Mark Your Calendar: Books for New Readers is Coming

As I was cleaning out the reader and inbox yesterday, I came away with the idea that folks want to talk about the books they’ve been reading. There is renewed interest and energy for long-time MEMEs like the Saturday Review of Books, Poetry Friday, and Nonfiction Monday and there are some new ones, too. For example, Charlotte just started a weekly Roundup of Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy, in part, because it’s not always easy to isolate these books from the more general roundups.

So where is the MEME that shares ideas on easy readers and illustrated chapter books? Well, I’m glad you asked.  Announcing …

Monthly Review of Books

for New Readers

a monthly meme (like the alliteration?) to collate easy reader and illustrated chapter books to encourage kids working to become successful readers. In the middle of each month, we’ll collect reviews of easy readers and/or short chapter books. Didn’t read one last month? Not a problem, your review can be from the previous year. So in January 2010, feel free to pull a post going back to January 2009!

Here are the key characteristics of an easy reader.

  • In general, this is the school-aged audience in Kindergarten through second grade.
  • These are books with simple sentences and short sentences for children learning to read.  They are generally read aloud.
  • Many have a banner that proclaims it as an easy reader, with  some form of the word “read” on the cover.
  • The books are generally 6-inches by 9-inches, so that they fit comfortably in a child’s hand. They range from 8 t0 64 pages.
  • There is a lot of white space on the page, and the type is bigger.
  • The books are illustrated, usually in a way that helps the child “decode” the words in the story.
  • As the reader grows, the illustrations shift. First, they may move to one page while the text is on the other. Then there may be half-page illustrations on both pages and then smaller illustration on one page of a two-page spread.
  • Some picture books may not have the cover notation, but can be easy readers.
  • There are both fiction and nonfiction easy readers.

Here are the key characteristics of an short chapter book.

  • In general, these books are for the school-aged audience in second through fourth grade.
  • Some may continue to have a cover annotation with some form of “read” on it, but most do not.
  • The books are 6-inches to 9-inches, and have from 48 to 128 pages.
  • There is more text in the books, and the margins are closer to a “traditional” chapter book. These are books that are often read aloud, but they are also suitable for independent, silent reading.
  • These books are illustrated, but usually the interior images are black-and-white. These books may have an illustration on one page and a full page of text facing it; or a smaller image inserted every couple of pages.
  • There are both fiction and nonfiction short chapter books.

We’re going to start the Montly Review of Books for New Readers MEME in January 2010, after we’ve returned to our normal pace of life. Plus, it gives us time to come up with a graphic!

As I mentioned, any book that fit the criteria and reviewed within one year of the publication date is eligible to be included. Whether your review of a book is positive, negative, or “eh,” we’d love to know about it.  It can be a blog post, a video, or a podcast. We just need to be able to link to it.

Because we are a community of readers, we’d like to share the fun of hosting the review, so if you are interested, please leave your name (and preferred month)  in the comments below or email me: thereadingtub [at] gmail [dot] com. I’ll post a calendar when we get closer.

7 responses to “Mark Your Calendar: Books for New Readers is Coming

    1. Yay! I was so-o-o-o hoping you’d say that! You’re reviews of Easy Reader/Short Chapter Cybils nominees are just incredible! I need to raise my bar!

  1. Pingback: Terry Doherty
  2. What a fabulous idea! This is such an important area and it’s hard to get real reactions on these books. We need to get kids excited about reading at this early stage, and often they get so frustrated. Kids want exciting or funny books, but need to have them carefully crafted for early readers. I would love to host – any month is fine with me. Thanks, Terry!

    1. Hi Melissa,

      This one is more of a carnival. Everyone adds a post on a given topic to the host’s list and s/he collect them all as one post.

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