Beloved Chapter Books Used By Teachers in Class

These best sellers will help your child transition into independent reading habits.

Feb 21, 2023



Beloved Chapter Books Used By Teachers in Class

Feb 21, 2023

As your child progresses from lower elementary grades into the upper grades, they tackle more complex texts that engage their critical thinking and analytical skills. You can support your young reader’s progress at home by introducing chapter books into your daily reading routine. (Here are reasons to read to your elementary schooler every night.)

Teachers recommend starting with beginner chapter books that feature relatable characters and fast-paced plots. These books are a mix of classic fiction titles and contemporary graphic novels that build on reading comprehension and social-emotional learning skills introduced in kindergarten. 

Creating your own collection of chapter books at home will anchor your child's bookshelf with incredible storytelling and exciting characters — all while building their love of reading. Here’s a short but in-demand list of the chapter books teachers are stocking their shelves with right now.

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Engrossing Nonfiction and Historical Fiction Books

Learning about geography, animals, and historical events has never been more fun with immersive series like Who Would Win and I Survived.

In the Who Would Win series, various species from the animal kingdom are pitted against one another in mock-battle royales that teach readers the strengths and defining features of each. 

I Survived is a set of volumes highlighting significant events in global history — natural disasters, terrorist attacks, military conflicts — as seen through the eyes of fictional characters who “lived through” them.

Hilarious Graphic Novels & Illustrated Novels

Graphic novels and illustrated novels are a great tool for introducing reluctant readers to longer texts with more complex storylines. Some kids more easily understand the story — and new vocabulary — when text is paired with illustrations. Humor-driven series like The Bad Guys and Captain Underpants will have them rolling with laughter.

Escapist Fantasy and Adventure Books 

Whether it’s a night flight on dragon wings or post-apocalyptic joyride through zombie country, nothing pulls a young reader in quite like fantasy and adventure. 

For younger readers, the Dragon Masters series has it all: wizards, magic, kingdoms in peril, and 8-year-old dragon minders. Part of Scholastic’s Branches line aimed at newly independent readers, these books boost reader confidence with easy-to-read text and illustrations on every page. 

Swapping out dragons for zombies, The Last Kids on Earth follows a group of lucky youth who’ve survived the Monster Apocalypse (and so really know the answer to “What’s the world coming to?”). This laugh–a-minute series — perfect for gamers in the upper elementary grades — tells what happens next, as the kids battle zombies in between hangs at their tricked-out treehouse.

Endearing Novels About Friendship 

The language of friendship crosses boundaries and barriers — only to surprise us by delivering what we didn’t know we needed. 

The Baby-Sitters Club is an iconic series about four friends navigating the ups and downs of middle school and their joint venture. In the first book, Kristy's Great Idea, Kristy brainstorms a great way to spend time with her friends and earn some money. The group decides to start The Baby-Sitters Club to take care of uncontrollable toddlers. Although Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne run into many challenges, their experience is more rewarding than they ever imagined! 

Another unlikely friendship: The Brooklyn boy whose baseball idol moves to the neighborhood. Eight-year-old Stephen Satlow is shocked when his hero, Jackie Robinson (the first Black athlete to play in Major League Baseball) turns out to be the new arrival his Jewish neighbors are talking about. 

Based on a true story and written by Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson, The Hero Two Doors Down illuminates the real-life tensions behind Robinson’s record-breaking career. Themes in this book include respect, tolerance, and being a good person.

Novels That Tackle Classroom Dynamics

School is a big place and the pressure to fit in is real. Two best-selling books chart the ups and downs of life in the middle grades.

Save Me a Seat tells the story of Joe and Ravi, two kids from different backgrounds (and countries) on a mission to squash the class bully. 

Restart takes the bully’s POV. After an accident leaves Chase with amnesia, he quickly realizes he’s not a favorite among his peers — and for good reason. As his past treatment of others becomes clear, so too does Chase’s commitment to make good.

Award-Winning Classics

Some childhood books are so special they are awarded the Newbery Medal from the American Library Association, which is given to the “most distinguished contributions to children's literature.” These books are known for their richly drawn characters, evocative settings, and unforgettable plots. 

The storytelling gifts of three-time Newbery winner Kate DiCamillo are on full display in Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, which finds 10-year-old Flora Belle Buckman, a self-proclaimed cynic, navigating her parents’ divorce. It will take a chance run-in with a superhero squirrel for Flora to fully process her feelings — and let down her guard. Read the book, then watch the film adaptation on Disney+!

The One and Only Ivan is another animal-led award-winner. Inspired by the true story of a gorilla who spent 30 years caged inside a mall, this moving story imagines what the gorilla experienced, thought about, and felt. A story of hope and the healing powers of art, Ivan’s journey will stay with you and your child long after you read it together.

Teachers still vouch for Newbery Honor book Hatchet almost 40 years after its release. The riveting survival story of 13-year-old Brian Robeson, stranded in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash leaves him with just his clothes and a hachet, is a nailbiter your child will latch on to until the last page. 

Shop more books teachers love and recommend below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.
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