Many publishers assign levels to their early readers. However, these levels can vary from publisher to publisher so it is important to look at each book to see if it is suitable for your child. For example, although they are listed as Level One books, Pizza for Sam by Mary Labatt and T-Rex Is Missing by Tomie DePaola have more text and dialogue than those in the first group of titles listed below. You know best what will work for your child. Although you want your new reader to be challenged, do not choose anything too difficult or your child will become frustrated. Often choosing an easier book along with a more difficult title will help. Successfully reading easier titles will build self-confidence. The more your child reads, the more proficient your child will become at reading. Your child will read more if it is an enjoyable experience. (My focus as a librarian is to encourage children to read for pleasure so that they will become lifelong readers!)
Books for a child just starting to read should have a simple sentence structure and a great deal of repetition such as:
Capucilli, Alyssa Satin: Biscuit Finds a Friend - Biscuit the puppy makes friends with a duckling who has wandered from his pond.
Coxe, Molly: Cat Traps - A cat looking for a snack sets some traps without success until its owner comes home.
Books for those who have been reading for some time will not only have more words and sentences but also a more extensive plot. Some are divided into chapters.
Dewey, Ariane: Splash! - Two bears cause chaos while fishing at the river.
Books for children comfortable reading on their own will usually be divided into chapters, have more sophisticated wordplay and more complex plots.
Some popular series for beginning readers are: