I love picture books. Some of my favorite memories are of reading giant piles of picture books all afternoon. There is a lot to appreciate in picture books and they are very helpful in developing early literacy skills. While some may not understand this, as is demonstrated by this New York Times article from 2010, the outrage from the article was demonstrated in both the forums of my class on Blackboard and all over the internet, like in this blog post. Other have been touting the importance of picture books in blogs, developmental centers, and parenting websites.
Because of their role in developing literacy skills, picture books should be read, but eventually children will want to move into something a little meatier. This is where the easy reader and easy chapter books come in. Easy readers, as I mentioned in my post about Dr. Seuss, are instrumental in helping kids make that transition. These are often labeled in a library’s catalog to distinguish them from other easy books, which are usually picture books.
Something else to consider is the easy chapter book. Slightly longer than the easy reader, the vocabulary is not much more complex, and the structure is still based around short chapters. Illustrations are often included. The booklists in the kids section of the Multnomah County website are a great place to find some of these easy chapter books. It can be difficult to find them in the catalog on your own, unless you know what you are looking for. A librarian may be essential in your search. Newbery award winners and honor books are often easy chapter books, but it can vary. Check it out for yourself and get some help. These books can help children gain confidence in reading longer texts and provide feelings of accomplishment. They are well worth the effort to seek out.