Signs your child is ready for chapter books:
- Enjoys listening to longer stories.
- Enjoys stories where the pictures don’t do most of the talking.
- Enjoys hearing the stories you read to your older child. (Reading Rainbow)
- Starts thinking abstractly.
So if you answer yes to most of the questions you are ready to start choosing your first chapter book with your child.
Picking the Right Book:
Make sure the story fits your child’s interests. Like choosing a picture book, we want to make sure our child engages in the story. Look for books where the main character shares hobbies or is in a similar life situation.
Pictures still help. Choose a book that still has pictures throughout the story. It breaks up the text and provides an opportunity for you to talk about what you have read. With more listening than looking it might be harder for your child to hold the story thread in his head at first. Practice stopping every few pages and asking questions.
Start Small. There are a lot of great beginning chapter books like The Magic Treehouse series or The Clubhouse Mysteries or Matt Christopher or Mercy Watson among many others. The sentences and chapters are short and there are usually no more than 5 paragraphs per page.
Slowly start adding chapter books to your daily reading habit. Increase the number of pages you read and don’t worry about reading a full chapter! Since the stories aren’t necessarily driven by the pictures, let your child explore legos, coloring, blocks or another activity while you read. Just because their hands are busy doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. Always talk about what you read the previous day before you start reading. It will help them learn to hold the story in their heads for longer amounts of time in between readings.
Before long your child will ask to add a chapter book or two to the library basket but never stop reading those picture books because they are still a great source of unique and rich vocabulary and reading fun!
Other great chapter books:
(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on the pictures it will take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the sale.)
What our family is currently reading together: