Andy Shane – The Perfect Transitional Chapter Book Series

Have you heard of Andy Shane? I had not either until just a couple of weeks ago.


Up until now, introducing chapter books to my guided reading groups had been a major source of stress and anxiety. I completed my student teaching in Kindergarten, did a long term sub in Kindergarten, and did my first year of teaching in Kindergarten…I was comfortable with helping the little man become a reader. But when it came to those kids who already knew how to read, I felt like I had nothing to offer! That is, until I met my newest friend Andy Shane.

To back things up a bit, my school embraces the “Jan Plan.” A few years back, we started to use her book, The Next Step in Guided Reading. This year, the teachers received her newer book, The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading. It. Is. Amazing.

Both of these books actually inspired my Guided Reading Lesson Plan Templates that you can get in my TPT store. 🙂


These templates are almost the same as what she offers, just detailed in different places and formatted differently to allow you space to take notes!

But I digress…(as do we all).

Back to the chapter book dilemma. Even with all of these Jan Richardson resources right at my fingertips in which she laid out comprehension strategies for those higher learners, I still didn’t know how to do it. I tried Literature Circles with my highest readers (Those readers who are on a Level L+ from before Christmas and you just have no idea what to do. Oh, that’s just me? Whoops.). The students in that group really struggled (are still struggling) with their responsibilities and I felt (still feel like) I do not offer much in their guided reading time. Knowing how much this group worried me, I knew I did not want to set up this pattern with my next highest group.

My second highest group is just now entering Level K Guided Reading territory. In the weeks leading up to chapter books, I did some trial runs and laid out clearer expectations for those things I had trouble with in my highest group.

  • We used some of Jan Richardson’s comprehension modules to do things like Stop, Think, Paraphrase on every single page of a text to ensure they carried knowledge from previously read pages.
  • We retold stories like The Principal from the Black Lagoon by identifying Hubie’s feelings in the Beginning, Middle, and End and relating them to the events of the text.
  • We also did some writing together and had extremely simple assignments to complete before coming back to me for the next day of reading.

These few things, and the constant reminder that, “You guys are SO close to being ready for chapter books!” meant they had proven themselves, in a sense.

But I still had no idea what I was going to do.

There I was, perusing the Book Room at school when I found him: Andy Shane.


Four chapters and pictures to support comprehension!!

In chapter one, I felt like I was just using a typical guided reading text but the students felt empowered because it is still a chapter book full of imagery, metaphors, new vocabulary, and wild characters.


We spent about 3 days on chapter 1:

Day 1: Frontload with vocabulary and release to read independently.

Day 2: Deepen comprehension by pulling out figurative language (metaphors) and make connections to help in visualizing the text.

Day 3: Draw a picture of Dolores Starbuckle the way you visualize her. Identify character traits as a group. Assigned Writing: Would you want to be her friend? Why?

I am so excited to dig through this text with my group and then ultimately provide you with a lesson plan!

What about you? Do you have any transitional chapter books that you love to use?



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