Recommended Emergent Reader (Easy Readers) Books for 5 – and 6- Year Olds

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Want to help your emergent readers keep practicing their reading skills? Here are the best, most recommended easy reader books(also called early reader books) for your 5- and 6- year old children in kindergarten or first grade.

Some of these easy readers are decodable and phonics-based while others are leveled by the publisher (levels 1 and 2,), and some are general easy reader books without levels but ALL of the books on this list are kid-approved and engaging. Decodable texts are books with text that can be “decoded” by using reading skills to sound out and then blend together the sounds into words.

I’m convinced that we need to start teaching kids reading by teaching them phonics and letting them practice in decodable books. Then, you can always incorporate some predictable books into the mix when a child can decode. Use these to practice prediction (what word comes next) and enjoy word play.

Remember that each publisher levels books with different criteria so the level numbers are a generality, not hard and fast rules.

For harder books see: The BEST Easy Chapter Books for growing readers ages 6 and 7.

Recommended Emergent Reader (Easy Readers) Books for 5 – and 6- Year Olds

Phonics, Decodable, and Pre-Level 1 Readers

Laugh-a-Lot Phonics
Scholastic mostly offers leveled books, but this is their decodable phonics series with simple short vowel words. Decodable books are important for teaching kids phonemic rules and sounds.

Recommended Emergent Reader (Easy Readers) Books for 5 - and 6- Year Olds
Kindergarten and first-grade emergent readers need to practice phonics reading skills in decodable books!
I really like the short Bob Books made reading accessible for my daughter. The last pages of each book tell you what the book introduced. The illustrations are line drawings with only a few splashes of one color per picture. Not only did my daughter like them, she LOVED them on the iPad.
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)


Recommended Emergent Reader (Easy Readers) Books for 5 - and 6- Year OldsPug by Ethan Long (Easiest Easy Reader)
Simple text deftly narrates an enjoyable story about a pug who desperately wants to go for a walk. But is that all he wants? You’ll love this hilarious story!

Recommended Emergent Reader (Easy Readers) Books for 5 - and 6- Year OldsSee Pip Point by David Milgrim
Pip points at Otto’s balloon. But what happens when Otto shares the balloon? Pip floats away so Otto must help. Easy to read and funny. (See more in the series here.)
Let’s Say Hi to Friends Who Fly by Mo Willems
We LOVE this series with simple text because my five-year-old can read it and it’s funny!

Flubby Is Not a Good Pet
 by J.E. Morris
This VERY easy reader is about a cat named Flubby who, like most cats, does no tricks or other fun pet things. But in the end, he and his owner, Kami, comfort each other in a loud thunderstorm. Darling!
Best Easy Reader Books for 5- and 6-Year-OldsIn, Over and On the Farm by Ethan Long
Basic text and fun lift-the-flaps teach kids prepositions using the silly antics of farm animals.

Big Cat Good Books for 5 - 6 Year Old Beginning Readers Easy Readers / Phonics Books / Level 1 ReadersBig Cat by Ethan Long
Adorable illustrations pair with simple, repetitive text such as, “Big Cat can hide.” This is a great book for the earliest of readers with only one sentence per page.

Fox on a Box by Phil Roxbee Cox
This is a great beginning reader phonics story to read again and again. We love these Usborne phonics readers for Kinder and 1st grade reading practice.
Recommended Emergent Reader (Easy Readers) Books for 5 - and 6- Year OldsLazy 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.

Frog Meets Dog
 by Janee Trasler
While this is not a phonics book but possibly controlled text, it’s simple and cute. You’ll find it reminiscent of Dick and Jane with very short word sentences like, “Frogs jump. Can dog jump too?

Level 1 Readers

Fish and Sun by Sergio Ruzzier
I Can Read Comics 1
Fish and Sun are two good friends who play all day together but the first day they meet, Fish is worried that Sun will never come back to play. But, the next day Sun returns! Adorable characters and a sweet friendship make this easy reader comic a great choice for beginning readers.

Friends Do Not Eat Friends (Thunder and Cluck)
 by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Miles Thompson
Ready to Read Graphics 1
100% hilarious fun! When a grumpy and ferocious dinosaur, Thunder, meets a positive, unafraid bird named Cluck, Thunder can NOT believe that Cluck believes they should be friends. But Cluck is determined to help Thunder believe — and before he knows it, the two of them are friends!

