Classical Childrens Books

First Chapter Books

First Chapter Books

Easy Chapter Books for Growing Readers

Turn your young readers into enthusiastic readers! Classical Childrens Books presents a list of timeless first chapter books that will keep them turning the pages with stories that have kept kids coming back for more.

These first chapter books are great for average 3rd and 4th grade readers.

The stories in this list are also appropriate for younger children who are strong readers or older kids who still need or want the easy chapter books.

The Blind Colt

Glen Rounds

This is a true story from the Western frontier. A colt is born blind and needs to survive in the wild frontier by developing his other senses. A ten year old boy falls in love with the colt and wants to tame it. Very moving and beautiful story.

Nate the Great

By Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Early readers can enjoy the detective hunts of Nate the Great, the neighborhood sleuth. Easy words, friendly pictures, and an adventure solving a trivial case comprise the story. A series of over 25 easy reader books that may particularly appeal to boys.


Betsy Byar

This first chapter book is by an award-winning author best known for literature for 4th - 6th graders. While waiting out a tornado in Grandma's cellar, three children listen to their Uncle Pete retell favorite stories of his dog, Tornado Tornado was literally blown into Pete's life after a cyclone hit their family farm.

Henry and Mudge

By Cynthia Rylant

This 25 year old series of easy readers presents 25 books about the boy Henry and his 180 pound dog. Stories will be enjoyed by young dog lovers in the early stages of reading. Just right for the very first chapter books a child reads.

Stone Fox

By John Reynolds Gardiner
Ten year old Willy and his dog Searchlight loved to race their sled on the snow. If they win this year's sled race they may be able to save Grandfather's farm; but Willy may have to use all of his college savings to enter. And there is a rumor that the famous Stone Fox will be racing. Story is based on a local Wyoming legend.

Rabbit Hill

By Robert Lawson
Some folks are moving into the Big House and all the small animals are excited. Will they be good folks? Will they plant a garden? The new residents have a surprise for their small neighbors. A delightful book for young readers.

My Father's Dragon

By Ruth Gannett

Talking Animals - Humor
Reading Level: 3-4th grade (Great read out loud book to children as young as four years.)
A silly story about a boy who goes to an island to rescue a baby dragon, and tricks the fiercest of wildest animals with mundane objects in his back pack. This unusual story provides a unique opportunity for teaching children first and third person narratives and point of view. It is narrated by an unidentified child (first person), but the main character is the narrator's father when he was a boy (point of view). Moreover, it is obviously fiction, but is written as if the author was writing a true biography.

The Seven Treasure Hunts

By Betsy Byars
Two pals like to make treasure hunts in the neighborhood for the other to follow. They just need to keep it away from their sister. Seven chapters and gentle humor.

Balto and the Great Race

By Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
This true story tells how teams of dogs raced against time and an approaching blizzard to save the children of an isolated town in Alaska from a diptheria epidemic. One dog, Balto, became a famous hero for his strength and courage. Twelve easy chapters with large print make this newer book (1999 publication) an excellent selection for kids readers in 3rd or 4th grade. However, some words such as diptheria, telegraph, and Siberia may make some of the paragraphs harder for less experienced readers who may benefit from the strategy of read and read back. This story is worth the extra effort.

Pippi Longstocking

By Astrid Lindgren

Pipi is the classic super-girl. She has poor manners, a big heart, constant adventures and unbelievable strength. Her neighbors are constantly amazed at her and her strange collection of animals.

Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin

By Robert Lawson

Ah, for those of you impressed with all the great inventions and ideas of the famous Mr. Franklin, you will welcome this historical account written by his pet mouse, who explains how Ben used his ideas for many of his inventions. A fairly easy chapter book, it is a good stepping stone for those students who have started reading longer books. The humor would be appreciated more by kids who actually have an idea of some of Ben's accomplishments.

Encyclopedia Brown

By Donald Sobol

Not a classic per se, but a series of stories 3rd and 4th graders enjoy. Encyclopedia is the only son of the chief of police of the town of Idaville. He not only can solve any crime anywhere, he takes his readers with him as they also get to answer questions and follow clues.

More detective stories for young and old.

Series of Easy Chapter Books

The Boxcar Children

By Gertrude Chandler

Four orphaned siblings are living in an abandoned train box car, fearful that their grandfather will find them and split them apart. A happy surprise awaits for them at the end of the first book, as well an entire series of adventures for the four children and their fans.

The Bobbsey Twins

By Laura Lee Hope

No list of easy chapter books would be complete without mentioning the Bobbsey Twins. The saga of these two sets of twins has continued for over a hundred years. The great-great-grandchildren of our young readers eagerly read these stories written just for them. As can be expected, differences exist between the original and more modern books in the series.

Cam Jansen

By David Adler

Cam Jansen and her buddy Eric begin their 30+ adventures with the Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds. Young readers will be thrilled with these early chapter books as they join their heroine in solving mysteries that stump the police.

Henry and Mudge

Cynthia Rylant

And boy named Henry and his 180 pound mastiff buddy enjoy multiple adventures together: enough to fill 29 easy chapter books. Great for your dog loving readers.

3rd Grade Classics

Check out the top ten recommended books for third grade readers. There is even a classic book club for kids who read seven of the ten books!

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