14 Fun Easy Readers to Try When Your Curriculum Readers Aren’t Working

By Anna Lowell

Aug 31

My son struggled with reading through kindergarten and first grade. He quickly grasped the concept of reading, but simply wasn’t interested in reading for himself. I tried everything to get him interested in the curriculum readers I was using, but he hated reading and refused. He frequently told me he “couldn’t” read. This summer, I stopped trying to get him to read the curriculum readers, and we went to the library in search of easy-reader books that he would actually enjoy reading.

Early Readers 1

The result? My son is now picking up books and reading them for himself, with no prompting from me! Here are some of the easy readers that my son and I have been enjoying together: (Note – I tried to put these books in order from easiest to hardest.)

1. Dr. Seuss’s ABC

This  is a great book to read to your pre-reader or early reader. Each letter gets its own silly rhyme and fun illustrations – For example, “Big B, little b, What begins with B? Barber baby bubbles and a bumblebee.”



2. Curious George Learns the Alphabet

This story is also a great book for a parent to read to a young reader. Not only are the letters each introduced, but basic reading concepts are also taught in this cute story with delightful illustrations.


3. Hop On Pop

Another great book by Dr. Seuss, this book starts out with rhymes so easy that the earliest reader can tackle them. The book quickly progresses to more difficult words, but each section is based on the mastery of one special sound, and the special sounds are listed on the front cover.

4. Usborne Phonics Readers

These readers focus on extremely simple words and sounds, but have fun colorful illustrations that make them enjoyable to read. They can be purchased as a set or individually.



 5. A Treasury of Dick and Jane and Friends

With lots and lots of repetition and extremely short sentences, this book is an excellent introduction to reading for the very earliest of readers. The illustrations are gorgeous, too! In my opinion, these books are more appealing to girls than boys.


6. Go, Dog, Go

This purely silly book by P.D.Eastman can be used with beginning readers by encouraging them to read the simple words (dog, red, in, up) throughout the story while an adult reads the harder words. It would be excellent for a first grader to read alone.

7. Ten Apples Up on Top!

This classic reader introduces young readers to number words. There are only a couple of sentences on each page and the story is engaging.


8. Green Eggs and Ham

This hilarious book is a great confidence builder! It introduces young readers to longer passages, but does so with lots of repetition. My son would look at all of the words on the page and say, “I can’t read that. It’s too long.” I would encourage him to just try it. Because of the repetition of the words, he would read through it fairly quickly and then look back and say, “Wow, I read all of that!”

9. The Cat in the Hat

This book is similar to Green Eggs and Ham in that the passages are longer, but still easy to read because of the repetition. This is a great book for a first or second grader. Don’t be afraid to read it with your very early reader as well, picking out simple words for her to read while you read the rest.

10. Biscuit Books

These simple stories about an adorable dog come in several different levels for early readers.


11. Little Bear Books

Little Bear books feature simple words, lovely illustrations, and comforting stories, broken up into short chapters perfect for early readers.


12. Elephant and Piggie Books

I do not believe these books are written to be early readers. However, each page has very few words on it and the stories are so funny that kids love them. My kids have enjoyed reading them together, with one of my daughters being “piggie” and my son reading the parts of “elephant”. These books have really opened my son’s eyes to how enjoyable reading can be.

13. Little Critter Books by Mercer Mayer

These delightful stories feature engaging stories and fun-to-look for hidden characters on each page. They are excellent for first and second graders to read on their own.


14. The Big Red Book of Beginner Books, The Big Green Book of Beginner Books

These books are an inexpensive way to add some great early reading material to your library. These stories are all fun classics that have stood the test of time and are sure to delight your children as much as they have delighted previous generations of readers. I personally own the Big Red Book and the Big Green Book, but there is also a Purple, Orange, and Blue book that all look equally good.

15. Froggy Stories

These books are also not necessarily written to be easy readers, but the stories are engaging and the sentences are simple, making them great books for first or second graders that have mastered basic reading concepts.


Now it’s your turn! What books have you enjoyed reading with your early readers? I would love to hear about them. Please scroll down to comment.

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