55 of the Best 1st Grade Reading Books

Today, I want to share some of the best 1st grade reading books you can choose for your early readers. 


First grade is such a vital time in the life of a new reader. Having plenty of great books that are both at their reading level and slightly challenging, is important. It will keep nourishing their minds, improve their fluency, and increase their vocabulary. Below, you will find a good mix of books for young readers to gain confidence and increase fluency.  You will find this list covers a wide selection of books about all different topics and subjects.

There are a few sight word books – including those important words in what students are reading is an easy way to double down on curriculum. Towards the end of the list there are some easy chapter books for those venturing out into longer books. The list is topped of with books suited for students who are ahead of the game with their reading level. 


Picture Books for First Grade

First graders are very comfortable with picture books, because they are often used for read alouds throughout elementary school.  These picture books are perfect and simple texts filled with silly stories and adventures.

1st grade reading books and picture books for kids

  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee: This is an adorable, never-goes-out-of-style story about friendship — filled with plenty of zoo animals!
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog: Who doesn’t love a story about a little girl, her friends, and and adventurous dog? These delightful books have a special message for kids of all ages.
  • Giggle, Giggle, Quack: A farm babysitter is asked to do all sorts of quirky tasks for the animals in this story.
  • The Wild Robot: This book series comes highly recommended from first grade teachers.
  • Where the Wild Things Are: A classic tale about imagination, friendship, and love.
  • The Marshmallow Incident: This is a creative story about opposing sides by Judi Barrett. The book focuses on a delicious way to solve problems — marshmallows!
  • The Cat in the Hat: First graders and new readers always love this easy to read Dr. Seuss story. The simple words and rhyming patterns are throughout this silly story. Green Eggs and Ham is another good one to add to your collection.
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: This story teaches new readers that everyone has a not-so-great day sometimes— and that it is okay!
  • How I Became A Pirate: This story is all about how sometimes our biggest dreams are not what we imagine them to be.
  • When the Library Lights Go Out: Story time puppets come to life and go on plenty of adventures in this adorable picture book.
  • The Incredible Book Eating Boy: This creative and eye-catching story is all about the wonders of reading.
  • The Polar Express: While this may be a book best brought out around Christmas time, all age ranges will love it. It is chock full of plenty of life lessons as well!
  • Madeline: This story is part of a beloved series and takes readers across the world and right into Paris, France!
  • A Pizza the Size of the Sun: This book is filled with poems and short stories about a wide array of interesting characters and ideas. 
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?: This is a simple read, but has plenty of high frequency words and sight words throughout the story.
  • Chicken Soup with Rice: This helpful story teaches readers about the months and seasons in a creative way and through beautiful illustrations.
  • Mama and Papa Have a Store: This story, set in Guatemala, opens readers eyes and shows them just how big the world really is.
  • Ish: This story will encourage those who read it to climb back on the saddle and work on something they love.
  • Hot Hot Roti for Dada-Ji: A fun way for children to learn interesting facts about different cultural traditions and new food.
  • Officer Buckle & Gloria: This picture book is filled with quirky safety tips and characters.
  • Home: The beautiful illustrations in this one are just part of the appeal. Its language is simple and contains plenty of the sight words and high frequency words that first graders need to focus on.
  • The Name Jar: The main character in this book is the new kid in school — and no one ever gets her name right. This story is all about how we always have the potential to create a new version of ourselves — and how the original version of us is usually the best one.
  • I Love My Hair: This story is all about self-acceptance and being proud of who you are.
  • I Want My Hat Back: Ranked amongst New York Times bestseller book lists for its unique illustrations, this story is ideal for its repetitiveness and simple language.

Picture books meant for this age are a great way to give them the familiarity of illustrations, but challenge them a bit. They are newly independent readers,  and the pictures can still be an aid when they need it.


Sight Word Books

Sight words are a huge focus for 1st graders and 2nd graders. Most elementary grades continue to implement them throughout the curriculum.

Books that help these new readers practice fluency and reiterate important sight words are perfect for this age. Sight word books often have simple text that is ideal for first grade readers that are not as advanced. 

