Tuesday, January 31, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - our transitional chapter book stacks 1.31.17

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

This week on the #road2reading Challenge, Alyson Beecher of KidLitFrenzy and I are looking at our transitional chapter book stacks.  What are some of the books in our stacks that are jumping out at us?

First, what is a transitional chapter book?  They are those chapter books that are a stepping stone from picture books and early chapter books to middle grade novels.  Characteristics include:
  • chapters are usually shorter in length
  • larger font than middle grade
  • shorter length - usually between 100-150 pages
  • plots are fairly simple and often predictable
  • often has illustrations
Even within this category there are variations.  Some are written specifically for readers who are young but are ready for longer chapters.  Some are written for readers who are ready for more complex text, yet need some support along the way.  Because of this, topics, complexity and length will vary.

Here are some transitional chapter books that I've been reading

The Tales of Sasha #1: Big Secret
Tales of Sasha: The Big Secret
by Alexa Pearl
Published by little bee books

Sasha the horse loves running and running fast and finds it hard to sit still and concentrate.  She knows she is different from the other horses she lives with, but she soon finds out just how different she is!  Sasha has a big secret to hide!

Strengths:  horse books appeal to many readers and there is definitely a feel of anticipation as we wait to find out the big secret!  Short chapters, relatively easy print and a quick story line will keep readers wanting to get to the next chapter.  Will appeal to readers in kg-3rd grade.

Super Happy Party Bears: Gnawing Around
Super Happy Party Bears: Gnawing Around
by Marcie Colleen
Published by Imprint

Despite living in the Grumpy Woods, the Super Happy Party Bears make everything fun and can turn anything into a dance party!  With grouchy neighbors led by Mayor Quill, and un-neighborly beavers living downstream, will everyone be able to come together to solve their problems?

Strengths:  Filled with bright, colorful illustrations, it will appeal to a younger reader.  The Super Happy Party Bears are very positive, and can turn the sourest of lemons into something fun.  Large font, illustrations and the silly stories will find an audience with young readers (kg-2nd gr) who are strong, early readers who are looking for chapter books.

Weaknesses:  Lots of characters to remember, which can be difficult for young readers.  Also contains a lot of large, difficult to decode words,  I was surprised to see: residents, positivity, decree, extraordinaire, exasperatedly.  Difficult words to stretch out for young readers.  The part of the story I had the most trouble with was when they built a wall to keep their neighbors out...

Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel by Charise Mericle Harper
Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel
by Charise Mericle Harper
published by HMH
publishes Feb. 7th

When June has a new neighbor move in, June and her dog, Sammy, hope she'll have the three Fs - Fun!  Friendly! and Full of adventure!  But will June become friends with her new neighbor, Mae, before a not-so-friendly classmate steals her away?  Will Mae have all 3 Fs?  And even more importantly, is she worthy of the Wonder Wheel that just arrived from Grandma?

Strengths:  Quick to read, if was fun to read about the Wonder Wheel and see what June and company would be up to next.  Ashley Spires' illustrations are always fun and they help give some visualization ideas for young readers.  

The Jolly Regina (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters #1)
The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters:  The Jolly Regina
by Kara LaReau
published by Amulet Books

The Bland Sisters, Kale and Jaundice, are, well, you guessed it, bland.  They follow a daily routine, rarely leave the house, do the most mundane things, which includes reading the dictionary for fun, and when life gets too much for them, they fake sleep.  But then Pirate Deadeye Delilah kidnaps them and brings them to her ship, The Jolly Regina.  The Bland Sisters are about to go on an adventure they won't soon forget.

Strengths:  This book falls on the end of the transitional chapter book spectrum.  It's longer, more print on the page, and readers need to have a larger reading vocabulary for this book.  But, with its cast of characters, crazy adventures and silly escapades, it will capture readers' attention.  I enjoyed how a relatively unknown vocabulary word introduces each chapter and then is used in context somewhere in the chapter.  This book will reach students in 2nd-5th grade.

Weaknesses:  Because of the older vocabulary, this will be a stretch for some readers.  There is also multiple plot lines and numerous characters the reader has to keep track of.

Hope you found a new transitional chapter book or two to try out with your readers.  What transitional chapter books are in your stacks?

Don't forget to hop over to KidLitFrenzy to see what transitional chapter books Alyson has been reading!

Have a post or suggestion for us?  Link up with us below or leave a comment for us to check out!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for these great suggestions! I'm always looking for good titles/series to add for my K-2 students.