Bridging to chapter books: Mysteries make it happen |

Bridging to chapter books: Mysteries make it happen

This is the third installment of a six-part series about children and reading

In recent years there has been a virtual publishing explosion in beginning chapter books for young readers. Some of the Truckee Library’s most popular works are these series chapter books written for 6 to 9-year-olds. Once a child learns how to read, you don’t want them to stop. You want them to build skills, gain confidence, and above all, enjoy reading. Books in a series are a great way to capture their attention. However, traditional chapter books are written at a 9-12 year old reading level, which is beyond the capabilities of many early elementary age children.

This week I will showcase four of the most popular beginning chapter book series for younger readers. All of them are written at a second to third grade reading level, and at a 6 to-9-year-old interest level. They range in size from 60 to 80 pages and all contain frequent illustrations.

Children love to read mysteries. Two series designed for the pre-Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew set are Cam Jansen and A to Z Mysteries. Jennifer “Cam” Jansen is a fifth grade girl with a photographic memory. She looks at something, closes her eyes and says “click,” and the image is stored in her brain like a snapshot.

However, Cam’s memory simply assists in gathering clues, the final leap to solving the crime is done with old-fashioned observation and deduction, which the reader can accomplish as well as Cam. In the A to Z Mysteries, Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose are friends in Green Lawn, an average American town. Together, they solve mysteries beginning with every letter of the alphabet. The mysteries are simple enough readers can collect clues and solve them right along with the characters. (Another new mystery series based upon the classic Nancy Drew books, but written for a younger audience is Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew.)

The Junie B. Jones series enjoys immense popularity to the point that she’s become the Ramona of the 21st century. Junie B. is a strong-willed kindergartener (graduating to first grade later on in the series). She hides in the school building so she won’t have to ride the bus, learns about right and wrong when she loses her special new mittens, and doesn’t like her school picture. Throughout her adventures, Junie B. is helped by her teacher (whom she calls “Mrs.”), her parents and her grandparents. She speaks up for herself and for her friends.

And most popular of all for this age group is the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne, which now numbers 40 strong with more in store. The Magic Tree House combines all the elements of an enticing read: Time travel, history, adventure and mystery wrapped up in a quick, exciting plot. Siblings Jack and Annie discover a mysterious tree house in the woods near their home. The tree house is filled with books that can trigger trips through time. In their first adventure, the two children accidentally travel to the time of dinosaurs and must use their wits to return home. Later, they find out the tree house belongs to Morgan le Fay, a librarian-magician from the time of King Arthur. She helps Jack and Annie become Master Librarians so they can help her save stories from ancient libraries.

Next week we will explore even more popular beginning chapter books series.

Truckee Library, 10031 Levon Ave. 582-7846


Monday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tuesday Toddler Time at 10:30 a.m. (ages 2 to 3 years)

Babes in Bookland on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. (ages 6 months to 2 years)

Storytelling with Mrs. Fix on Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. (ages 3 years and up)

Spanish Storytime on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (ages 2 and up)

Bookshelf’s Dry Camp Book Club at the Library

Meets monthly at the Library. Participants at the book group meeting

will receive a coupon for 15 percent off a one-time book purchase at

the Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks. Everyone is welcome.

Now on display at the library:

Portraits by Truckee artist Raphael Jolly

Above the Fireplace: Sand Harbor in oils by Linda D’Toole

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User