-upscale establishment, she gets swept up into an adventure that involves a legendary lawman, a serial killer, and a plot against the United States.

This is the fourth book in the series about the Baxter children. Kari and Ashley learn to overcome their fears, get along with new friends, and plan for an experience they won’t forget. The story is both inspiring and entertaining, and the characters are easy to love. This is a must-read for anyone who loves adventure novels. It’s also a great book for teens and adults looking for something with a little more substance.

The Cam Jansen Series

The Cam Jansen series features fifth grader Cam, who uses her photographic memory to solve mysteries with her best friend Eric. No mystery is too big or small—from finding valuable autographs that have gone missing to catching a department store thief to figuring out why certain kids win a carnival coin toss, these books feature fun characters who work together to solve each puzzle.

Children can find the stories fast-paced and exciting, and they will enjoy seeing Cam and Eric encounter mysteries while going about their normal everyday activities—from attending basketball games to shopping for school supplies. Families can also use the stories to discuss how important it is for kids to be aware of their surroundings, and why it is important to look closely at objects to uncover clues.

Author David Adler has been writing and illustrating books for more than two decades, including the Cam Jansen series geared toward beginning chapter book readers and a Young Cam Jansen series featuring younger readers. He lives in Woodmere, New York.

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