We have become fans of the Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne. These are written for newly independent readers - about 1st grade level - and perfect for family read-alouds. The stories are simple, but full of adventure and excitement.
Jack and his little sister Annie find a magical tree house in the woods by their house that is full of books. In book 1, Dinosaurs Before Dark, Jack looks in a book about dinosaurs and says, "I wish we could go there." Suddenly, they find themselves back in the time of the dinosaurs where they encounter a Pteranadon, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and other prehistoric animals. They discover that they can magically go to any picture from the books in the tree house.
As you can imagine, my girls are loving these stories. I am too!
What I love the most about these books is that it encourages kids to find adventure in books and to be excited about reading. In each adventure, Jack brings along the book which he uses as a reference to learn about the world they're in. He also brings a notebook to write notes and observations in. Since we have been reading these books, First Daughter has kept a notebook in her bed so she can take notes during reading time. It's adorable.
The other thing I like about these books is that every adventure is based off of different time periods, cultures, or historical events from history. Mary Pope Osborne has also published reference guides to go along with almost every book. If the story sparks your child's interest to learn more about the topic (i.e. dinosaurs, space, the Titanic, etc.) they can go to the reference guide to learn more. Since these are geared towards early readers, they are also full of great illustrations (which is great for Second Daughter).
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Thanks for stopping by!