Books for Beginning Readers: Nature & Science

Finding an interesting selection of books to bridge the gap from when a child first begins to read until they are able to read with sufficient fluency can be difficult, especially if that time period is prolonged. I’ll be posting books that worked well for us at this stage, dividing them into different categories.  Most of them work well for around the ages of 4 to 8 years. I read these aloud (many times over) to my non-readers but my children loved to read them on their own when they first started reading for themselves. The ‘Science I CAN READ’ books are well-illustrated and interesting, narrative non-fiction and there is a wide range available secondhand. These are some we used & liked:


Elephant Seal Island by Evelyn Shaw




A Nest of Wood Ducks by Evelyn Shaw






Red Tag Comes Back by Fred Phleger






Ants Are Fun by Mildred Myrick




Caterpillar Green by Marla Martin


This book is published by Rod & Staff Publishers and is unusual in that it is a chapter book of 139 pages of good sized print with words broken down into syllables. The story is about a classroom of children who follow the journey of a green caterpillar as it becomes a beautiful butterfly. The story is told in both prose and poetry and is helpful in developing reading fluency with words of multiple syllables in the context of an interesting aspect of the natural world.






The Microscope by Maxine Kumin


An illustrated poem about the Dutch scientist, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, who was more interested in looking through his handmade microscopes than in keeping his shop. He saw things with the microscope that no one had ever seen before.






Germs Make Me Sick by Melvin Berger


‘Germs all all around you, but they are too small for you to see. Many germs are harmless, but two kinds, viruses and bacteria, can make you sick. Read and find out about germs, how they make you sick, and how your body works to fight them off and keep you healthy.’


18 thoughts on “Books for Beginning Readers: Nature & Science

  1. I have read Germs Make Me sick many, many times. It always seems to be a favorite of my littles. I was pretty happy when two of mine could take over some of the rereadings. =) Our family has enjoyed the Millicent Selsam science I Can Read books, so I will have to check into some of the others you suggested.


  2. Thanks for all the great suggestions, Carol! We have many of the older hardback I can read books but none of the Science I can reads. My twins are in this stage as we speak!


  3. Carol, this is fantastic! I was just in a used book store the other day looking at the \”early\” readers and was discouraged about which/what to get and how to find a non-twaddlish one. THANK YOU! 😀


  4. Well, never one to do things halfway, I went to ebay yesterday after reading your post and bought a 29 book lot of the I can read books. It was a good price for that many, and I'm looking forward to reading them with my kiddos.


  5. Ah, and the books are…Benny's Animals and How He Put Them in OrderOctopusAlbert the AlbatrossPlenty of Fish – heavy edge wearMore Potatoes!Baltimore OriolesAlligatorWhen an Animal GrowsSeeds and More SeedsThe Strange Disappearance of Arthur CluckThe Several Tricks of Edgar DolphinEmmett's PigFish Out of School – heavy edge wearEgg to ChickThe Toad HuntProve It!A Nest of Wood DucksTerry and the CaterpillarsRed Tag Comes BackFirefliesAnts Are FunDolphinTony's BirdsThe Bug That Laid the Golden EggsLet's Get TurtlesElephant Seal IslandWoodchuckCatch a Whale by the TailHidden Animals


  6. Carol you have the gift for finding lovely books. I have to restrain myself now my children are older those books look so very tempting!Arnold Lobel is always a great illustrator his name on the cover caught my eye.M


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