by Eliana H.
At least once a week, typically more often, I walk a library guest over to my favorite children’s collection: First Chapter Books. Since you’re not at the Elkridge Branch visiting me in person, welcome to my virtual tour of this great option for young readers.
A few things might lead us over to First Chapter Books. Maybe someone is asking about their second grader who has progressed past early readers but is still intimidated by the longer texts in Children’s Fiction. Perhaps a grown-up wants their child to read more than only graphic novels. Possibly a young reader is looking for some funny books, and they read quickly, so they want to know there are more book in the series waiting for them. Any of those requests are likely to prompt me to invite you to follow me as we head toward our First Chapter Book collection.
You may be asking, so what is a First Chapter Book? First Chapter Books are chapter books, as you might have guessed, but they still have illustrations. The collection has a range of levels, but they all contain a bit less dense text than Children’s Fiction, where the rest of our chapter books live. Some have pictures on every page and maybe only a few sentences per page, while others may have a few pages of text before another illustration appears. First Chapter Books are not for a specific age. I’ve suggested the collection for readers throughout elementary grades. While all the books fit within a certain range of reading levels, they are not arranged by difficulty. As with most of our other collections, titles are shelved alphabetically by author name. Most of our First Chapter Books are part of series, so enthusiastic readers can continue to follow the adventures of favorite characters. Many of the books engage your sense of humor, and fantasy and magic are common themes as well. Plenty of options are available for children who want to read stories about kids just like them.
So the next time you are looking for a fun book that won’t be too taxing for a fairly fluent reader, ask your friendly library staff member where you can find the First Chapter Book collection. If you have a reader between the ages of six and nine in your house who wants to talk about First Chapter Books with others, join me for Paragraph Pals, which meets monthly at the Elkridge Branch. You can register for our next meeting here starting March 2.
Eliana is a Children’s Research Specialist and Instructor at HCLS Elkridge Branch. She loves reading, even if she’s slow at it, and especially enjoys helping people find books that make them light up. She also loves being outside and spending time with friends and family (when it’s safe).