Recommended Emergent Reader (Easy Readers) Books for 5 - and 6- Year OldsLEGO 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 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.
The farm animals are quite annoyed to find the pest (a gopher) eating all their vegetables. What will they do? This is a cute story with cartoon-like illustrations paired with simple text, perfect for very beginning readers.

good books for 5 and 6 year old beginning readersThe Good for Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper
Buttons that press down (not for your clothes) are just so tempting. Even if the button does nothing. Or maybe it does something? It makes one bird sad, the other mad, and the other happy. The birds bicker if the button can make them feel because that is something. Very funny and also a helpful way introduction readers to emotions.

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.
Recommended Emergent Reader (Easy Readers) Books for 5 - and 6- Year OldsI Really Like Slop by Mo Willems
Elephant and Peggie books are amazing and always kid favorites. This is one of the most recent books in the series with Piggie making her favorite food, slop. She’s so exuberant about her slop, too. And when Elephant finally gets to try it, we learn just how it tastes . . . Funny and heart-warming. (See more Elephant and Piggie books here.)

Big Dog and LIttle Dog Wearing Sweaters Easy Readers / Phonics Books / Level 1 ReadersBig Dog and Little Dog Wearing Sweaters by Dav Pilkey
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.

Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
When Penny takes her little sister for a walk, she sees a shiny blue marble on her neighbor’s lawn and puts it in her pocket. But Penny feels bad that she keeps it because it isn’t hers. Penny must make a decision about what to do — keep it or give the marble back.


Early Reader Books for 5 and 6 year old kids
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.

Friday the Scaredy Cat by Kara McManon (Level 1 Reader)
It thrills me to no end to find engaging, funny early readers like this one. Friday is a cat that is scared, but not of chickens or bikes, just chickens riding bikes. Very silly!

I Want to Be a Doctor
 by Laura Driscoll, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri
A story filled with helpful information about doctors, this little boy and his family go to the hospital because his brother Jack hurt his foot. They’ll learn about different doctors who can help fix Jack’s foot.

Steve & Wessley Ice Cream Shop
Steve & Wessley in The Ice Cream Shop by J.E. Morris
Scholastic Level 1 Reader
Steve cannot get into that Ice Cream Shop. He pushes and pushes the door but it doesn’t work. You’ll laugh when you realize Steve’s mistake. These simple stories are funny and perfect for beginning readers.

The Great Bunk Bed Battle
 (An Acorn Book) by Tina Kugler
When fox siblings Fritz and Franny go to bed, they don’t actually go to sleep. They compare which bunk bed is best and imagine adventures through a forest with a castle, a moat and a boat, a submarine, and a volcano on their beds. Simple text in speech bubbles and a relatable topic makes this a sure-fire hit with new readers.

star wars early reader
At-At Attack!
Luke Skywalker does some fast flying as he protects Hoth’s rebel base from the Empire. Perfect for beginning readers.

Recommended Emergent Reader (Easy Readers) Books for 5 - and 6- Year OldsThe Big Green Book of Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss
(Easy Reader)
Kids love to have heft books to read — because they get bragging rights to reading big books. This volume includes 
Great Day for Up!I Am Not Going to Get Up Today!I Wish That I Had Duck Feet, Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet!, Wacky Wednesday, and Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog?

Best Books for 5 and 6 Year Olds Easy Readers / Phonics Books / Level 1 ReadersJungle 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!

More Easy Readers for 5 – and 6- Year Olds (Kindergarten & 1st Grade)

Level 2 Readers

Good Easy Readers for 5- and 6- year oldsEd 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!

This Is My Fort (A Monkey & Cake Book) by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Cake makes a fort but won’t let Monkey play in it. Monkey really loves forts so he turns the tables with a clever twist. I love the lesson of being inclusive and also the dialogue bubbles in different colors showing which character is speaking.

The Lost Kitten (Katie Fry, Private Eye)
 by Katherine Cox, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
It’s a good thing that Katie Fry solves mysteries because she needs to use her detective skills to help a lost kitty (whom she names Sherlock) find his home. A darling, entertaining, and diverse book series for early read.

