29 Chapter Books to Read with Your First Grade Students

July 11, 2017 by




Finding the right chapter books that could help in increasing your students vocabulary and reading comprehension, especially for young first graders, can be challenging! There are so many more choices out there.  This can make it tough to determine which series are really worthy of sharing with your students.

29 Recommended Reading Chapter Book Series for First Grade Students

That’s why I have explored and researched all the appropriate chapter book series for your first graders and come up with a comprehensive list below.

These chapter book series are great for reading aloud with your little ones or assigning for silent or take-home reading. I hope you find this list helpful and it inspires you to start sharing some of these series with your first-graders!

Although this list is geared towards first-grade readers, we all know that many different reading levels can exist within a single grade level. So, to help you narrow down which series might be the right fit for certain students, I have also included a recommended grade/age range under each book description.

1. The Jackson Friends Series by Michelle Edwards

Pia Lia's First Day : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

The Jackson Friends series by Michelle Edwards currently has 4 easy reader chapter books with multicultural characters. In Pa Lia’s First Day, the readers meet a HMONG female character as she faces first day nerves at school, easily relatable for all students facing first day jitters. The Talent Show introduces a young, African American girl who initially is thrilled to perform in the show until the time approaches where she actually needs to be in front of others on stage. Readers will enjoy seeing how these characters work through their nerves and overcome their fears.

2. Henry and Mudge Series by Cynthia Rylant

Henry and Mudge Series by Cynthia Rylant : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cynthia Rylant’s Henry and Mudge Series will warm the hearts of your kids as they join Henry and his 182-pound English Mastiff, Mudge, through all of the trials and tribulations of life! This series not only beautifully illustrates the bond between a child and their pet but also shows readers that there are many different types of friendships in the world.

Try out the first book in the series before purchasing the collector’s set above with Henry And Mudge First Book.

Grade Range: K-2

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3. Lulu by Hillary McKay

Lulu Animal Adventures by Hillary McKay : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

In the Lulu series by Hillary McKay, readers meet Lulu, a 7 year old bi-racial girl with an enormous love of animals. Through the 6 chapter books in the series, readers experience all of the adventures Lulu has with her best friend and cousin Millie and some animals along the way.

4. Mr. Putter and Tabby Series by Cynthia Rylant

Mr. Putter and Tabby Series by Cynthia Rylant : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Putter & Tabby Series by Cynthia Rylant is an endearing series that features an elderly man, Mr. Putter, who has been feeling lonely.  He decides that getting a cat will help his loneliness and finds, Tabby, an older shelter cat, to help his loneliness!  The series follows the elderly pair through all of the adventures that they get into.  A series about friendship and companionship, your students will love the heartfelt nature and the hysterical situations that Mr. Putter and Tabby get involved in!!

Try out the first book in the series before purchasing the collector’s set above with Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea.

Grade Range: 1-4

5. Junie B. Jones Series by Barbara Park

Junie B. Jones Series by Barbara Park : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Junie B. Jones’s Series by Barbara Park is adored by students of all ages.  The series follows a witty, strong-willed little girl who is constantly getting herself into all kinds of mishaps and slapstick situations!  Your kids will love following Junie B. Jones through the crazy adventures of her life with school, family, and friends.

Try out the first book in the series before purchasing the series above with Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus (Junie B. Jones, No. 1)

Grade Range: 1-4

6. Poppleton Series by Cynthia Rylant

Poppleton Series by Cynthia Rylant : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Poppleton Series by Cynthia Rylant is a great way to introduce chapter books to your first graders!  This beloved series is about Poppleton the pig, with each book featuring three sweet stories about kind-hearted Poppleton and the animal friends and characters in his life.  The easy-to-read short stories will definitely help to build your new reader’s confidence and keep them engaged!

Grade Range: PreK-3

 

7. Sam and Charlie by Leslie Kimmelman

Sam and Charlie by Leslie Kimmelman : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Sam and Charlie series by Leslie Kimmelman follows the friendship of two new neighbors, now best friends, and a little sister too. The fact that the characters are Jewish is woven into the stories as the two friends have big adventures such as going to camp, while they bond over their love of various Jewish traditions.

8. Ramona and Beezus Series by Beverly Cleary

Ramona and Beezus Series by Beverly Cleary : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been a fan of this series since I was a kid, and I’m sure your kids will love The Complete Ramona Collection by Beverly Cleary as much as I did.  The series follows the life of funny, charismatic third-grader Ramona as she experiences all the ups and downs of life in elementary school.  Ramona’s curiosity and spunk will have your students begging you to read every single book in this heartwarming series.

9. Nikki and Deja Series by Karen English

Nikki and Deja Series by Karen English : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

The main characters in the Nikki and Deja series by Karen English are two best friends that explore real-life school situations such as school cliques and disagreeing with your best friend. The main characters are African American 3rd graders who show kids how to manage some tricky social skills while maintaining your friendship.

10. Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Your students will LOVE The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne.  Join siblings, Jack and Annie, as they venture to different historical places and periods in time with a magical treehouse that they find near their home.  These chapter books are not only highly entertaining for early readers but the offer a fun spin on history that will have your kids learning how to read while learning about history!

