Thursday, 18 June 2015

Books for Beginning Readers: Nature & Science

Finding an interesting selection of books to bridge the gap from when a child first begins to read until they are able to read with sufficient fluency can be difficult, especially if that time period is prolonged. I'll be posting books that worked well for us at this stage, dividing them into different categories.  Most of them work well for around the ages of 4 to 8 years. I read these aloud (many times over) to my non-readers but my children loved to read them on their own when they first started reading for themselves. The 'Science I CAN READ' books are well-illustrated and interesting, narrative non-fiction and there is a wide range available secondhand. These are some we used & liked:

Elephant Seal Island by Evelyn Shaw

A Nest of Wood Ducks by Evelyn Shaw

Red Tag Comes Back by Fred Phleger

Ants Are Fun by Mildred Myrick

Caterpillar Green by Marla Martin

This book is published by Rod & Staff Publishers and is unusual in that it is a chapter book of 139 pages of good sized print with words broken down into syllables. The story is about a classroom of children who follow the journey of a green caterpillar as it becomes a beautiful butterfly. The story is told in both prose and poetry and is helpful in developing reading fluency with words of multiple syllables in the context of an interesting aspect of the natural world.

The Microscope by Maxine Kumin 

An illustrated poem about the Dutch scientist, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, who was more interested in looking through his handmade microscopes than in keeping his shop. He saw things with the microscope that no one had ever seen before.

Germs Make Me Sick by Melvin Berger

'Germs all all around you, but they are too small for you to see. Many germs are harmless, but two kinds, viruses and bacteria, can make you sick. Read and find out about germs, how they make you sick, and how your body works to fight them off and keep you healthy.''


  1. I have read Germs Make Me sick many, many times. It always seems to be a favorite of my littles. I was pretty happy when two of mine could take over some of the rereadings. =)

    Our family has enjoyed the Millicent Selsam science I Can Read books, so I will have to check into some of the others you suggested.

    1. I only used Germs Make me Sick with my youngest but certainly got my money's worth by the amount of times I read it to her & then she read it herself later.

  2. Thanks for all the great suggestions, Carol! We have many of the older hardback I can read books but none of the Science I can reads. My twins are in this stage as we speak!

    1. You're welcome, Amanda. My littles also loved 'Little Chick' which wasn't an actual Science read but close enough to it. I haven't come across one I haven't liked yet.

    2. Well, never one to do things halfway, I went to ebay yesterday after reading your post and bought a 29 book lot of the I can read books. It was a good price for that many, and I'm looking forward to reading them with my kiddos.

    3. Ah, and the books are...

      Benny's Animals and How He Put Them in Order
      Albert the Albatross
      Plenty of Fish - heavy edge wear
      More Potatoes!
      Baltimore Orioles
      When an Animal Grows
      Seeds and More Seeds
      The Strange Disappearance of Arthur Cluck
      The Several Tricks of Edgar Dolphin
      Emmett's Pig
      Fish Out of School - heavy edge wear
      Egg to Chick
      The Toad Hunt
      Prove It!
      A Nest of Wood Ducks
      Terry and the Caterpillars
      Red Tag Comes Back
      Ants Are Fun
      Tony's Birds
      The Bug That Laid the Golden Eggs
      Let's Get Turtles
      Elephant Seal Island
      Catch a Whale by the Tail
      Hidden Animals

    4. (in case anyone is looking for more of them than the ones you posted)

    5. Ah, a woman after my own heart! I never do things by halves either! Thanks for sharing your stash.

    6. Thank you for the listing!

  3. Carol, this is fantastic! I was just in a used book store the other day looking at the "early" readers and was discouraged about which/what to get and how to find a non-twaddlish one. THANK YOU! :D

    1. So pleased it's helpful to you, Amy. I'll be posting some good little titles on history also when I get some time to go through our pile.

  4. Carol you have the gift for finding lovely books.
    I have to restrain myself now my children are older those books look so very tempting!
    Arnold Lobel is always a great illustrator his name on the cover caught my eye.


  5. I LOVE these types of books - I have the Ants, Woodchuck, Plenty of Fish etc.. but now I will keep an eye out for some of those other lovely titles. :o)

    1. I forgot to mention that I read Woodchuck every February when I want to do Groundhog day. ha ha ha :o) That's my go to book for that holiday.

  6. I love this list of books! Finding interesting science books for young readers can be difficult. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  7. Thanks for the recommendations! This is exactly the level my daughter is at right now.

  8. Love the I Can Read Science series, don;t have many but always searching.