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MPMK’s “Learning to Love Reading” Book Lists: K – 1st Grade

We’re back today with our second installment of “MPMK’s Learning to Love Reading Book Lists” (note the name change – summer got away from us, as it often does, so the term “summer reading list” no longer seemed appropriate).  Before we dive in, here’s a little refresher on the woman behind the lists:

Lisa, who happens to be my cousin, is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Literature for Children and Young Adults at The Ohio State University. She reads everything from board books for babies to novels for young adults.  She also has two daughters, ages 14 and 16, both of whom are avid readers. 

Once again, take it away Lisa…

Level 1 Books: Kindergarten – 1st Grade
While leveling systems vary from publisher to publisher, Level 1 books generally offer readers an increasing amount of text and more complex sentences than Pre-Level 1 books. They usually cover reading levels from Kindergarten to first grade. 

If your child is looking for additional Pre-Level 1 books, check out the Green Light Readers, published by Harcourt. While these books are listed as Level 1, they read at a lower level than most Level 1 books. My favorites are David McPhail’s books, such as Big Brown Bear, Big Pig and Little Pig, Dot and Bob, Jack and Rick and Rick is Sick.

Elephant and Piggie series, written and illustrated by Mo Willems, Hyperion Books

Mo Willems has created 15 Elephant and Piggie books, two of which have won the Geisel Award: There is a Bird on Your Head in 2008 and Are You Ready to Play Outside? in 2009. Gerald and Piggie are best friends with unique personalities. Gerald is a quiet worrier and Piggie is spontaneous and daring. The illustrations focus on the two friends and their adventures together. These books are not just for beginning readers; my fourteen-year-old daughter and my college students love these books too. They’re especially wonderful for working on oral fluency because each character’s voice is so distinctive. The newest book in the series is Should I Share my Ice Cream? Check out Mo’s website for information on all the Elephant and Piggie books.

Max & Mo series, written by Patricia Lakin & illustrated by Brian Floca
Simon & Schuster, Ready-to-Read: Level 1, Starting to Read

Patricia Lakin has written four Max and Mo books. Max and Mo are pet hamsters who live in the art room at an elementary school. They are best friends that like to escape from their cage and go on adventures together. The first book in the series is: Max & Mo’s First Day at School. Check out the books at Patricia Lakin or Brian Floca.

Ready-to-Read Fairy Tale series, written by Betty Miles
Simon & Schuster, Ready-to-Read: Level 1, Starting to Read

For fans of fairy tales, Betty Miles offers young readers four traditional tales.

The Tortoise and the Hare: Illustrated by Paul Meisel
Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Illustrated by Bari Weissma
The Sky is Falling: Illustrated by Cynthia Fisher
The Three Little Pigs: Illustrated by Paul Meisel

Ready-to-Ready Nonfiction series, written by Marion Dane Bauer & illustrated by John Wallace
Simon & Schuster, Ready-to-Read: Level 1, Starting to Read

For fans of nonfiction, Marion Dane Bauer has written three different informational series. Her books end with a page of additional interesting facts. You can visit the website of this prolific author here.

Natural Disasters:


Wonders of America:


Sarah Weeks’ Early Readers
, written by Sarah Weeks & illustrated by Jane Manning
HarperCollins, I Can Read! Level 1, Beginning Reading

Sarah Weeks uses rhythm and rhyme to support young readers’ word decoding skills. Her stories are lively and engaging, and the illustrations are bright and colorful. Check out the author’s website here.

Drip, Drop
Pip Squeak is a busy mouse that works all night to try and catch the drips from his leaky roof. Just when he is ready to give up, the rain stops and his friends come by to jump in the puddles.

Pip Squeak
In this sequel to Drip, Drop, Pip Squeak works hard to clean his house in preparation for a visit from his friend, Max. Unfortunately, Max isn’t very careful; soon Pip Squeak’s house is a mess. Pip Squeak feels mad and sad, so Max helps to clean up the big mess.

Sam the Lamb has a bad cold and needs help from his barnyard friends to find his “sneeze.”

Mac and Cheese
Although these two street cats are wildly different from each other, they are the best of friends. When Macaroni loses a hat to a gust of wind, Cheese helps to get it back.

Splish, Splash! (Illustrated by Ashley Wolff)
Chub the Fish loves to take baths. A visit from his friends brings trouble as they all try to crowd into the bathtub.

Finally, a book that is not part of a series but is absolutely wonderful: Chicken Said, “Cluck!”
Written by Judyann Ackerman Grant & illustrated by Sue Truesdell
HarperCollins, I Can Read! My First Shared Reading

Chicken wants to help Earl and Pearl plant pumpkins, but Chicken just gets in the way. When the pumpkins are threatened by grasshoppers, Chicken saves the day. Although this 2009 Geisel Honor book is listed as a “My First” level, it reads more like a Level 1 book. Short sentences and repetition support young readers. The illustrations are just delightful.

Similar Stuff: All “Learning to Love Reading Book Lists”



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