Introducing chapter books for beginning readers is the secret to getting your kids to advance their reading skills.
Transitioning from picture books to chapter books is easier than you think. We would like to help you choose books that will bridge this gap and make it a fun progression.
We still have all our chapter books from when our kids were little. I cannot bear to give them away, and honestly, neither can they! Many of them have been around for 20+ years, so I am keeping them for grandkids! If they are still this popular now, they will be in years to come.
I love to recommend these chapter books to friends and coworkers.
Just last week, a friend at work was asking about books with fewer pictures than story books and small chapters. I have wanted to write about this stage of reading, so my friend inspired me!
It can be a challenge finding chapter books beginning readers will gravitate toward.
Kids are used to tons of bright, bold pages and less actual reading. I remember my kiddos saying “where are the pictures?” I would respond with “well, let’s keep reading to see what happens!”
The key is to find chapter books that are so fun, they don’t really miss all the pictures.
Of course, there still are some pictures in these books, usually only at the beginning of a chapter or mid-chapter. They frequently will be black and white sketches depicting the main event of that chapter. This way kids can still ‘see’ what the scene and characters look like, but they can also start to build their own ideas!
Part of the fun of chapter books is your own vision of what the scene looks like.
This is a great opportunity for parents to discuss the details of the book. A fun way to end a chapter and entice them to hear more, is to ask your kids “what do you think the characters look like?” “What do you think is going to happen next?” It can be a simple topic, but it is up to the reader to use their imagination to really make the story come alive!
This is where the art in reading out loud takes a big role.
For tips and pointers on reading out loud to your kids, check out our post Improve Reading Comprehension For Kids – Shout It Out! It’s so cute when your kids start reading back to you, they tell the story with similar expression and enthusiasm like you! Not only do they enjoy this, but they obviously have been paying attention!
Yes, I said it! With the right books, kids will listen!!
Well, there are so many fantastic chapter books for young readers, but I have my favorites. They are in no particular order, as they all are #1!! I hope this list is helpful with getting your kids more comfortable with ‘big kid books’! As always, be patient, make it light and have fun!
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus
Even though I said the books wouldn’t be listed in a specific order, Junie B. Jones may be my personal favorite! She is an adventurous, feisty five-year-old who is learning about kindergarten. She has a strong opinion and personality, so much of what she discovers is what NOT to do in school. She is just a bit naughty and seems to find some trouble at times. She is quite sweet though, so don’t worry, she won’t teach your child bad habits! There are almost 30 Junie B. Jones books, I would go with a small box set for starters, one Junie is just not enough!
Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca
Another wonderful chapter book series with over 50 books!! The Magic Tree House books star siblings Jack and Annie who discover a tree house filled with books. In every book, they are magically transported to another time and place where a new adventure begins! They could go back to the time of dinosaurs or to ancient Egypt, it is different every time. These books will keep your kiddos on the edge of their seats!
Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey
Ricky Ricotta is a slightly nerdy little mouse who tends to get bullied be meanie mice! That is until he builds a mighty robot who helps him to be brave! Not only does his mighty robot become a dear friend, but soon the dynamic duo is saving the world from the evil Dr. Stinky! These comical books will surely be a hit in your home. So far, Ricky Ricotta and his mighty robot are the heroes in 17 books!
Amelia Bedelia by Herman Parish
Classic Amelia Bedelia books (which have been around for over 50 years) are hysterical and star a grown-up housekeeper who takes all her duties a little too literally, causing all sorts of innocent havoc! Well, these new Amelia Bedelia books have her as a little girl, still taking things much too literally! She continues to have us in stitches with her goofy ideas on how things should be done! These are fun silly chapter books, perfect for a new reader!
A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy
No surprise, there are 26 wonderful chapter books in this entire series, perfect for new readers! These books were always a favorite with my kids, some of their first mysteries! I remember reading these at night together, the cliffhangers, and how they couldn’t wait to hear what happened next! The characters are a group of friends who solve little mysteries around town, working together to gather clues and having fun along the way!
Calendar Mysteries by Ron Roy
The mysteries continue with the younger siblings of the A to Z kids solving their own riddles! This series has a chapter book for every month, plus a bonus 13th book for New Year’s Eve! If you liked the A to Z Mysteries, you are sure to love the Calendar Mysteries also. These books are extra fun when they coincide with a holiday month, makes it extra interesting! Don’t worry, the Halloween book is pretty harmless, nothing too scary for your new reader!
The Magic School Bus Chapter Books by Eva Moore
Go exploring with Ms. Frizzle and her magic school bus! These chapter books are so fun and outrageously silly! Ms. Frizzle is an elementary school science teacher who is able to magically transport her entire class to just about anywhere, all for the sake of learning! Not only does the bus change, but the kids change also, into whatever is needed to fully understand the lesson! They might turn into tiny bugs or be water droplets in a rainstorm! You never know what kind of amazing lessons Ms. Frizzle will teach!
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
These classic books have been popular for about 45 years! Need I say more? Frog and Toad are positively adorable, two best friends just going about their normal lives. They write letters, go swimming, and just have friendly chats. This might not seem very exciting, but the simplicity of it has kept our attention for years. Sometimes you don’t need flashy adventures, just two good friends enjoying each others company.
Jigsaw Jones by James Preller
With at least 30 books in this series, your kids will keep on reading! The main character is a 2nd-grade boy who is the best detective in his class! Jigsaw Jones is always on the job, looking for clues! Your kiddos can help him solve mysteries like the bicycle bandit and the smelly sneaker! He is always ready to help anyone in the neighborhood! It’s no mystery that your kids will love Jigsaw Jones!
Geronimo Stilton by Geronimo Stilton (Elisbetta Dami)
These wonderful adventure books are probably the coolest chapter books for young readers! The true author is Elisabetta Dami, but she uses the main character’s name as the author of these books. Geronimo Stilton is a newspaper owner who happens to be a mouse. Everyone is a mouse and all things are “mouse friendly”! The adventures Geronimo goes on are magical and fantastic, with the most interesting plots one can imagine! The books are vivid and bright, with the words being written in all types of goofy font! You have to check it out to know what I’m talking about. There are close to 100 different Geronimo Stilton books, ranging from thick hardback series to smaller paperback chapter books. Geronimo’s sister Thea also has several chapter books. Have fun with these!
Puppy Place Series by Ellen Miles
These adorable chapter books are perfect for any puppy lover, pretty much any kid! This series has almost 50 books all with a different main puppy character. These stories will totally touch your kiddos heart, they are all about these puppies finding foster homes. They all have good endings, so don’t worry about tears! Puppy Place books are simple and sweet and my daughter still remembers them, she likes them so much!
I hope this post helps you bridge the gap from picture books to chapter books. When introducing new types of books, remember to be patient and keep it light! These books will surely be a hit though! There is a reason why I still have these in my personal library!
Take care and read on my friends! Kris 🙂