Here’s a huge list of the best books for 5- and 6-year-olds including phonics books and easy readers levels 1 and 2 for boys and girls in kindergarten and first grade.
If you’re looking for the best phonics books and easy readers for 5- year old and 6-year old boys and girls in kindergarten and first grade, this list will help.
Look for two sections below:
1) Easy Readers with Level 1 Readers
2) Easy Readers with Level 2 Readers
**Go HERE for easy beginning chapter books for 6- and 7-year old boys and girls.
Keep in mind that every publisher has a little different way to level their books so some may be more or less challenging when compared with a different publishing company.
1) Easy Readers / Phonics Books / Level 1 Readers
I am super picky about recommending easy readers and phonics books. Why? Because so many of them are really terrible. Like mind-numbing, don’t have a story, insult your child’s intelligence terrible. Just wait, you’ll get some of these sent home from school. You’ll see what I mean, if you don’t know already.
The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can practice phonics and learning new words without killing a child’s interest in reading. You can have quality easy readers. Here are my favorite choices:
Learn to Read with TUG THE PUP and Friends Box Set 1 Guided Reading Levels A – C
These aren’t your average dull as dirt easy readers. (Thank, God!) The little books will keep your child’s attention with interesting plots, lovable characters, and engaging illustrations. Each box set contains 11 stories, 1 parent guide, and stickers.
Learn to Read with TUG THE PUP and Friends Box Set 3 Guided Reading Levels E – G
Last in the phonics guided reading set… The credit for this new beginning reader series goes to the writer, Dr. Julie M. Wood, former director of the Jeanne Chall Reading Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She knows all about reading and what kids like. Each box set contains 11 stories, 1 parent guide, and stickers.
Set 1 – Beginning Readers (12 books)
Set 2 – Advancing Beginners (12 books)
Set 3 – Word Families (10 books)
Set 4 – Complex Words (8 books)
Set 5 – Long Vowels (8 books)
I really like the Bob Books and how they made reading accessible for my daughter. Plus, these easy reader books are short and sweet. I like that the last pages of each book tell you what the book introduced, for example in Cat and Mouse from Set 4, some of the new concepts listed are: “blends: sn – snap, th – that, st – stop, lp – help, ck – back.”
Have you seen Bob Books? Physically, they’re small. The illustrations are line drawings with only a few splashes of one color per picture. I wondered if the illustrations would be a turn-off for JJ but she liked them — and LOVED them on the iPad because reading the word correctly meant the pictures got colored in.
Let’s Say Hi to Friends Who Fly by Mo Willems
We LOVE this easy reader series because my five-year-old can read them! (And these books are not nonsense like many early readers.)
Big Cat by Ethan Long
I love Long’s adorable illustrations which he pairs with basic repetitive text such as, “Big Cat can hide.” This is a great book for the earliest of readers with one sentence per page.
LEGO City: All Aboard (Level 1 Reader) by Sonia Sander
These are a favorite for any LEGO enthusiast! This book about trains is just one in this recommended easy level 1 reader series.
We Are Growing by Laurie Keller
Gran on a Fan by Kevin Bolger, illustrated by Ben Hodson (silly short vowels)
What a fun easy reader book! Each page is like a cartoon with easy to read words and easy sentences using those words. Fantastic illustrations!
Lazy Bear, Crazy Bear by Kevin Bolger, illustrated by Ben Hodson (loony long vowels)
So many bears! Bear with plates. Bear on skates. And sheep. And mice. Well, you get the picture. For each long vowel sound, there’s another zany adventure with eye-catching cartoons.
What Is Chasing Duck? by Jan Thomas
Pug by Ethan Long (Easiest Easy Reader)
We Are in a Book
I love this Elephant and Piggie book — but they are all awesome. You’ll notice the first page starts with “thank you” which you’ll only understand after you read it. It is hilarious! These are the BEST beginning reader books because they’re not dumbed down, they’re hilarious, and they’re engaging.
There’s a Pest in the Garden! by Jan Thomas
LEGO Star Wars: A New Hope
The exciting story of the iconic Star Wars: Episode IV movie, retold for young readers with their favorite LEGO® Star Wars® mini-figures and sets. (These DK readers are a favorite at my school library!)
Steve & Wessley in The Ice Cream Shop by J.E. Morris Scholastic Level 1 Reader
Steve can not get into that Ice Cream Shop AT ALL. He pushes and pushes the door but it doesn’t work. You’ll laugh when you realize with Steve’s his mistake. These simple stories are funny and perfect for beginning readers.
In, Over and On the Farm by Ethan Long
Simple text and fun lift-the-flaps teach kids these prepositions using the silly antics of farm animals.
See Pip Point by David Milgrim (Pre Level 1 Reader)
Pip points at Otto’s balloon. But what happens when Otto shares? Ut-oh! Pip floats away! Otto must help. Easy to read and funny story both! (See more in the series here.)
What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig by Emma J. Virjan
Look at all the animals that join the pig in a wig on a boat! But it’s getting crowded. What will they do? I love both the story and illustrations in this first of a new easy reader series for silly readers.
FOX on a BOX
This is a great beginning reader phonics story to read again and again.
Sam Sheep Can’t Sleep
Another beginning reader book in the Usborne Phonics Readers that we really love.
