Reading book suggestions for grade 1-2

My son is reading at a late 1st grade level, he just started AAR 2. He’s only reading those leveled reading books (step 1, level 1, type books…) he has read the easy Dr Suess books (Fox in Socks, 10 Apples On Top, etc…). He really does not like to read:( I want to get hi excited about book, and push him a little to break through those easy readers. I feel he has stopped making progress:( any ideas for books for boys? I’m looking for something that’s easy to read, like an early chapter book. Something that maybe has a series. Any suggestions appreciated!

@Luvmyboys Cul-de-Sac Kids books by Beverly Lewis are great! And they’re good for both boys and girls. And because they are by Beverly Lewis the content is trustworthy (good for young kids–not worrying about middle school type content which is hard to avoid in chapter books I’ve found). My 1st/2nd grader also loved Magic Tree House books–the first one is about Dinosaurs and we read it as a read aloud actually and my son who is in Kindergarten but is finishing AAR Level 1 could have easily read that one himself if I’d have offered it to him. Also, Imagination Station books, but those might be a little lengthier, I can’t quite remember. I’d start with Cul-de-Sac Kids and/or Magic Tree House :slight_smile: since both have a series and both work for both boys and girls :slight_smile:

@Forchristandkids thank you so much for your suggestions! I saw the Cul-de-Sac on CBD! I was wondering about those. Out of those and The Magis Tree House books, which do you think a rambunctious boy would be most interested in?

@Luvmyboys Sorry, I keep mentioning “boys and girls” because my 1st/2nd grader is a girl and you mentioned you have a son, so that’s the reason I keep mentioning that :slight_smile: I’m trying to think of things that work for both genders since many of the other books I would normally recommend probably wouldn’t be of interest being based on neverland fairies and magic attic princesses :slight_smile: lol!

@Luvmyboys I will take a look at the list today and will reply to you this afternoon :slight_smile: I have to get out my list. I know there are some good ones! And check your local library for sure–ours has almost all of the Cul-de-Sac books and many of the Magic Tree House and can borrow them if they don’t from other libraries. I know the first Magic Tree House book (Dinosaurs Before Dark I think?) was great! Very adventurous! I will respond with more in a little bit!

@Forchristandkids that’s an issue I am facing, tons of series for girls, not a lot written to boys. I love the Idea of finding a book series like the “Ivy and Bean” books. I have never looked into them, they are written for girls. But the story line is 2 best friends. I want to find a series like that for my son! I’d love for him to get caught up in a book series! I love to read, for pleasure and for researching. I hope he will find the love of reading:) and I think a good, adventurous, but respectful/age appropriate/clean book can help with that. Someone recommended the Horrible Harry books. I wasn’t to fond of them. They give the impression of someone having a crush in the book, and at 7 yrs old, my son doesn’t need to be exposed to that!

@Forchristandkids I was doing a little more research into the book series:) I found a great website,, where the author provides resources for alol the books! I’m definatley planning on getting the 1st book. Our local Savers thrift store sells kids chapter books for .99! I will be looking for it there tonight:)

Are you looking for Magic Treehouse level books? I would recommend any of the Clyde Robert Bulla chapter books. They are old adventure stories mostly about boys 10-13 years old. Start with Secret Valley, A Lion to Guard Us, Viking Adventures, and The Sword in the Tree.
If you are looking for easy readers: Frog and Toad, Wagon Wheels, Amelia Bedelia, Mouse Tales, Henry and Mudge, Owl at Home.
Let us know what you find!

@dragonflyer thanks for the suggestions!! I love Daniels Duck by Clyde Bulla. I will look into his chapter books for sure:)

I have 4 boys and have been having the same issue. However, what I realized with my boys for them to actually like reading is they need to be good at reading phonics. My son who’s in 2nd grade right now we had to stop our reading curriculum and slow down and just read words, phrases, and did 1st grade work. I wouldn’t rush too quickly into chapter books if he isn’t interested in reading. Take some picture books as you mentioned Step 1-2 books are great. I just got myself the Hooked on Phonics Learning to Read Set and went through it with him. I started him at the beginning of 1st grade and went through 2nd grade. If he got the phonics rules we moved on faster if there was something that he missed while we were learning phonics we stopped and worked on it a little longer. It helped a lot, right now we are ending his 2nd grade school year and he’s reading in 2nd grade level actually loving to read. So much less frustrations when I child loves to read. Hope this helps a little.

