Early reader books are what I recommend, when I'm asked "Can you recommend some books for my 7 year old to read by themselves?" or "Can you recommend books for 6 year olds to read independently?
These books, sometimes known as 'first reading books' or 'beginning reader books' are generally a next step after picture books. Now, there are a few things to say about this (sorry!). Firstly, I NEVER recommend 'moving on' from picture books. We are NEVER too old for picture books, there is too much to learn from picture books and many have several layers of complexity appropriate for older readers too. Also, children can get a lot of comfort and pleasure from reading familiar and simple picture books. So please, I entreat you, do not dispose of your picture books yet and pass no judgement if your children want to read picture books even as they attempt early reader books. Ok, rant over!
Secondly, early readers have many similarities with picture books. Both formats have simple vocabulary, an engaging story and plenty of illustrations. But early readers are also different from picture books in that they are smaller in overall size, generally more rectangle in spare, with a smaller font size, chapter breaks and more pages. Whereas picture books generally have about 32 pages, early readers tend to have between 40 and 100 pages. And children are acutely aware that these early readers are more 'grown up'. But there is a danger in rushing ahead too quickly at this stage and it's important to get the right level for your child. And technically, they are not learn-to-read books but of course they are an important part of becoming a more confident reader.
Early readers are generally for ages 6 to 8 but clearly all children are different. For instance, my daughter age 6 has only recently become a free reader and really enjoys choosing new 'chapter books' as she calls them. But we've had to try quite a few different books in order to get the right level for her. Though Clarice Bean is one of her absolute favourite series, the language proved too tricky for her to read independently and we ended up agreeing to save it for when she's a little older. She has loved however, the Daisy books and the Horrid Henry early readers.
Generally early readers are read after children have gone through the various book bands but some, for example our Cereal Superfan book below, are at the far end of book bands (lime) so there are no hard and fast rules!