Big Dog and Little Dog Wearing Sweaters by Dav Pilkey (Green Light Level 1 Readers)
Very simple text tell the story of Little Dog who helps big dog get his own sweater . . . vest. Parents, you’ll like that the last few pages have fun activities — a maze, word search, story sequencing, and sentence to picture matching.
Little Big Horse Where’s My Bike by Dave Horowitz Scholastic Level 1
Pablo takes Little Big Horse’s bike. And breaks it! But it’s only a flat tire and Little Big Horse knows what to do to fix it. Very simple text, great illustrations, and an engaging story make this a new early reader favorite.
Tiny Goes Back to School by Cari Meister, illustrated by Rich Daivs Penguin Level 1 Reader
This is a great beginning reader with only a few words per page. I really like the story about a dog who doesn’t know commands such as “sit” and has to go back to doggy school.
DK Level 1 Jungle Animals by Camilla Gersh
In a word, perfect. This little book packs a big punch with the perfect balance of colorful visuals (photographs) and leveled, informational text. Fantastic!
Ninja on the Farm (Moby Shinobi) by Luke Flowers Scholastic Level 1 Reader
Baseball Buzz (Sports Illustrated Kids Level 1 Readers) by CC Joven
2) Easy Readers/ Level 2 Readers
Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
Fly and the boy meet in this first book of a super hilarious series. Fly becomes the boy’s pet and friend. In this story, the boy enters his fly in an amazing pet contest, dazzling the judges, and winning the show. EXCELLENT!
Petal and Poppy by Lisa Clough and Ed Briant (series)
What a fun and funny early reader book written in comic book style! Petal and Poppy are best friends that live together in a lighthouse. When Poppy the elephant starts to practice her tuba, Petal, the rhino, hates it so much she decides to go scuba diving. Well, both friends go out on the boat, tuba and all, and worrywart Poppy can’t stop thinking something bad is happening to Petal. It all works out in the end with lots of hilarious hijinks and silliness to get there. You’ll love that there are more Petal and Poppy books: Petal and Poppy and the Spooky Halloween and Petal and Poppy and the Penguin.
We Dig Worms! by Kevin McCloskey
I love, love, love this early reader book! It’s a Toon Book Early Reader with eye-popping illustrations and one sentence of text per page that explain something about the worm — sometimes he has kids asking questions which the worm answers. McCloskey painted on recycled grocery bags which makes for a gorgeous, earthy feeling throughout. I just can’t say enough good things about this short little book! (This book is on my BEST CHILDREN’S NONFICTION BOOKS OF 2016 list.)
Monkey and Elephant Get Better by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Galia Bernstein
Hooray, another early reader that doesn’t stink! Clever adventures of friends, monkey and elephant, with bright, bold illustrations.
Guinness World Records Daring Dogs (Reading with Help 2) by Cari Meister
Impressive dogs and their feats will grab animal lovers attention and keep them reading in this engaging early reader book.
Slow, Slow Sloths by Bonnie Bader Level 2 Penguin Young Reader
I LOVE the photographs in this informational beginning reader. They make the nonfiction text pop so your child will learn while he or she is reading and viewing the photos. Even I learned a lot about sloths from this little book! Highly recommended.
Fly Guy Presents Sharks by Ted Arnold (series)
Visit the aquarium with Buzz and Fly Guy to learn about sharks in this terrific easy non-fiction reader. I LOVE how Arnold combines the cartoons with photographs!
Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson (series)
Henry and his big dog, Mudge, are the best of friends. And every story tells a relatable adventure any child can imagine. Better yet, the books are just perfect for 6 year old readers.
Ed and Ted and Ted’s Dog Fred by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton
(Easy Reader Level 2)
Kids will love this silly caper written in rhyme with simple words about Ed, Ted, a dog called Fred, and a whale named Ned — well done!
Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball by Cynthia Rylant and Arthur Howard (series)
Would your 1st grade kids enjoy this book? It always surprises me how much kids love these sweet stories about Mr. Putter and his “fine” cat named Tabby.
Scribbles and Ink Out of the Box by Ethan Long
I’m such a big Ethan Long fan — he must have some sort of mind meld with kids, his books are perfect for kids in kindergarten and first grade. In this easy-to-read (very easy first chapter book) adventure, Scribbles and Ink (a cat and mouse) find that a box is a really cool thing to play with — it can become so many things (a race car, a mask, overalls). Unfortunately, the duo begins arguing about who gets the box and the box rips in half. After working out their differences, they think of a boxtastic solution.
Aggie the Brave by Lori Ries, illustrated by Frank Dormer
Colorful illustrations match the basic sentences which tell the story of Aggie the dog who must go to the vet to get spayed, stay overnight and heal at home. The story teaches about the process at the vet as well as what to expect – like the stitches and cone she must wear post-surgery. I love the way the little boy owner imagines that Aggie is not a cone-head but a LION.
Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel (series)
Giggle and share in the daily life of two best but very different friends. Enchanting and a first grade favorite!
Elephant Joe, Brave Firefighter by David Wojtowycz (Step into Reading Comic Reader 2)
Dragon gets stuck in a tree but his friend, Elephant Joe saves him. This is a decent story with unique paper cutting and cartoon dialogue bubbles.
Lunch, or WHAT’S THAT? Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Kids will easily relate to this book about the curious (gross, terrifying) foods served in the school cafeteria. I’m impressed with this funny story.
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