The Page Turner

September 2003
The Stages of Reading Development


Emergent Readers

Early Readers

Transitional Readers

Independent Readers

Fiction for Every Level

    Compiled by Lori Z. Ragsdale and Pamela Little

School has begun, so it's time to encourage children to read. This bibliography lists fiction books that have shown continuing appeal for recreational reading. The bibliography is arranged by reading stage, that is, the developmental reading level of the child. Remember that children are often interested in—and can therefore learn from—books that are beyond their grade level and age.

Emergent Readers

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Archambault and Bill Martin
In this lively, rhythmic story, the alphabet letters get together to "climb to the top of the coconut tree." Chicka Chicka Boom BOOM! See what happens!

The Napping House by Audrey and Dan Wood
This humorous rhyme tells the story of a sleepy family piling up together for a long night's sleep—until something happens. . . .

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin
Continuing along the lines of the classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, this book features the sounds made by zoo animals.

Early Readers

Junie B., First Grader: Cheater (Junie B. Jones Series) by Barbara Park
The Junie B. Jones series is popular for its humor and for the free spirit of its heroine. In this 2003 title, Junie B. faces the temptations and consequences of cheating at school.

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Five stories of these two friends are told with simple vocabulary and short chapters just right for beginning readers.

Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox
Repetitious dialogue makes this amusing story come alive as Hattie the Hen tries to warn her friends of danger.

Transitional Readers

Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping by Peggy Parish
Amelia Bedelia is a maid who takes everything literally. On her first camping trip, she does exactly as she's told, whether it's to "hit the road" or "go jump in a lake."

How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay by Julia Alvarez
Ten-year-old Miguel is embarrassed by his colorful aunt, Tia Lola, when she comes from the Dominican Republic to stay with him and his mother and sister, but he learns to love her—and learns some important lessons about himself as well.

Taking Care of Trouble by Bonnie Graves
When Joel's best friend's pretty older sister begs him to help her by taking care of a toddler named Tucker (aka Trouble), he can't say no. And, boy, is he sorry!

The Real Thief by Williams Steig
When Gawain the goose is deserted by his friends after being unjustly convicted of stealing from his beloved king, the real thief is tortured by his conscience.

Independent Readers

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
Accused of a crime he did not commit, the nameless boy may be killed on sight, by anyone. If he wishes to remain alive, he must flee his tiny village. All he takes with him is a newly revealed name—Crispin—and his mother's cross of lead.

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
Thirteen-year-old Mia sees each letter and number in a special color and sees images for sounds. Her cat is named Mango because his meow is mango-colored. She keeps her unique perspective to herself until she starts having trouble with school and then has to deal with an important loss.

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Farmer's tale is a wild, futuristic coming-of-age story with a science-fiction twist: How do you find out who you are when what you are is a clone?


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