Do you want to read some great chapter books to your 1st graders this year? Would you like a plan of which book to read each month? I’ve got you covered. Below are some chapter books for first graders that will be a good fit.
Chapter books are not meant to replace picture books. We should still read lots and lots of picture books to our young children for many years to come.
These selections can be read to a whole group or recommend them to families who are looking for book suggestions.
Month by Month Chapter Books for 1st Graders
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Start the new school year with a book of adventure in Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.
There is a new neighbor in town and her name is Pippi Longstocking. She has wild red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a flair for the outrageous that seems to lead to one adventure after another! (there are more Pippi adventure books)
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder will take your kids back in time. (part of the Little House books)
The Ingalls family is packing up the covered wagon and leaving Wisconsin. Travel along on their journey as they settle into a new home and start a farm. Pioneer life can be tough, but the Ingalls family always faces the challenges together.
Spend some of your read-aloud time listening to the audiobook read by Cherry Jones. It’s such a treat.
My all-time favorite chapter book is The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden. It was a 1961 Newbery Honor Book. (there are more cricket adventure books)
A cricket from Connecticut finds himself shuffled to New York via a picnic basket. It’s there that he meets some great friends and takes in the sites of Times Square. He also brings a great gift to a hard-working family.
Since the story takes place in New York, it will be fun to talk about the Macy’s Day Parade that happens each November in the same city.
Dominic by William Steig is the story of a dog on a journey to see more of the world and to see where life takes him. Along the way, he encounters many new animals all in need of some help. He even encounters the Doomsday Gang. Throughout the story, we learn about many admirable traits that Dominic carries with him on his exploration of the world.
This book is packed with vocabulary to enrich your kids listening and speaking vocabulary.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater is the story of a house painter named Mr. Popper. He is given a penguin as a gift from a polar explorer. His house begins to fill with penguins and he has to figure out what to do. Penguin upkeep is expensive and Mr. Popper decides to create a penguin show and take his brood on the road. Will the new lifestyle fit the penguins and Mr. Popper? You just have to read to find out. (Newbery Honor Book)
The Chocolate Touchby Patrick Skene Catling is a sweet treat for February.
John Midas adores chocolate. He’s happy to eat anytime of the day. Then one day, John finds a special candy store where he receives the most unusually delicious chocolate he has ever eaten. From that moment, things really begin to change. Turns out everything that touches his lips tastes like chocolate from his toothpaste to his morning bacon. Is it really true that there can be too much of a good thing?
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner is the story of four orphaned siblings who find an old boxcar to live in for a short time. The kids are extremely resourceful and do well taking care of themselves. Eventually, they are reunited with their kind grandfather who brings them to his house to live. But, he also has the boxcar moved to the backyard so the kids can play in it whenever they want. (part of a series)
This one isn’t a chapter book, but does provide enough material for the whole month. Since April is National Poetry Month, read Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. The kids will be giggling daily at the poems.
It’s fun to have the kids illustrate the poems as you read too. And, you might even have your class memorize one of the poems. We liked memorizing “Boa Constrictor.”
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary is a timeless classic about a dog and his owner named Henry. Ribsy travels to the shopping mall with the Huggins family and mistakenly ends up in the wrong station wagon. He ends up going home with a different family and that is when things become very adventurous. Ribsy travels all over trying to make his way home. (there are more Ribsy books)
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is the story of a young girl who tells her classmates that she has 100 dresses in her closet. Yet, she wears the same dress every day. The kids begin to tease her at school. From there, lots of lessons are learned. (Newbery Honor Book)
A great book for talking about empathy and kindness. Here are just a few questions you could discuss with the book.
- What is discrimination?
- How do you think it feels to be teased?
- How should we treat others?
- What should we do if we see someone being teased or bullied?
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is an entertaining tale about a boy named James who is sent to live with his two mean aunts. He discovers something when he accidentally drops magical crystals on a peach tree. A giant peach forms at the top of the tree. When James goes to explore, he meets all sorts of creatures at the peach. Then, the fruit detaches from the tree and the real adventure begins.
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes was a 2014 Newbery Honor Book. Billy is a second grader dealing with common second grade issues- siblings, friends, and school. It’s a fun read at the end of first grade before the kids head to second grade.
If there is ever a month where you don’t like the suggested title or you have time to read another book, here are a few more to try.
Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
To Get Kids Excited About Reading Early Chapter Books on Their Own
If you have some students who are ready to begin reading early chapter books on their own, I like to do a whole class read-aloud from a series I think they may be interested in reading. You will often find that new chapter book readers will want to read other books in the series after you have read one to them. And, if you find your kids love a particular series, you can then recommend the other books to families to enjoy at home too. Here are a few series to try: Cam Jansen, A-Z Mysteries, Magic Tree House, Nate the Great.
Would you like a list of these books that you can print and keep in your lesson plan binder? I have a FREE printable list for email subscribers.
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