As much as I love picture books to read with my kids, I love reading chapter books with them too. In school, it’s often referred to as a “Read Aloud”, meaning you read it aloud to the kids. My son is 5 and I decided to try reading a chapter book with him. Even though some things may be a little over his head, he is catching most of it and loves it. I also think he loves the “mommy reading” time too.
It can be tricky for kids to transition from a picture book to a chapter book. With very few pictures, chapter books use a child’s whole imagination, hearing your words and forming their own images. After each chapter, I suggest you do a little review with your kids, whether they’re young or older. This way you see if they got the main idea of the book, then you’re ready to move on to the next chapter.
My son and I are currently reading Curse of the Cheese Pyramid from the Geronimo Stilton series. Grandma had given this book to my son on CD and he has already listened to it before. It was fun for me to be involved in the book this time and read it to him again. We already have a fun Make and Takes Storytime idea all lined up for celebrating this book when we are finished.
Here are a few Chapter Book suggestions to start with.
- Ramona the Pest or any Ramona Quimby book
- Junie B. Jones
- My Father’s Dragon
- Captain Underpants – silly
- The Candy Shop Wars
- Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians
- The BFG or anything from Roald Dahl
Books as Movies: I also like to choose chapter books that have been made into movies. The book may be easier for your child to grasp if they have seen the movie version first. It will be more familiar to them. Here are a few good ones.
- How to Eat Fried Worms
- Chronicles of Narnia
- Harry Potter
- James and the Giant Peach
- Stuart Little
- Charlie and The Chocolate Factory
What chapter books have your Read Aloud to your children? I know there are SO many more great ones out there!
Excellent read-alouds for children that are transitioning to chapter books are Enid Blyton’s
The Faraway Tree/Enchanted Wood series (3 books)
Wishing Chair books (3 books)
Read Aloud Dad
We started chapter books with my daughter just before she was 3 1/2. In the last 4 months we’ve read (and sometimes re-read)
Little House in the Big Woods
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (her favorite)
The Witches (this spooked her a little)
Alice and her Adventures in Wonderland (although I question how much of the language she actually absorbed)
Roald Dahl is big at our house although we’re trying to branch out.
These are great suggestions. I started reading my 5 year old chapter books (he is now 6). My 4 year old usually joins us for them too.
Stone Fox (although I tweaked the ending)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (he loved this)
Misty of Chincoteague
My Father’s Dragon (also loved)
A Cricket in Times Square
and currently Wonderful Wizard of Oz (loving it too)
I have a huge list on my blog if you need any more.
My four year old daughter loves the Mercy Watson series.
Check out “The Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease, it’s FULL of great recommendations!!
I have a list of about 30 good chapter books to read aloud to preschoolers and up at
i love this list! it’s awesome… i can’t wait to check them all out.
I have been reading the Boxcar children series to my almost 5 year old son and he loves them. I also loved these books when I was young.
Thanks for posting about this and for all those who offered suggestions–I also now have a long list of book ideas for future reading time.
Yeah! Even more great books. My list is getting long. Thanks again everyone.
And Suite – you are hilarious with Junie B Jones and your therapy. She is a funny character, just like you!
I found your site through a friend and love to see what is going on. I really loved this addition because I too love to read chapter books with my kids. I always start with the classic Little house on the Prairie series. My boys love it and I know my daughters will when they are a little bigger! We also have loved Indian in the Cub, and Mouse and the Motor Cycle! But I look forward to trying out some of these others that are newer! Thanks for the ideas!
I love reading Stink Moody to my son (5), the books feature Stink Moody (Judy Moody’s younger brother). Too cute and a great introduction into chapter books.
I started reading this post and got to “Junie B. Jones” and had to leave you a comment because SHE IS MY FAVE!!!
And not from when I was younger… Cicely and I love the Junie B. I had a therapist tell me years ago that I needed to read Junie B. to get a vision of how adults saw me as a child… and it was soooooo therapeutic. Seriously.
So I have the whole friggin’ collection:
*Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Valentime
*Junie B. Jones is a Barbershop Guy
*Junie B. Jones has a Peep in her pocket
are my top three…
Read em and WEEP!!! You will be laughing so hard you will be crying… Cicely and I do, every time we enjoy the delicious caramel goodness of a Barbara Parks book.
Great post Marie. Thanks for all the book ideas!
My 4year old has really enjoyed Charlotte’s Web, as well.
The Mercy Watson series are very short chapter books with plenty of pictures. Good for transition into full-on chapter books.
Hey! What a great post! I haven’t even thought of reading any chapter books with my kids yet. Thanks to you, I’ll be checking out some of your suggested ones at our library story time this week!
I, too, have great memories of my dad reading books aloud to our whole family. Since I was one of the youngest of 7 kids, a lot of the books we read were a bit over my head. Even though I may not have understood the books, I still remember how much I loved being cuddled up together with my family and listening to my dad read “Summer of the Monkeys” and “Where the Red Fern Grows”.
Thank you to everyone! These are such great Chapter Book suggestions. It is great to hear some of you already reading chapter books to your kids. And it’s fun to hear how a lot of you were read to as a child. Thanks for your great comments.
I found your site through another site and I have so enjoyed coming to it each day! Thank you for such great ideas and sharing your talents and love of children with us all.
My dad traveled a lot when I was little but the times he was home he was full force. I’m 1 of 5 kids and we all would get in bed and he would read to us at night. We went through the boxcar children which I loved, the magic bicycle (it scared me but I was scared very easily and still do-no scary movies for me) you might want to check that one out before starting b/c I can’t remember all that scared me probably better for much older. I was raised in a strong christian family focused home but still you be the judge for your family on this book…Umm the last book I remember loving was Miss Piggle Wiggle the 3 original series. My kindergarten teacher read this to us and I LOVED them.
Thanks again for all the ideas and comments from others. Sheridan
I was just thinking about starting to read chapter books to my four year old. Thanks for the ideas. I think I’ll start with James and the Giant Peach or Charlotte’s Web.
I haven’t started chapter books yet…my oldest is 4 (turning 5 next month), but I am going to try it this summer.
When I was little, the first books I remember reading with my mom were: Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swam (both by E.B. White).
Others that soon followed were, Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) & The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
What a great list. Some of the books we’ve read aloud are:
The Boxcar Children
The Mrs. PiggleWiggle books
The Tiara Club (my little girls love it) series
A Little Princess (which my six year old loved, but was a little much for my five year old – she mostly ended up jumping on the bed while we read it)
we are reading throught he Chronicles of Narnia now; my 5 and 3 year old sit and listen; the 5 year old loves it; the 3 year old likes being there, but usually falls asleep; which I think is cute too.
Wow, thank you for this great list! We’ve had a tough time with this, and I’m embarrassed to admit how many of these I read and loved as a kid but have since forgotten!
Oops, it was Vermicious kinids… :)
I also have fond memories of my Mom reading chapter books to me when I was younger. My favorite was Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (vicious kinids, anyone?)
I’ve been reading to my 6 yo, as part of our 15 minutes a day (he has 15 minutes to read, and then I have 15 minutes to read).
So far its been fun, we’ve read the BFG and now we are working on the Chronicles of Narnia series.
the wixard of oz, pollyanna, and the secret garden are a few good ones too. :)
I have some great memories of my mom reading aloud chapter books to me when I was young and I can’t wait until my son is ready for chapter books.
One of my favorites is Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. Each chapter pretty much has its own plot, so its easy for kids to follow.
I just finished reading The Chocolate Touch to my three year old boy. He loved it!