Friday, March 20, 2015

Leveled Readers with Quality Content ~ Nonfiction and Historical Fiction [An Extensive List]

Leveled Readers with Quality Content (Nonfiction and Historical Fiction) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Has your child progressed past incremental phonics readers (such as my personal favorites by Nora Gaydos) but still needs controlled content to read aloud or independently?

I adore rich picture books or excellent chapter books, but sometimes (often, if it is quality literature) the vocabulary in those books can be complex and intimidating for budding readers.

This is where a need for leveled readers comes in to play. For some children, this is a very short stage before they take off with confidence and interest. For some children, this stage lasts quite some time.

I appreciate leveled readers for the independence and confidence they can provide my children.

They are wonderful for increasing speed and accuracy. I also appreciate that they are fairly inexpensive and fit neatly on a shelf together without taking up much space.

BUT, wading through all the insipid readers trying to find quality content can be a dreadful experience. I've spent years collecting the good stuff, and now I will try to save you from some of the wading I had to do. [grin]

I'm not saying all of these books are quality literature, and I wouldn't choose to read most of them aloud to my children (unless we're taking turns), just as I wouldn't read aloud Magic Tree House books. It's challenging to turn level 2 readers into quality literature (though Arnold Lobel is talented at it). But at least they introduce children to names, events, places, and ideas that may spark their interest. Or they may correspond with additional history studies.

I am working on a fiction list, but for now I'll share the nonfiction and historical fiction titles to get you started.

This is an extensive list, but it is not exhaustive.

Not all reader levels are made equal (the DK readers may be more challenging), and some books have been republished as different series (particularly the All Aboard Reading to the Penguin Young Readers series) and their levels changed, so it was hard to keep them straight!

My personal favorites on this list are the I Can Read Level 3 books.

I’ve grouped the history-related books very generally. I have historical fiction and myths labeled under the history period to which they are related. I have biographies generally grouped according to time period or country. I tried to group like items within each level, but they are not listed chronologically. There are obviously far more American history-related readers than any other subject.

[Ancients] Ancient Civilizations (Pre-historic, Egypt, Greece, Rome)

[Medieval] 400 AD–1400 AD

[Renaissance] 1400-1600s

[World] 1700-present (excluding American history)

[American] General American History


Level 1

[Science] Animals at Home (DK L1)

[Science] Tale of a Tadpole (DK L1) [And more in the series]

[Science] Snow (Ready-to-Reads) [Plus Wind, Rain, and Clouds in the same series]

[Science] Flood! (Natural Disasters) [Plus Volcano! and Earthquake!]

[World] Homes Around the World (DK L1)

[American/Science] Mister Bones: Dinosaur Hunter (Ready-to-Reads)

[American] Johnny Appleseed (AAR L1 or Penguin L3)

[American] The Grand Canyon (Wonders of America) [Plus others in the Wonders of America series: The Statue of Liberty, The Mighty Mississippi, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, The Rocky Mountains]


Level 2

[Science] Astronaut: Living in Space (DK Readers L2) 

[Science] The Secret Life of Trees (DK Level 2)

[Math] One Hundred Shoes: A Math Reader (Step-Into-Reading, Step 2)

[Math] A Dollar For Penny (Step-Into-Reading, Step 2)

[Ancients] Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (All Aboard Reading L2) [Penguin L4?]

[World/Architecture] Amazing Buildings (DK Readers, Level 2) 

[Renaissance/American] The Story of Christopher Columbus (DK Reader Level 2: Beginning to Read Alone)

[American] Sacagawea and the Bravest Deed 

[American] Little Runner of the Longhouse (I Can Read Book 2)

[American] Paul Revere and the Bell Ringers (Ready-to-read COFA) 

[American] Thomas Jefferson and the Ghostriders (Ready-to-read COFA) 

[American] George Washington's First Victory (Ready-to-read COFA) 

[American] Ben Franklin and His First Kite 

[American] Abe Lincoln and the Muddy Pig

[American] Annie Oakley Saves the Day (Ready-to-read COFA) 

[American] Mark Twain at Work! 

[American] The Statue of Liberty (Step-into-Reading, Step 2) 

[American] Thomas Edison to the Rescue! 

