What Are Easy Readers?

What Are Easy Readers? image
Copyright 2011 Joan Y. Edwards

“What Are Easy Readers” by Joan Y. Edwards

Perhaps you have a story that would make a great Easy Reader. Here are a few facts and opinions to help you decide.

The following link will help you understand better about Easy Readers. It’s a passage from p. 14 and p. 15 in Biscuit, a My First I Can Read Book by Alyssa Satin Capucilli with illustrations by Pat Schories.

Easy Readers, Emerging Readers, and Beginning Readers are all books for the young child who is just learning to read.

Many publishing houses have their own brand of easy readers. They have different levels. Each publisher’s criteria may vary. Robyn Opie says, “The characters, settings, themes and conflicts of easy readers must be relevant to your readers…consider: family, friends, pets, animals, school, holidays, sports, losing something, finding something, being left out, being different, etc.

If you are using Word 2003 and 2007, you can set your Spelling and Grammar Review to check the readability of your manuscript. It uses the

6-8 year old Easy Readers have the following elements

  • Color Illustrations on every page, even though they aren’t essential to understand the story
  • Words tell whole story and don’t rely on illustrations to explain parts.
  • Action and dialogue
  • Simple words
  • Simple, short sentences with one idea per sentence
  • Controlled Vocabulary
  • Introduce new words so they can be figured out in context
  • 2-5 sentences a page
  • 200-1500 words
  • 48 to 64 pages

Examples of Easy Readers

Alyssa Capucilli Biscuit, Level 1 http://www.amazon.com/Biscuit-Alyssa-Satin-Capucilli/dp/0064442128
Betsy Byars The Golly Sisters, Level 3 http://www.amazon.com/Hooray-Golly-Sisters-Harper-Paperback/dp/0064441563/
Denis Cazet Minnie and Moo, Level 3 http://www.amazon.com/Minnie-Moo-Missing-Jelly-Donut/dp/0060730099/
Marjorie W. Sharmat Nate The Great http://www.amazon.com/Nate-Great-Marjorie-Weinman-Sharmat/dp/0385730179/
Peggy Parrish Amelia Bedelia, Level 2 http://www.amazon.com/Amelia-Bedelia-Read-Book-Level/dp/0064441555/

Publishers of Easy Reader Series

Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt
Harper Collins – I Can Read books
Random House – Step Into Reading


    1. Harold Underdown, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books: http://www.underdown.org/cig_3e_ch08b.htm
    2. Harold Underdown. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books,
      Chapter 8: Novels and Other Books with Chapters (list of books) http://www.underdown.org/cig_3e_ch08c.htm
    3. Misty Karam. “Book Recommendations: Easy Readers”
    4. University of Illinois. School Collection on the ESSL Children’s Literature Blog http://www.library.illinois.edu/blog/esslchildlit/archives/2010/11/easy_reader_boo.html

I suggest that you check out about 25-100 of the Easy Readers. Read this post again with one of the Easy Readers in your hand, it’ll cement its style and necessities into your mind. It’ll help you discover if this genre suits your writing style and topics of interest. I hope that this will help you decide if you have a neat idea for an Easy Reader. I’m doing a post on Chapter Books next.

Learn something new.
It’ll inspire you to be thankful for what you already know.

Flip Flap Floodle will make a wonderful gift for your 4-8 year old child or grandchild. I loved telling, writing, and illustrating it. The little duck and his song remind children to believe in themselves and never give up. It’s available as a paperback and as an ebook for the Kindle and Nook, too. I hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy. Thanks.

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2011-2016 Joan Y. Edwards

Updated September 4, 2016

18 thoughts on “What Are Easy Readers?”

  1. Interesting, because it’s a genre one doesn’t activly think of often, even though it’s very important! A pity, I can’t draw worth anything 🙂

    1. Dear Kaitlin,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about Easy Readers. The publisher will provide an illustrator, you don’t have to worry about that. If you belong to SCBWI, there are illustrators who might be interested in doing a project together. Perhaps you can take pictures with a camera of the ideas for each page, to help you visualize what you are writing. If you have good ideas for this genre, go for it. The world needs your views. Keep on writing.

      Have a Flip Flap Floodle Day!

      Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator of Flip Flap Floodle at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/

  2. Joan,
    Wow! You’ve done it again. You’ve outlined lots of helpful information into one post. You have hit all the key points: an example from an easy reader, general guidelines, readability, publishers, titles, and resources. You make learning about easy readers EASY. Thank you. I look forward to your upcoming post on chapter books.

    1. Dear Linda, Thanks for your enthusiastic response to my “What Are Easy Readers?” blog post. I took bits and pieces of all that I knew and all of what the resources told me. I tried to cover all the bases. Of course, reading them while you are reading my article will help cement the ideas into your subconscious mind. Then, incredibly, the books become reality right in front of you when you write.

      Have a Flip Flap Floodle Day!

      Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator Flip Flap Floodle at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/

    1. Dear Constance, You’re very welcome. Linda Andersen asked me to write a blog about Chapter books. So before I could write about Chapter Books, I had to know what the difference was between them and Easy Readers. I’m excited that this information was very helpful and timely for you. Good luck with your writing. Thanks for reading my blog.

      Have a Flip Flap Floodle Day!

      Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator Flip Flap Floodle at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/

  3. Great information Joan. I’ve read that’s it kind of difficult to get into publishers with easy reader manuscripts – it seems those publishers mainly use their own freelance writers.

    I’m not sure how true this is.

    But, on the flip side, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    I’ll be linking to this article.

    1. Dear Karen, This may be true. Publishers may be using their own free lance writers. However, I’m sure there are some publishers who are venturing out with Easy Readers. The rumor is that many parents are pushing the Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books and going away from the Picture Books. These are only rumors. So write a good story, you can change it from one format to another if you have a great character. I saw where they took Laura Ingalls Wilder books: They made Easy Readers, Chapter Books and kept the original as a Middle Grade Novel. Here’s a link to publishers who still accept unsolicited manuscripts. You can check their guidelines about Easy Readers. You could also call and ask if they’re not listed. http://www.ehow.com/about_5384861_publishing-companies-accept-unsolicited-manuscripts.html As you say, nothing ventured – nothing gained. A vision created and believed in – a vision realized. Go for what you believe in: Picture Books, Easy Readers, Chapter Books, Middle Grade Novels, Young Adult, Adult or other genres. Go for it.

      Pray – Dream – Read -Write – Draw – Talk – Listen – Pray Never Give Up Joan Y. Edwards

  4. Hi Joan, Thanks for consistently providing thoroughly researched material for writers. Your blog is always so encouraging. I am just writing something new and wondering what genre it’s supposed to be in. I liked what you noted about Laura Ingalls Wilder above. Just write, that’s the important thing. But being armed already with genre guidelines makes it easier to know where my writing fits. Thanks again- and keep up the good work!
    An Old Rough Writer 🙂 lara

    1. Dear Lara,
      It’s good to hear from you. You’re welcome for the information I shared about Chapter Books and other things that I’ve researched. I’m writing several chapter books and I was getting a little clueless in what a chapter book really was supposed to be. Everyone seems to say something different. I hope what I wrote helps you make a difference in your understanding and your plan for writing.
      Glad you’re writing again. You’re good at both writing and illustrating. You are blessed.

      Have fun today.

    1. Dear Carol,

      I plan to do Middle Grade and Young Adult, too. If I do them, I’ll need to do Picture Books and Board Books. If I do them, I’ll need to do Adults. I’m taking a breather in between to let Easy Readers and Chapter Books soak into my mind. If there’s something special, you would like me to write a blog about, just let me know.

      Enjoy Life’s Changes Never Give Up Joan Y. Edwards

  5. Thank you for this post! I’d been looking up something any information/tips about writing Easy Readers, and by chance came upon this post! Though I got a firm idea for an Easy Reader, I’m thinking I might first actually look at some Easy Readers in the library (good way to spend a morning or afternoon away from the computer), so I can get a good idea of the mechanics of that area of literature before steaming ahead with the burst of inspiration in my brain. 🙂

    1. Dear Holly,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad this post helped you have a better concept of Easy Readers. Going to the library and reading what the Easy Readers on the shelf is a great idea. Ask the librarian for the ones that are checked out the most often and/or her favorites. Good luck with your writing – follow your inspiration.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

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