As a parent, choosing chapter books can seem foreign when it comes to our beginning readers. In this blog post, I want to help open your eyes to the wonderful world of chapter books and give you a simple system to choosing the perfect book for your child.
The importance of chapter books
Chapter books give children stories that are filled with elements such as character development, plot, problem, solution and more. Because of the length of chapter books, they help build a child’s reading stamina. Children also develop new vocabulary from reading more challenging books.
The most difficult part for children reading chapter books is either the fluency (pace and ease of their reading) or the comprehension (ability to recall the details and events in the story.) This is one reason why finding the perfect book is so important for your children. If you choose a book that’s too hard for their reading level, they may not enjoy reading because they have to work so hard to read the words on the page. This can be detrimental to the love of reading they’ve come to understand. Also, a book that’s too difficult could have situations in the storyline and language that’s too mature for your child.
As my daughter is reading more and more and I am having a hard time “previewing” her chapter books, I am reading reviews on them on either Shelfari or Good Reads to check the appropriateness of the content.
This is the first set of chapter books your child should be introduced to. These are chapter books that you read to your child. Your child gets to enjoy the story and talk about what’s happening (story elements: problem, solution, sequence of events, etc.) The reading level doesn’t matter since you are reading these books, but the content does. For example, I wouldn’t read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my preschooler. It would be difficult for her to follow and stay engaged. Some good ideas are:
- My Father’s Dragon
- Charlotte’s Web
- Stuart Little
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins
- The Mouse and The Motorcycle
- James and The Giant Peach
This is the first set of chapter books your child will be able to read and comprehend. The shelves at local stores like Target and Walmart are stocked with this genre of Early and sometimes called Easy Readers.
Beginning chapter books for independent readers
Now your child is reading fluently, can read for longer periods of time, and is comprehending the stories they are reading. They are ready to read chapter books on their own. Remember to consider the length and content of the books they choose. You wouldn’t want Harry Potter to be a first pick! Here are some titles to start with:
- Flat Stanley
- Arthur chapter books
- Horrible Harry
- Ready Freddy
- Captain Awesome
- Cam Jansen
- Amber Brown
- A to Z Mysteries
- Judy Moody
- Rainbow Magic Fairies
- Nancy Clancy
- Little House in the Big Woods
- Nate the Great
I hope this helps you in choosing the perfect books for your children. Don’t forget to use the resources out there in helping you find new titles. Pinterest is great for finding a group of titles like “Chapter Books with Mystery.” Happy Reading!
– Maria Dismondy, mother of three, reading specialist, fitness instructor and bestselling children’s author living in Southeast Michigan.
Visit www.mariadismondy.com/resources and join our Private Facebook Group where parents and educators are collaborating to empower children with skills and strengthen their character and esteem.