Try out the first book in the series: Magic Tree House, No. 1: Dinosaurs Before Dark

Grade Range: 1-4

 

11. Simply Sarah Series by Phyllis Reynolds

Simply Sarah Series by Phyllis Reynolds : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

The Simply Sarah series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor follows Sarah, a young girl who is tired of being ordinary. This series takes place in Chicago with several multicultural characters dwelling in an urban apartment building. Kids will enjoy the misadventures Sarah has in her attempts at school, at home, and her community to be seen as extraordinary.

12. Babysitter’s Little Sister Series by Ann M. Martin

Babysitter’s Little Sister Series by Ann M. Martin : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A spin-off of one of my personal favorite series as a child, the Babysitter’s Club.  Baby-Sitters Little Sister Series by Ann M. Martin, focuses on seven-year-old Karen Brewer, stepsister to the main character in the Babysitter’s Club series.  The books focus on all of the adventures that Karen and her classmates encounter. Your first graders will not only relate to Karen and her friends but they will be entertained until the last page of every book in this series!

Try out the first book in this series with Karen’s Witch (Baby-Sitters Little Sister, No. 1)

Grade Range: K-2

13. The Cam Jansen Series by David A. Adler

The Cam Jansen Series by David A. Adler : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

The Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler is the perfect chapter book series for all those little detectives in your classroom.  The series follows fifth-grade detective, Jennifer “Cam” Jansen, who got her nickname for having a photographic memory!  Each book focuses on a different mystery that Cam and her best friend, Eric, must figure out and solve!  Your students will love trying to figure out the mystery as they read each book in this exciting series!  Start with book #1 in the series, Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds by David A. Adler.

Grade Range: 1-5

14. Amelia Bedelia Series by Herman Parish

Amelia Bedelia Series by Herman Parish : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

The Amelia Bedelia Chapter Book series, originally written by Peggy Parish, was taken over by her nephew, Herman Parish, after her passing. He reimagined it into a chapter book series focusing on the childhood of the much-loved housekeeper who takes everything literally, Amelia Bedelia.  The young Amelia Bedelia will have readers laughing non-stop with her constant misinterpretation of various word plays.  Plus, these chapter books are a great way to get your students familiar with idioms and literal versus figurative meanings.

Try out the first book in the series: Amelia Bedelia Chapter Book 1: Amelia Bedelia Means Business

Grade Range: 1-5

 

15. Nate the Great Series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Nate the Great Series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharat are wonderful chapter books for emerging readers.  The text features simple vocabulary and the various plots revolve around everyday things that kids can relate to such as a missing picture or a lost cat.  Students will love trying to solve each mystery with Nate, his dog, Sludge, and all of the other humorous characters that join in on their adventures.

Grade Range: 1-4

16. Ivy and Bean Series by Annie Barrows

Ivy and Bean Series by Annie Barrows : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows is an award-winning series that both you and your students will adore.  The chapter books tell the tale about two very different girls who become friends despite their differences.  You will love the positive messages that these chapter books boast.  Your students will love the humor involved with all the mischief these two unlikely friends find.  The oversized print and simple illustrations make these a perfect pick for emerging readers.

Try out the first book in the series with Ivy & Bean: Book 1

17. Katie Woo Series by Fran Manushkin

Katie Woo Series by Fran Manushkin : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

 

The Katie Woo series by Fran Manushkin is excellent for young readers thanks to all of the positive messages expressed throughout each book.  Katie Woo and her friends are normal kids dealing with everyday life lessons, like not getting the part in the school play or doing poorly on a test.  The concepts are simple, but that makes it really easy for young readers to relate.  Plus, the characters featured in the chapter books are engaging and humorous, which will keep your kids wanting to read every book in the series!!

Grade Range: K-2

18. Keena Ford

Keena Ford by Melissa Thompson : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Keena Ford by Melissa Thompson, is an adventurous 2nd grade African American girl who lives with her divorced mom and an older brother. Young readers will enjoy the humor of the sticky situations Keena gets herself into as she settles in to 2nd grade.

 

19. Judy Moody Series by Megan McDonald

Judy Moody Series by Megan McDonald : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

 

The Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald has students everywhere relating to main character Judy’s ever-changing moods and hysterical antics.  Your class will love Judy’s perspective on life as a third-grader and relate to all of the emotions and obstacles that she faces on a daily basis.  Judy’s wit and humor will entertain your students and the interesting facts sprinkled throughout the series on everything from algebra to the American Revolution will teach your kids tons of new things!

Try the first book in the series with Judy Moody Book 1: Judy Moody Was in a Mood

Grade Range: 1-4

20. Sofia Martinez by Jacqueline Jules

Sofia Martinez by Jacqueline Jules : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Sofia Martinez is a stubborn, mischievous young girl in the series written by Jacqueline Jules. These stories also imbed Spanish words and phrases, highlighted in pink, that exposes readers to another language while offering esl students an opportunity to feel included. The book also includes some stop and think moments where readers can guess what ideas Sofia may be coming up with as she problem solves through her adventures.

21. Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew by Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

The Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew by Carolyn Keene are the perfect chapter books for those wannabe sleuths in your classroom.  Inspired by the original Nancy Drew chapter books, this series features a younger, third-grade Nancy Drew. She follows clues to solve mysteries appropriate for your first-grade readers – nothing too scary or complicated.  But don’t be fooled by the easy-to-follow and not too scary mysteries, these stories are incredibly interesting and will have your emerging readers captivated right from the start!

Try the first book in the series with Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Sleepover Sleuths

Grade Range: 1-4

22. Alien in My Pocket Series by Nate Ball

Alien in My Pocket Series by Nate Ball : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Kids will love the silliness and sci-fi feel of the Alien in My Pocket series by Nate Ball.  The series begins when a four-inch-tall alien crashes through Zack McGee’s bedroom window. The story follows Zack and his new alien friend, Amp, through all kinds of crazy adventures that they face together.  Your students will love the illustrations on every page, interesting science facts, and unexpected plot twists as they make their way through each book in this fun series!

Grade Range: 1-5

23. Jaden Toussaint by Marti Dumas

Jaden Toussaint by Marti Dumas : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Jaden Toussaint by Marti Dumas is a series of chapter books following a smart (super smart) 5 year old African American boy bursting with confidence and some ninja dance moves. All kids will love watching him solve real kid problems like convincing his parents he needs more TV time and less time reading.

24. Eerie Elementary Series by Jack Chabert

Eerie Elementary Series by Jack Chabert : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

The Eerie Elementary series by Jack Chabert is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line.  Which is aimed at new and emerging readers, making it perfect for your first graders!  Especially if they love a bit of mystery and spookiness in their reading material!  The Eerie Elementary series features fun illustrations and fast-paced plots. It will keep your readers building their reading confidence as they learn all about the school that comes alive and all the spooky adventures that occur as a result!

Grade Range: 1-3

25. Jigsaw Jones Series by James Preller

Jigsaw Jones Series by James Preller : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

The Jigsaw Jones series by James Preller is a campy series of Scooby Doo-esque mystery chapter books that your kids won’t be able to put down as they try to crack the codes and figure out the puzzles along with private detective, Jigsaw Jones.  With relatable characters and humorous scenarios, it’s no wonder that this series has over 33 chapter books and remains a favorite among new readers.

Grade Range: 1-5

26. Stink Series by Megan McDonald

Stink Series by Megan McDonald : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

If your students like the Judy Moody series, they will love the Stink series by Megan McDonald that focuses on Judy’s little brother, Stink.  Your first-graders will love the hilarious antics of Stink Moody and his friends.  Not to mention all of the random facts and cool science adventures that are packed into each book!  These are especially appealing for young boys and may just turn a reluctant reader into an avid on!

Try the first book in the series with Stink Book 1: The Incredible Shrinking Kid

Grade Range: K-3

27. The Frog and Toad Series by Arnold Lobel

The Frog and Toad Series by Arnold Lobel : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Part of the I Can Read book list, the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel is a classic first-grade chapter book series. It has stood the test of time with its beautiful illustrations and life lessons about friendship and loyalty that is inherent to each story.  With simple and easy-to-follow plot lines, students will feel accomplished as they finish each chapter book with ease.

Try the first book in the series with Frog and Toad Are Friends

Grade Range: K-3

28. The Mercy Watson Series by Kate DiCamillo

The Mercy Watson Series by Kate DiCamillo : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by acclaimed author Kate DiCamillo, the Mercy Watson series will entice all those animal-lovers in your classroom. This charming story about a childless couple who randomly end up purchasing an ‘unusual’ pig named Mercy.  The series will entertain your students as they explore all of the hysterical and heartwarming adventures that Mercy gets herself and her adopted parents, the Watsons, into.  The series is perfect for beginning readers. It features jovial illustrations and familiar plotlines with a fun pig-centered twist.

Grade Range: 1-4

29. Amazing Grace by Mary Hofmann

Amazing Grace by Mary Hofmann : Best Chapter Books for First Graders

Amazing Grace chapter books by Mary Hofmann pick up with Grace, the same young, free-spirited girl, found in the picture book, Amazing Grace. Definitely enjoyable! This book series does contain some higher, more challenging vocabulary. It would be good for higher readers or as a class read aloud.

 

 

Guest post by Margot Carmichael from Carmichael’s Class

“Teaching 4th grade for four years has helped shape me as a teacher who is passionate about creating a classroom that engages and inspires my students, integrates technology-driven learning, offers real-world experiences, and breeds creativity. I have taught highly diverse classes with high populations of ESL learners, Special Ed learners, and behavior challenges–granting me a deep understanding on the importance of personalizing learning for each and every student. As a teacher, I am constantly learning and evolving, but the one constant is always putting my students first!”

Education to the Core is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program.  An affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  All opinions and recommendations are my own and shared from my free will and not part of any promotion.

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