7 Super Series to Grow Budding Readers

Ballet Cat by Bob Shea © Disney Hyperion
Ballet Cat © Disney Hyperion

The early reader aisles in the library can be daunting—and not just for the budding reader. Inconsistent reading levels, a large number of titles, and stories with the difficult task of being both short and sweet fill the shelves, making it hard at times to find just the right book that won’t frustrate a new reader.

But don’t worry, here’s a cheat sheet just for you! Here are some fun early reader series for kindergarteners and first graders that are short but interesting, entertaining, and sure to inspire confidence in those cute budding readers.

New Early Reader Series

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea (Disney Hyperion)

If you’ve read any of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. books, you know what you can expect from Ballet Cat: bold art, characters bursting with personality, and humor that both kids and grownups will enjoy.

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret isn’t marked as an “early reader” or “ready to read” book, but the simple sentences and vocabulary make it perfect for kids getting the hang of reading. Combined with an adorable message about friendship and a story ideal for reading aloud, Ballet Cat will leap off the bookshelf time and time again.

Inch and Roly Make a Wish by Melissa Wiley and Ag Jatkowska (Simon Spotlight)

Inch and Roly and their friends are cute critters that star in their own series of Ready-to-Read books written by GeekMom contributor Melissa Wiley. The soft colors make every pretty page just right for bedtime reading, and the sweet story about wishes coming true is a great way to end a quiet day.

Katie Fry, Private Eye: The Lost Kitten by Katherine Cox and Vanessa Brantley Newton (Scholastic)

Katie Fry Private Eye © Scholastic
Katie Fry, Private Eye © Scholastic

If your budding reader is still too young for most mystery stories, Katie Fry is on the case. First and second graders will feel like they’re investigating alongside Katie thanks to simple clues and memorable characters.

Marvel World of Reading

Books that feature some of your kids’ favorite superheroes might just be the enticement they need to pick up a book on their own. Sophie Brown recommends the Marvel World of Reading Series, starring the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man.

Tried-and-True Early Reader Series

There are some early reader series that have been around for years, and have staying power thanks to their memorable characters and sweet stories. GeekMom writers also recommend:

GeekMom received a promotional copy of Ballet Cat for review purposes. Sophie Brown, Sarah Pinault, Kay Moore, and Lisa Tate also contributed to this list.

Kelly Knox is a freelance writer in Seattle, WA, where she contributes to local parenting magazines. She also writes for StarWars.com, Geek & Sundry, Forever Young Adult, and more. You can find crafts and art projects for geeky families at her blog The St{art} Button.