  • Sight Word Readers Box SetA set of 25 little books that teach 50 of the most frequently used words in print!
  • First Little Readers Level A:  This set of 25 little books are aligned with guided reading level A
  • First Little Readers Level DThere are 25 motivating books (Guided Reading Level D). The books features simple text, decodable words, strong picture cues, and two to four lines of text per page to support readers with just a little experience under their belts. 
  • Bob Books: This set of easy, short books is perfect for a classroom of students with different interests.
  • Meet the Sight Words Level 3: Each of the 12 easy reader books in the boxed set includes the 47 most frequent kindergarten sight words. The words on each page are mostly sight words. The majority of non-sight words in these books are easy to decode or have a visual cue in the illustration. 
  • Jump, Frog, Jump!: Another easy way to practice action words.
  • Fly Guy: These funny books are great for simple sight words. The main characters take you on a silly adventure throughout the whole series.
  • Five Trucks: This book introduces readers to some really cool machinery— all while reiterating vital sight words! If you know a little boy who loves trucks, this is a great selection for emergent readers.


Easy Chapter Books for 1st Grade

First graders begin dipping their toes in chapter books and chapter books series as they become more independent readers. They are often extremely excited about it as the chapters make them feel like older and more advanced readers. They are also more prone to become attached to characters, so the more story available, the better. These are simple books and perfect introductory chapter books for your new readers.

  • Princess Cora and the Crocodile: This story is all about being careful what you wish for — you might end up with a pet crocodile!
  • The Story of Diva and Flea: This story is all about discovery and friends in unlikely places.
  • Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us: This book, illustrated by a Caldecott Honor-winning artist is about new friends. How we make, them, keep them, and how they become family.
  • The Infamous Ratsos: This story about brothers shows how trying to be tough all the time is tough. The two brothers learn that being soft and good makes life a little easier sometimes.
  • Charlie and Mouse: These simple chapter books are about two brothers and the adventures they go on throughout their neighborhood.
  • Fergus and Zeke: These main characters are mice. Fergus is a class pet in Miss Maxwell’s classroom. Through a class field trip, he makes a new friend named Zeke!
  • Mercy Watson: Mercy is a pet pig that is often not treated as one. This causes the family to get into lots of trouble! The Mercy Watson Series is a first grade favorite!
  • The Princess in Black: Princesses don’t just drink tea and wear pretty dresses. They can wear black and stop all kinds of monsters as well!
  • Owl Diaries: This set of simple chapter books is written as a diary and perfect for newly-independent readers!
  • Monster and Boy: This chapter books is all about new and unlikely friendships.
  • Zoey and Sassafras: This series of books has everything — animals, magic, science and mystery.
  • Dragon Masters: This series is perfect for anyone who is a fan of dragons and magical powers.
  • Dory Fantasmagory: This chapter book has plenty of pictures and is perfect for anyone who feels pushed aside sometimes because they are the youngest sibling.
  • The Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sweetie, Poppy, and Sugar make up the Chicken squad. A group of young chickens out to prove they aren’t afraid of anything.
  • Magic Tree House: This is a popular chapter book series for kids. If your kids are mastering sight word books, and easy readers, they can give this series a try.
  • Junie B. Jones: Ask almost any young boy or young girl in first grade, and they will tell you about Junie B. Jones. This children’s book series are so much fun for the kids, because they have relatable characters.

These first grade books have simple sentences and simple vocabulary to keep reading fun! 


First Grade Advanced Reader Books

Some children become more comfortable reading alone earlier than others. Having books designated for those children makes sure that you always have something around that will challenge them. An advanced reader will often begin reading chapter books sooner than the other students in their class. This list includes a few of those along with a some picture books with more advanced language.

Not only do you want a wide array of levels and types of books, but you also need new books with an array of topics. Keeping students interested in reading is important for their literacy development. Let them explore to find the best books for their age range.

Before you go, here are a few posts you will enjoy:

200 Best Read Aloud Books for Kids

10 Fun Sight Word Activities

91 Free Back to School Resources


1st Grade Reading Books