Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Raising Readers - Chapter Books

I've been trying to figure out how I wanted to do a regular children's literacy post on this blog.  I've done reviews of books my kids like, updated the 1000 book challenge stats, etc.  Finally, I decided that I'd just take on a different topic each week.  So, you know, prepare yourselves.

I thought I would kick this off by talking about something I've been trying with my 4 year old daughter--reading chapter books.  I told a couple of people I've been doing this and I've been told everything from my child is too young to I'm crazy.

I don't agree (although I will admit there is the possibility that I'm crazy in other areas....)

Yes, my daughter is young, but I don't believe she is too young to listen to chapter books.  I've been pretty careful about which books I read--Mary Poppins was a bust, but Beverly Cleary books are a big hit.  We read one chapter before quiet time (which used to be nap time...Mommy is not too happy about that little development) each day.  She knows that is "chapter book" time and is always waiting for me with the book in her hand when I come into her room after putting her brother down.

But, does she actually listen to the story?

Well, sort of.  She does sort of flit around her room and, frequently, she will look at a picture book as I read.  But I have noticed that by reading books to her with fewer pictures, she is taking more notice of words.  I've been working with her on her letters and sounds and she knows how to sound things out, but she tends to be a little lazy about it.  However, when she has few pictures to focus on in a book, she pays more attention to the words.

I know that we'll be re-reading these books again in the future--I am already planning to give my daughter her own set of the Ramona books for her birthday--but right now, for a 4 year old, chapter books are introducing her to words as well as stories.


  1. We have daughters the same age, and I'm SO glad you are reading chapter books to her. I've been reading The Trumpet of the Swan to mine, and like you, I notice that she really is starting to pay attention more and more, both to the words and what's going on. (Even while flitting around the room haha) It's absolutely thrilling to see such young ones latch on to stories, isn't it? Looking forward to more of your Raising Readers posts. :)

  2. I think it's awesome to read longer books to her at that age! I was a good reader as a kid but I didn't read chapter books myself until I was a little older... my mom read a bunch of chapter books to me, though! I don't remember all of them, but I do think I was able to keep my attention on the story. Some kids definitely have capacity beyond the short picture book length... I am so glad my mom read me all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Wizard of Oz books, Chronicles of Narnia, and more chapter books when I was very young. Caddie Woodlawn and Anne of Green Gables, too. I will be interested to hear how your daughter does with more longer books over time!

  3. My kids range in age from 4 to 10 and we started listening to chapter books together in preschool for the older two. The younger two have always had chapter books going either at home or in the car. We listen to audio books in the car a lot and my four year old can follow most of the books. I can tell when he is less interested because he will make listening less fun for everyone else. Some of our first books were Magic Tree House series and they were a big hit. They were short enough, but had enough action that they all really enjoyed them. Other hits have been Chronicles of Narnia, Spiderwick, Sister's Grim, Beverly Cleary, City of Ember, Origami Yoda and more. Charlotte's Web and Gregor the Overlander. Harry Potter. Have fun with chapter books!