Bridge Chapter Books :
Spanning the Gap Between Leveled Readers and Traditional Chapter Books
I've been a children's bookseller for almost 20 years now and, about 10 years ago when my oldest son started reading, I began to notice the huge gap between leveled readers and the chapter books that were popular at the time (and still are) like Junie B Jones and Magic Tree House. I also began to notice that many emerging readers had older siblings, which meant that they knew what chapter books were and were very eager to read them like their older brothers and sisters, but achingly unready to make the jump. For the last few years, for the less-ready readers, I made do with Andy Griffith and Terry Denton's The Cat on the Mat Is Flat, a fantastic book that is the book-child of a collaboration between Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein and reads more like a collection of poems than a chapter book. For the slightly more ready readers, I offered up Megan McDonald's Stink Series, which I enjoyed so much I reviewed the first two book in the series, Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid and Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker.
Happily, over the last year, publishers like Simon & Schuster and Scholastic have introduced imprints that speak specifically to this issue. While Simon & Schuster's Little Simon imprint includes picture, pop-up and bridge chapter books, Scholastic's Branches imprint is, as the website notes, "a unique line of books specifically designed for newly independent readers who are ready to make the exciting leap from leveled readers, but not quite prepared for the traditional chapter book." Be sure to check out their website for a more in depth look at their line of books. It's like the READ MY MIND!!! I can't tell you how excited I am to offer up a week's worth of reviews of titles from both publishers and their fantastic new books.
And, while the books that I am categorizing with this new label, Bridge Chapter Books, are written at levels that fall between leveled readers and traditional chapter books, there is actually a range of levels within this label as well. Next week, I'll be featuring reviews of the easiest of these Bridge Chapter books. Then, in the following weeks I'll be reviewing the rest of the bunch. I hope that this new label proves as useful to you and your emerging readers as I think it will!