[American] Harry Houdini: Escape Artist (Level 2)

[American] Helen Keller and the Big Storm 

[American] Babe Ruth and the Ice Cream Mess (Ready-to-read COFA)

[American] Eleanor Roosevelt and the Scary Basement (Ready-to-read COFA) 

[American] Jackie Robinson and the Big Game (Ready-to-read COFA) 

[American] Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story (Scholastic Reader, Level 2) 

[American] A Lesson for Martin Luther King Jr. (Ready-to-read COFA)

[American] John F. Kennedy and the Stormy Sea (Ready-to-read COFA) 


Level 3

[Science] Greg's Microscope (I Can Read Book 3)

[Science] The Innings and Outs of Baseball (Science of Fun Stuff)

[Science] The Thrills and Chills of Amusement Parks (Science of Fun Stuff)

[World/Biography/Science] Albert Einstein: Genius of the Twentieth Century (Ready-to-read Stories of Famous Americans) 

[World/Biography/Science] The Dog That Dug for Dinosaurs (Ready-to-Reads) 

[World/Science] Bermuda Triangle (DK L3)

[Science?] The Story of Chocolate (DK L3) 

[Ancients] Greek Myths (DK Readers L3)

[Renaissance] The Great Tulip Trade (Step into Reading)

[World] Hill Of Fire (I Can Read, Book 3)

[World] The Story of Anne Frank (DK L3)

[World] Leaving Vietnam: The Journey Of Tuan Ngo (Ready to Read)

[American] From Slave to Soldier: Based on a True Civil War Story (Ready-to-Reads)

[American] Billy and the Rebel: Based on a True Civil War Story (Ready-to-Reads)

[American] Abe Lincoln's Hat (Step into Reading)

[American] Sitting Bull (Penguin Young Readers, L3)

[American] Francis Scott Key's Star-Spangled Banner (Step into Reading)

[American/Inventors] Listen Up!: Alexander Graham Bell's Talking Machine (Step into Reading)

[American/Inventors] Eat My Dust! Henry Ford's First Race (Step into Reading)

[Renaissance/American] Christopher Columbus (Step into Reading, Step 3, Grades 1-3)

[American] The True Story of Pocahontas (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)

[American] The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Step-Into-Reading)

[American] George Washington and the General's Dog (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)

[American] Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President (Step into Reading, Step 3) 

[American/Science] Spacebusters: the Race to the Moon (DK Readers: L3) 

[American/World] Pearl Harbor : Ready To Read Level 3  

[American] Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express (I Can Read Book 3) 

[American] Dust for Dinner (I Can Read Book - Level 3)

[American] Daniel's Duck (I Can Read Book 3)

[American] The Big Balloon Race, Level 3 (I Can Read)

[World/American] The Long Way to a New Land (I Can Read Book 3)

[American] The Long Way Westward (I Can Read Book 3) 

[American] Clara and the Bookwagon, Level 3 (I Can Read Book)

[American] Sam the Minuteman (I Can Read Book 3)

[American] George the Drummer Boy (I Can Read Book 3)

[American] Small Wolf (I Can Read Book 3)

[American] Snowshoe Thompson (I Can Read Book 3) 

[American] Chang's Paper Pony (I Can Read Book 3) 

[American] George Washington -- Soldier, Hero, President (DK Readers, Level 3: Reading Alone) 

[American] Wagon Wheels, Level 3, Grade 2-4 (I Can Read ) 

[American] The 18 Penny Goose (I Can Read Book 3) 

[American] The Josefina Story Quilt (I Can Read Book 3) 

[American] The Drinking Gourd: A Story of the Underground Railroad (I Can Read Book 3) 

[American] The Monitor: The Iron Warship That Changed the World (All Aboard Reading, Station Stop 3)

[American/Biography] Amelia Earhart: More Than a Flier (Ready to Read, Level 3) 

[American] Teddy Roosevelt: The People's President (Ready-to-read SOFA) 

[American] John Adams Speaks for Freedom (Ready-to-read SOFA) 

[American] Davy Crockett: A Life on the Frontier (Ready-to-read SOFA) 

[American] Susan B. Anthony: Fighter for Women's Rights (Ready-to-read SOFA) 

