The 7 Best Books for First Graders of 2022

From classic sets to fun fictional characters, these books are engaging for kids

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After your child finishes kindergarten, consider giving them a reading list to keep their skills sharp. (Or, add relevant books to your collection so they are available for your child to choose from.) There are a number of excellent books for students entering first grade. These books will help rising first graders practice literacy skills and can be a great way to help alleviate for any fears they may have as they move on to a new grade level.

Reviewed & Approved

The "Henry and Mudge The Complete Collection" will amuse your child and allow them to learn small life lessons right alongside the giant dog and his boy. For a non-set option, we recommend "First Grade, Here I Come!"

Take note of your child's hobbies, interests, and favorite book genres when picking out new books. Also, consider their age and reading level as you want to challenge, but not overwhelm them. We carefully considered any age recommendations, reading level, relatable topics, and design when reviewing products.

Here are the best books for first graders.

In This Article

Henry and Mudge The Complete Collection

Henry and Mudge The Complete Collection

Amazon

The Henry and Mudge The Complete Collection ranks high on our list because this collection allows them to learn small life lessons right alongside the giant dog and his boy. Henry is a boy and Mudge is a dog with a love of crackers and tremendous loyalty to his fun-loving owner. Each book typically contains three chapters which, much like the "Frog and Toad" books, are standalone stories. The books (all 28 of them!) are best suited to kids ages 5 to 7.

Scholastic Hello Reader Series, Levels 0, 1 and 2

Scholastic Hello Reader Series, Levels 0, 1 and 2

Amazon

Scholastic has done a wonderful job of putting together an inexpensive series of reads for a number of different reading levels. Children entering first grade will usually do best with levels zero through three.

These work their way up from one word per page to short sentences, using a number of familiar-looking words. The books vary in topic, from non-fiction to silly stories and rhymes to basic stories about animals and children.

First Grade, Here I Come!

First Grade, Here I Come!

Amazon

Henry the mouse is uncertain about first grade. However, as he tells his mother about his first day, he realizes that for every bad thing that happened, there was something good as well.

With easy-to-read print and text full of common sight words best for kids 3 to 5, this book should ease your child's mind about what awaits them in first grade. It can also give them the opportunity to show off their reading skills.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Amazon

Chrysanthemum loves her name, but the other children make fun of her. The dilemma this book poses is one all first-graders need to figure out: How can you be yourself when the kids around you don't always appreciate it?

If your child likes this book, it's time to move on to other Kevin Henkes books. You will find "Owen," "Wemberly Worried," and the series of stories about Lilly (and her purple plastic purse) to be just as fun. The books are best suited for kids ages 4 to 8 years old.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Amazon

This beautifully illustrated, predictable story is just the first in a whole series of "If you..." books that are best for children 4 to 8 years old. Other titles include "If You Give a Moose a Muffin," "If You Take a Mouse to School," and "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake."

Each book explores a circular theme that keeps your child guessing. What happens if you give a mouse a cookie? What will he want next, and how will it lead back to him wanting another cookie? Your child will have a lot of fun trying to figure out how the animals in these books will work back to the original item they were given.

Frog and Toad Collection Box Set

Frog and Toad Collection Box Set

Barnes and Noble

The "Frog and Toad" books are classics that have appealed to children for generations. The books about this lovable and goofy pair are split into chapters, each one containing a complete story, making it easy for your child to read a little about their antics and put the book down for later. The books are best suited for kids 4 to 8 years old.

The Listening Walk

The Listening Walk

Amazon

This fiction book is perfect to accompany those summertime walks. In the book, a little girl and her father go for a walk together and discover the amazing sounds that the world around them makes. "We're going on a listening walk. Shhhhh. Do not talk. Do not hurry..." Perfect for children 4 to 8 who are in the process of discovering the multitude of sounds in their environment.

What to Look for in Books for First Graders

Reading Level

The books you choose should be full of familiar words and small, simple sentences to help kids build upon their beginning reading skills. Most children's books provide an age range or reading level that can help you determine whether the book will suit your little one.

Relatable Topics

Take note of your child's hobbies, interests, and favorite book genres when picking out new books. This can keep them engaged and excited about reading. Also, consider educational content. You want to find books that will help them learn and identify new things.

Design

Books for first graders should have large, easy-to-read text and illustrations that are easy to identify. If the print is too small, it may be hard for them to read. Simpler illustrations help spark conversation. Your child will point, touch, and discuss what they saw in their book if they see it in real life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of reading?

    Reading has social and emotional benefits for young children. It helps them understand the world around them through characters and scenarios that are relatable. It also introduces children to other cultures and types of people, which can help build empathy. It fosters creativity and imagination and can serve as a creative outlet or escape for a child. It can also help build communication skills, vocabulary skills, and phonetic skills in early readers.

  • How do you cultivate a love of reading in kids?

    While children will have to read for school, there are a few things you can do to help them feel like it’s not a chore. Letting your child pick books that interest them can help foster a love of reading, as can allowing your child unlimited time to read. If you force reading, your child might come to resent it. If you encourage reading, they will be more able to develop reading fluency, which can lead to a lifelong love of reading. You can also model good reading habits by letting your child see you read books, and reading books together.

  • How many minutes a day should a first grader read?

    Reading every day is important for a first-grader. Try for 15 to 20 minutes a day of reading with your child. It’s important not to force it, however, or they will perceive it as a chore. Try to make it fun, engaging, and a choice. You can do that through appropriate reading levels, interesting and engaging design, and relatable characters and situations.

2 Sources
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  1. National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning. Read it again!.

  2. U.S. Department of Education. Read where you are.