Summer is a fantastic time for your child to delve into the great wide world of fiction and chapter books. They’ll have more time to read (Less homework!) and can set a goal of finishing a book series over the summer! Here are some favorite picks for a variety of reading levels:
This series is perfect for first-time chapter book readers. The books share the story of rambunctious kindergartner Junie B. Jones and her adventures at school and home. The series eventually follows her into 1st grade where Junie faces a whole new set of life’s great and not-so-great moments. Though Junie ages, the series stays at a consistent reading level compared to other book series on our list.
AR Reading Level: 2.6 – 3.0
Magic Tree House
In these exciting, thematic books, siblings Jack and Annie find a magic treehouse whisking them away to different countries, historical moments, and sometimes fictional places. There are a whopping 55 books in the series, but each one is just as intriguing as the last. The historical themed books are particularly great, as kids not only improve their reading skills, but also learn about the past. Historical places Jack and Annie venture to include: the middle ages, Ancient Egypt, the Caribbean in the age of pirates, the Wild West, Pompeii, the deck of the Titanic, and more.
AR Reading Level: 2.6 – 4.1
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
If your child’s attention span errs on the side of short, this is the perfect series for them as the chapters each consist of mostly self-contained stories. This wacky series features all sorts of mischief and funny stories about elementary students and teachers at a very, very odd school.
AR Reading Level: 3.3 – 3.4
A delight for younger elementary students, Bunnicula tells the story of a family dog and cat whose home is intruded upon by a new pet rabbit. The cat is convinced the new addition to the family is a vampire due to the rabbit’s strange eating habits (sucking vegetables dry of juice). Hilarity ensues as the cat repeatedly fails to prove the rabbit, aptly named Bunnicula, is a vampire, and the family grows more and more frustrated with the cat’s seemingly disturbed antics.
AR Reading Level: 4.0 – 4.8
The Betsy-Tacy series is based on the real life of author Maud Hart Lovelace. The series begins in 1897 with a five-year-old Betsy and ends in 1917 in the series’ tenth and final book, Betsy’s Wedding. The series focuses on the childhood friendship between Betsy and Tacy and the troubles they get into in their neighborhood. As the girls grow up, the books do, too (as do many of the following series on this list), providing a more challenging read and touching on more young adult content as the series progresses.
AR Reading Level: 4.0 – 5.8
Little House on the Prairie
In the same vein as the Betsy-Tacy series, the Little House books are based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s real life growing up in the Midwest in the 1870s and 1880s. Follow Laura as she grows from a child in a Little House in the Big Woods to The First Four Years of her marriage to Almanzo Wilder, in this nine-part series following Laura’s childhood, teen years, and young adulthood.
After finishing the series, show your child some episodes of the 1970s television show, Little House on the Prairie. While the show doesn’t follow very closely to the books, the wholesome show is still an entertaining watch for the family and still manages to capture the spirit of the book series.
AR Reading Level: 4.6 – 5.8
An underappreciated gem of children’s book series, Artemis Fowl tells the story of a boy genius, his butler, and his mission to kidnap a leprechaun for gold – only it’s actually quite the misunderstanding. It turns out “leprechaun” is actually “LEP Recon” and the imaginary (or in this case, very real) kidnapped creature in question is actually part of an elf fairy police force. Shenanigans ensue, and the results prove to be humorous, entertaining, and truly heartfelt as the series continues.
AR Reading Level: 5.0 – 6.6
Chances are even if your child hasn’t read the books yet, they’ve probably seen the movies. They’ll enjoy immersing into a familiar world and discovering the many, many wondrous details left out of the movies. The movies, try as they might, just couldn’t stuff one book’s content into three hours successfully. It’ll be like getting hours and hours of deleted scenes!
With each Harry Potter book comes more pages and chapters, and another birthday for Harry. The books age as Harry does, presenting more teenage themes and darker tones as the series goes along. You’ll need to determine for your child if all of the books are age appropriate for them.
AR Reading Level: 6.0 – 7.2
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The cleverest series that ever was. Though, as the author, Lemony Snicket, would say, there are far more enjoyable and less miserable series on this list. The author’s wit and sarcasm shine throughout the series, making it truly unique amongst more overly joyful toned children’s books. The series does touch on more sensitive topics (the main characters are orphaned), but, in essence, are no different than Disney movies that do the same and other books on this list. The series also praises intelligence and problem solving, as the three main characters use their unique talents (inventing, reading, and biting) to get themselves out of “unfortunate” situations.
Netflix has recently released a television series based on the books. Each book (there’s a total of 13 – how unlucky) is split into two episodes with each season covering four books. Season two is currently filming. Watching two episodes after finishing each book would be a fun reward for your child if they tend to favor TV over reading.
AR Reading Level: 6.2 – 7.4
Once your kids are in the midst of these series, they’ll never want to put the book down! For more book series ideas take a look at this exhaustive list from Goodreads.com and, in the meantime, enjoy jumping into these wonderful worlds with your kids!