Ideas for Introducing Chapter Books

Chapter books can be a great addition to your read aloud time as early as 3 to 4 years old.  If you already read picture books before bed, the easiest way to introduce chapter books is to finish your picture book and tuck them in like normal.  Then when you would have been turning out the light and leaving, announce that you are going to add a special reading time.  Let them know this is a book with no pictures, that they should lay down in bed and listen to the story and can make the pictures in their imagination.  Next read for a few pages or more.  When you finish reading, maybe review what just happened in the story, ask them what they think will happen next or another question about the story.  If they are unable to answer a question, just tell them briefly what you liked about the story or what you think might happen next.

The next night read a picture book, tuck them in then let them know you are going to read again.  Spend a minute or so reviewing what happened the night before.  Each night it can be helpful to talk about the story or ask what might happen next when you finish the reading time.  Each night when you start, review from the previous night.  When children are very young, you have to read some every night consistently.  If you miss a few days, likely they will lose track of the story.

As they grow, you can read longer each night and longer stories over time.  The idea is to read aloud to them long passed the point you thought they’d listen.  Read aloud through high school if they will listen.  Children read to aloud through high school tend to do better on verbal SATs than read to aloud through middle school and middle school better than elementary school.  Unfortunately, most parents stop once children are reading to themselves.  Better to build some read aloud and some independent reading time into the bedtime routine.  There are benefits to both.  It can also be nice to let older children pick the chapter books or alternate who picks.

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Comments

  1. Melanie says:

    Can you recommend some appropriate chapter books for a 3 year old?

  2. Any recommendations on chapter books for 3 and 4 year old?

  3. You might try the Magic Tree House series, the Ramona series, Peter Pan, the Winnie the Pooh books, Junie B. Jones books, Paddington Bear, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, SuperFudge, The Little House on the Prairie books or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If those are too long, you might try the Dragon books by Pilkey or the Oliver Pig books by Leeuwen.

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