[American] Clara Barton: Spirit of the American Red Cross (Ready-to-read SOFA) 

[American] Abigail Adams: First Lady of the American Revolution (Ready-to-read SOFA) 

[American] Sojourner Truth: Path to Glory (Ready-to-read SOFA) 

[American] Harriet Tubman and the Freedom Train 

[American] The First Thanksgiving (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3) 

[American] Johnny Appleseed: My Story (Step into Reading) 

[American] Babe Ruth Saves Baseball! (Step into Reading 3)


Level 4

[Science] Volcanoes! Mountains of Fire (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4) 

[Ancients/World/Art] Discovery in the Cave (Step into Reading)

[Ancients/World] Ice Mummy (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4) 

[Ancients] Secrets of the Mummies (DK L4)

[Ancients] Tut's Mummy: Lost...and Found (Step into Reading)

[Ancients] Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (All Aboard Reading L2) [Penguin L4?]

[Ancients] Pompeii...Buried Alive! (Step into Reading)

[Medieval] Days of the Knights: A Tale of Castles and Battles (Eyewitness Readers) 

[Medieval] Robin Hood (DK L4)) 

[Renaissance] Joan of Arc (Dorling Kindersley Readers, Level 4)

[Math/Renaissance] A Fly on the Ceiling [Rene Descartes] (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4) 

[World] Amistad: the Story of a Slave Ship (Penguin Young Readers, L4)

[World] The Titanic: Lost and Found (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4)

[World] Atlantis, The Lost City (DK, Level 4)

[World] D-Day Landings: the Story of the Allied Invasion (DK L4)

[World] Barry: The Bravest Saint Bernard

[American]I Am Rosa Parks (Penguin Young Readers, L4) 

[American] Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4) 

[American] Thomas Jefferson's Feast (Step into Reading) (Step #4) 

[American/Biography] Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4) 

[American/Inventors] First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers (I Can Read Book 4) 

[American/Inventors] First Flight: The Wright Brothers (DK Readers, Level 4) 

[American/Inventors] Thomas Edison: the Great Inventor (DK Readers L4) 

[American/Biography] The Great Houdini (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4) 

[American] Prairie School (I Can Read Book 4) 

[American/Biography] Flying Ace, The Story of Amelia Earhart (DK Level 4: Proficient Readers) 

[American] Dinosaur Hunter (I Can Read Book 4) 

[American] Finding Providence: The Story of Roger Williams (I Can Read Book 4) 

[Math/American] Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4) 

[American] Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln (Penguin Young Readers, L4) 

[American] The Monitor: The Iron Warship That Changed the World

[American] Civil War Sub: the Mystery of the Hunley (Penguin Young Readers, L4)

[American] Buddy: The First Seeing Eye Dog (Hello Reader!, Level 4)


Level 5

[Ancients] The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War (Step into Reading)

[World] To the Top! Climbing the World's Highest Mountain (Step-Into-Reading, Step 5)

[American] Trail of Tears (Step-Into-Reading, Step 5)

[American/Science] Moonwalk: The First Trip to the Moon (Step-Into-Reading, Step 5)


If you don’t want to stop there…

Beginning Chapters

[Exploration] Ice Wreck (Shackleton)

[Music] A Horn for Louis (Armstrong)

[Music] Anna Maria's Gift (A Stepping Stone Book) (Vivaldi)

[American] Next Spring an Oriole (A Stepping Stone Book)

[American] Night Of The Full Moon (Stepping Stone)

[American] Shadow Of The Wolf (Stepping Stone)

[WWII] A Time to Be Brave (A Stepping Stone Book)

[Literature] The Time Machine (A Stepping Stone Book) [There are many retellings of classic literature in the Stepping Stone series.]


I'll be posting a list of fiction titles soon!


Sarah M said...

Oh my gosh this list! Incredible! This is right where one of my kids is re: levels, so I'm going to spend some time with this list a little later. Thank you!
Sarah M

annabelle said...

I know this list must have taken you a lot of time and I appreciate so much that you are willing to share it with us. You are wonderful, thank you!!!

Heidi said...

You are welcome, ladies! Glad the list is helpful. :)

Sara Masarik said...

Dang Heidi! This is a motherlode! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!