Early Chapter Books for Young Readers

Our favorite summer chapter books for young readers. mylearningtable.com

Summer Book Choices for Young Readers

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It isn’t easy to find really good chapter books for young readers. When a great book comes along, we tend to hold on to it and re-read it over and over again. Even though we continue to “do school” all year round, we take a more relaxed approach in the summer, so I encourage my boys to keep up with summer reading to keep their reading skills strong and to spend some time unplugged each day.

Some of our absolute favorite early chapter books are Cynthia Rylant’s The Lighthouse Family series of books. All three of my boys have enjoyed this series, and it’s island setting makes it an especially good series for summer reading. In fact, these books are wonderful to read aloud as well, and the stories are beautifully written.

Cynthia Rylant is a favorite author at our house (also the author of the wonderful Henry and Mudge books). Once we discovered the first Lighthouse Family book, we eagerly sought out others in the series.

Unlikely Friendships, Adoption, and Nature Study

These books explore unlikely friendships on an island with a lighthouse kept by Pandora the cat. She, along with Seabold the dog, are foster parents to three young mice. They all have encounters with different animal friends, including a whale, a cormorant, an eagle, and a turtle.

My favorite thing about these books is how Cynthia Rylant incorporates nature into the stories.  After reading about the different animals and ocean and forest wonders, we have pulled out our field guides and Handbook of Nature Study to explore them further.

On her website, Cynthia Rylant writes about how her books are influenced by her real life experiences:

I lived on an island for awhile. I saw eagles catch fish and I once saw a whale’s tail which sent me spinning with delight. The fog was very very thick some days. And there were rainbows nearly every day in springtime. And all these things made me feel like writing because it is really a beautiful world. It is a world worth writing about. We go through many changes in our lives, and some of them are hard. But the sky still has stars at night, the moon still shines. The world does not leave us empty-handed.

This is very evident in The Lighthouse Family books, and Ms. Rylant’s lyrical prose makes you feel like you are right there on the island with Pandora and Seabold and Lila and Whistler. My kids and I are completely enchanted with each new adventure.

If you have an emerging reader, check out these books for worthwhile summer reading:

Check out our Pinterest board for activities to do with The Lighthouse Family!

Follow Learning Table ‘s board The Lighthouse Family Activities on Pinterest.

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Comments (12)

  1. Nancy

    love these books…our daughter has read The Storm and I have a feeling the others will show up in her Easter basket 😉

  2. Karyn

    I am always looking for new books to read with my kids- thanks for the idea! I will definitely look into these.

  3. Jamie

    Looks like some great reading. My son would have loved these when he was a bit younger!

  4. ~ linda

    I am so glad you are my neighbor on “What to Read Wed.” as I tutor the primary-aged children and need chapter books for a few of my kids. This looks like a great series and am surprised I don’t know about it. Thanks so much.

    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Happy to have you join in, Linda!

  5. Tara

    Thanks for linking up with the What to Read Wednesday link-up last week. I am featuring your post this week.

    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks so much!

  6. Mary Hill

    Sounds like a great list of books. I love Cynthia Rylant’s books. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      Thanks, Mary. Cynthia Rylant is one of our favorite authors.

  7. Dominic Adams

    Great series! Another delightful book with beautiful lessons and illustrations by Cynthia Rylant is Thimbleberry Stories. Thanks!

  8. Linda S

    My kids love Cynthia Rylant books! thanks for the review and suggetions.

    1. Anne Campbell (Post author)

      She is one of our favorites! Thank you for reading, Linda!


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