Easy readers are children's books
that fall between picture books and early chapter
books. They vary in length depending on the
publisher but as a guide work on 1,000 to 2,500
words. This limited word length means these books
have fewer pages than early chapter books. Easy
readers are aimed at children who are beginning
to read, aged from 6 to 8.
Easy readers are always soft cover and highly
illustrated. The illustrations can be colour or
black and white. These books have a grown-up look
to them, making a child feel like they are
reading books like their parents. They often have
A picture book story doesn't work without the
illustrations - the illustrations are as
important as the words. The two work together to
tell the story. What appears in the illustration
is usually left out of the text.
Easy readers work without illustrations. The
story stands alone. The illustrations are
included because of the age of the reader, to
make the book appear more attractive and less
daunting to the emergent reader.
Due to the age of your reader, easy readers are
grammatically simple. Sentences are short and the
language is familiar to this age group. It is
appropriate to use a few difficult, unfamiliar
words to challenge your reader. But, for the most
part, the words you use should be easy to read
and understand for ages 6 to 8.
The characters, settings, themes and conflicts of
easy readers must be relevant to your readers.
Think of the experiences a child this age has and
what they care about. Here are some ideas to
consider: family, friends, pets, animals, school,
holidays, sports, losing something, finding
something, being left out, being different etc.
Easy readers have simple plots. It is best to
stick to one idea or conflict. There is no room
for subplots due to the word length and age of
There is also no room for unnecessary words,
going off on tangents or waffling. Every word
should be necessary to the plot. These books are
fast-paced and action-packed. It is important
that you hook your child reader or adult
publisher in the first few lines. It is important
that you keep them hooked with tight writing,
fresh ideas and page-turning action.
Keep description to a minimum. Only include
character or setting description if it is
necessary to the plot. Otherwise you slow your
story down and risk losing your reader. Remember
your settings should be familiar to your reader.
You don't need to describe a house or school etc.
It is preferable to keep your characters and
settings to a minimum or you risk confusing these
very young readers. Avoid character names that
are too similar. For example, Mick and Nick. It
is also wise to avoid names that begin with the
same letter. For example, John and Jim.
I've heard it said that easy readers should have
predictable storylines, so that your reader feels
a sense of importance and maturity by being able
to anticipate what is coming next. Your story
line should definitely be logical, so that what
happens next seems like the only possible
I always write stories that the child in me would
enjoy reading. I love humour and surprise
endings. The most important thing to remember is
that the surprise ending makes sense and seems
totally plausible given all that has come before
Visiting a good book store or library is
invaluable. You need to see what is being
published and by whom. You need to familiarize
yourself with the language and structure of easy
readers. The more you learn, the more you write,
the better you become as a writer and thereby
improve your chances of being published.
Publishers are looking for original, fun stories
that will appeal to this age group. I'm sure
that's what you want to write. So go for it!