Pass the Ball, Mo!
 by David A. Adler, illustrated by Sam Ricks
In a favorite early reader series about a boy who likes to try new sports, in this story, Mo is obsessed with basketball. Unfortunately, everyone on his team is taller and he’s having trouble passing the ball high enough. His dad helps him practice passing higher and higher. Their practice pays off during the next basketball game.


Hi, Jack! (A Jack Book) by Mac Barnett & Greg Pizzoli
Mischievous Jack lives with Lady. Jack gets into trouble over and over again and it’s hilarious.

Reina Ramos Works it Out
 by Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Andres Landazabal
Reina can’t wait to be Frida Kahlo for her school’s wax museum, but her friend Nora picks Frida first. Reina feels upset but works things out with Nora and chooses to be Celia Cruz instead. A story of kindness and Latinx heroes.


Guinness World Records Daring Dogs by Cari Meister
I Can Read 2
Impressive dogs and their feats will grab animal lovers’ attention and keep them reading in this engaging early reader book.

Kit and Kaboodle Take the Train
by Michelle Portice, illustrated by Mitch Mortimer
Highlights Puzzle Readers Level 2 Let’s Read
Kids will love this interactive reading experience. Perfect for beginning readers, read the story of two good friends taking a very fun train ride to Sillyville. As you read the story, look for the hidden pictures on many of the two-page spreads.

Ride, Fly Guy, Ride!
 by Tedd Arnold
Is there a bad Tedd Arnold book? I think not. This is another super Fly Guy story that engages early readers. We love these books!

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.

Best Books for 5- and 6-Year-Olds
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 cartoons with photographs!

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog
 by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Kids who like silly stories will want to read this story again and again! The repetition of words and similar short text structure makes this an excellent choice for growing readers.

Peach and Plum Here We Come!
 by Tim McCanna (graphic novel)
Excellent. I like how the rhyming supports the decoding of the text. In this book, two good fruit friends experience tasty adventures such as riding bikes and going to the beach.

Frank and Bean
 by Jamie Michalak, illustrated by Bob Kokar
What a weird and funny yet relatable book of stories! Solitary Frank can’t help but be friends with Bean even though he doesn’t want to at first. Bean is just such a lovable, loud, and exuberant character, Frank can’t help but be friends with him.

A Backyard Pet
 by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
Sugar wants to play with her siblings, but each sibling is busy playing with their pets. Poppy’s playing with her pet flowers. Dirt is playing with worms. And Sweetie is playing with a butterfly. Sweetie lies down on the ground and looks up at the clouds…her own special pets.

Kendall’s Snow Fort
 by Meredith Rusu
The WellieWishers are worried about the animals getting cold in the snow. They decide to make a fort out of snow. When they start, Kendall gets distracted by all the other fun snow activities. Friendship and teamwork help the friends get the job done.


Let's Go Fishing book review
Let’s Go Fishing!
 by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Jess Golden (Green Light Readers 2)
This is a fun story about a little girl who uses her big imagination to go fishing in her room with paper fish, a fishing pole, and a blue carpet. Soon her entire family joins her. I really like that the main character is a girl who likes fishing.

easy reader for ages 5 and 6
Henry and Mudge
 by Cynthia Rylant, illustrations by Sucie Stevenson
Henry is lonely so his parents allow him to get a dog. He picks a puppy named Mudge who becomes his best friend. Kids love reading the short, heartwarming mini-stories in each chapter that always have helpful picture clues.

Elephant Joe
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.

Unlimited Squirrels in I Lost My Tooth!
 by Mo Willems
Fans of Elephant and Piggie will recognize the familiar dialogue bubbles and quirky humor as well as the many hilarious double meanings in this new, longer book about Zip Squirrel who has lost his tooth. Luckily his squirrel friends are there to help. Misunderstandings make this dramatic toothy adventure totally hilarious.

Books for 5 and 6 year olds kindergarten and first grade
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.


Petal and Poppy
Petal and Poppy
by Lisa Clough and Ed Briant Green Light Readers Level 2
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. It all works out in the end with lots of hilarious hijinks and silliness to get there.

Never Kick a Ghost and Other Silly Chillers
 (I Can Read Book) by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Pascale Constantin
My daughter’s first grade class loved these not-too-scary, silly, spooky stories perfect for early readers.

highly recommended easy readers that kids LOVE to read

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