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@Oksanka not only did your response help me, but it also encouraged me!! When I took our son out of public school we decided to have him repeat 1st grade in our homeschool. We didn’t feel he was academically ready for 2nd grade. He has gone through AAR level 1 twice. The first time I rushed through it, didn’t really follow how the program was made to use:( I thought, he can read and that he didn’t need to really take him time! Boy was I WRONG. I restarted level 1, went
s-l-o-w, and brought in more reading books for extra practice. We just started level 2 last week. He’s doing GREAT! I know he is still a bit “behind”, but that’s ok:) I feel though that I don’t move on when maybe I shoule. Example: I find I have him read simple cvc books, sometimes at a kinder level, because he’s sucessful at those. I’m trying to be conscience of pushing him a tad, NOT a lot:) I know he can read level 1 great! So I need to start introducing books a tad more appropriate. Problem is is he still wants to sound.every.single.word.out…even though if I isolate the word he would just say it! We are working on his self esteem, he really considers himself a poor reader:( in school they segregated kids by reading ability, and that was something the other kiss knew too. So it was apparent who was in a lower reading group:( I just realized I’m rambling…lol…I look forward to your response:)

@Luvmyboys I’m so glad you’ve gotten so many great suggestions! I am gleaning a lot of these too for my soon-to-be 6 year old son who will also be in 1st grade next year. He is reading really well but like you said, it is hard to find age-appropriate books that are enticing to boys. As far as easy reader books, he has liked the Dragon books (A Friend for Dragon, Dragon Goes Ice Skating, Dragon’s Halloween, etc.–you can search for “Dragon” by Dav Pilkey and most will come up, although the Ice Skating one was written by another author). My son also loves reading comic style books which can be hard to find in age-appropriate categories for his age (most are violent I feel for his age), but Veggie Tales just put out two new ones (long ones!) that look fantastic if your son likes those. My son also likes the Fly Guy books by Tedd Arnold (there are numerous ones out). If I think of others I will pass them along :slight_smile:

Try the magic tree house series. Each book has a new subject and ties into the book before. They’ve kept my daughter excited to get to the next book. My 1 st grade daughter reads them and loves them.

I also bought the a to z mysteries. I bought them, but haven’t gotten to them yet. They look to be the same reading level as the magic tree house. Good luck.

@bttrflynthesky A to Z Mysteries, I saw one of them a few weeks ago and wondered about it. There’s another book series along the lines of those books, but the name escapes me!! I was browsing Barnes and Noble and saw it…have you seen the Jigsaw Jones books?

I haven’t heard of the house Jones book before. I’m going to check them out. I’m always looking for great books to keep my daughter enjoying reading.

My son loves the A to Z mysteries and the Magic Tree House books, he’s in second grade, and he gobbles them up as we read them together. My son’s a bit of a perfectionist and wouldn’t take risks when reading. Even though he was demonstrating to me that he could read, he’d say that he couldn’t read pretty much because he couldn’t read every word he came across. I use the hooked on phonics books, I also used some of the superhero leveled collections books through scholastic during first grade - they’d have a few sentences on each page and were less daunting for him to face. The early reader sets have friendly superhero versions of Batman and the like, and the criminals are comical and not frightening. But I make sure we read more involved chapter books together where we look at the pages together, and we can work on more involved reading skills in discussion, while removing his need to decode all the words. His younger sister has been claiming him to read Mo Willems’ books to her. The success of reading the simple text helps with his self esteem. I also have several non-fiction books around with loads of pictures and challenging text that are of specific interest to him, such as Lego Star Wars Minifigure encyclopedias or animal guides. When he first got them he’d look at the pictures, or ask me to read them. Now, he asks to read the pages to me, and does a great job! And I love that he’s willing to try those challenging words whether he gets them or not. The great thing about homeschooling is that I can change our program as he needs it to change and not have to push ahead as I would in a traditional public school setting. I watch for signs of when we’re ready to move to the next step for something. As long as he’s showing progress I need to remember we’re doing okay. That in ensuring he really gets these very important basic skills, he’ll be able to readily use them and apply them as he grows.

My son didn’t love reading at all until we were finished with AAR 2 or 3. He discovered Geronimo Stilton books at that time and now reads them in a day or 2. He reads other things too but those are his first and greatest love. He is one who needs to know he can do something really well before he enjoys it at all so at AAR 1 he could read but not with the confidence as when he made it through the next two levels.

I have to go with A Beka readers for first and second grades. They are very good stories, captivating to the young mind. These stories give the child such good imagination, the kind that encourages the child to look at the world the simple, true and old way. We have been blessed by these and wouldn’t change them for many others out there. In addition to that, there are sections of New Words, or Words to Remember, which will help you and your child be ready to read the story if he’s having issues reading. At the end of each story there are Do you Remember questions. It’s great for those grades.