Category Description: Easy Reader/Early Chapter Books

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The Easy Reader / Early Chapter Book category includes the spectrum of titles for early children just learning to read and ranges from very basic books for emergent readers to longer, illustrated titles for kids who are not quite ready for kids who are not quite ready to read middle-grade novels on their own.

For easy reader nominations, we look for leveled readers with controlled vocabularies. These are books designed for kids to build vocabulary (e.g., "sight words") and practice their reading. Often they are parts of series with reading-related titles, such as “Step into Reading” or “I Can Read” and they can usually be identified by their large type, simple sentence structure, and colorful illustrations on every page. Easy readers are typically 32-64 pages in length. Well-known easy readers include series like Bink & Gollie and Elephant & Piggie.

Early chapter books (also called beginning chapter books or short-chapter books) can be a little bit more difficult to identify. Many books have chapters (including a lot of middle-grade novels), but only books designed for developing readers belong in this category. Compared to easy readers, early chapter books are a bit longer (up to 160 pages or so), and they have fewer illustrations. Instead of full-color pictures on every page, they may have just a few black and white line drawings sprinkled throughout the text. What distinguishes them from novels is that beginning chapter books use large print, short chapters, and simple plots, and they rely heavily on dialogue. Popular beginning chapter books include the Princess in Black, Dory Fantasmagory, and Magic Tree House series.

Maggi Rohde, Category chair

Last edited 8/13/2022