Moving from picture books to fantastic chapter books for kids
The transition between picture books and chapter books can be a tough one to negotiate in a lot of homes. Even kids who are excited about reading can struggle to make the transition to longer books. With a few tips — and some suggestions for fabulous chapter books for kids — they’ll be begging to stay awake to read one more chapter.
Encourage kids with short chapter books
Chapter books can be intimidating — lots of words on the page and lots of pages before chapter breaks. Get started with chapter books that have short, quick chapters, so kids can read little bits at a time. Amelia Bedelia Means Business is the first chapter book in the Amelia Bedelia chapter book series (Amazon, $4). Kids will laugh at the storyline: Amelia Bedelia tries to raise money for a new bike, with her typical misunderstandings based on plays on words. Each page contains small black and white illustrations to help with comprehension skills.
Try a series — but a flexible one
Once kids start reading, chapter book series keep them turning pages. The Magic Tree House series is prolific — countless books filled with things kids love, like mysteries, animals, and a little bit of magic. Library shelves and bookstores are lined with Magic Tree House titles, like #49 Stallion by Starlight, and the series allows kids to jump between books without issue (Amazon, $5).
Before kids actually start reading on their own, parents often glance at certain books in disdain. With memories of classic titles dancing in their heads, they promise themselves their own little ones won’t read about a main character wearing underpants or one who consistently makes bad decisions in school. But there’s a reason The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey and the Junie B., First Grader books by Barbara Park continue to be so popular (Amazon, $4). Kids love them, and when kids are giggling in their beds with a book — any book — something magical is happening.
Keep reading aloud
Don’t forget to keep reading with your kids. Even if they’re devouring books on their own, there’s something about taking some time to read together that connects families. You can introduce books with slightly higher reading levels and longer chapters — and maybe get in a little extra snuggle time on the couch while you’re reading. Start with something like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Amazon, $8). Continue with that or try something new, but keep turning the pages and let your kids see how much you value reading.