Early Chapter Books for Your Preschoolers

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early chapter booksI am a life-long reader.  It has been my favorite hobby for as long as I can remember.  Having kids who enjoy it as much as I do has been a priority since my daughter was born almost three and a half years ago.  

Thankfully she has always been a captive audience, but recently she has started asking a lot of questions about the books we read each night.  She is so inquisitive about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in life, bringing new life to the word “why?” I love that about her, but it has also made it difficult for us (ok, me) to enjoy what used to be my favorite part of bedtime. With Llama Llama, the questions revolve around why Little Llama doesn’t have a Dad (Who knows why? They never mention him, so that’s why). In Masie books, she cannot figure out if Masie is an adult or a child (Good question. Masie goes to preschool, but yet she flies to Australia and bakes gingerbread cookies alone?).  In The Going to Bed Book, she wants to see the sleeping arrangements for all those animals, because they cannot possibly all fit in the bed pictured, she points out.  Forget anything from Dr. Seuss.

So one night when I was racking my brain trying to come up with reasonable answers to these millions of question, I realized, maybe she was outgrowing her reading materials.  

I didn’t really know where to start because the books I remember loving, like The Boxcar Children and Judy Moody were still above her level.  I ended up taking her over to Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park to let her choose her own.

They were so WONDERFUL!  They asked her what her interests were (princesses, crocodiles, the colors pink and purple), how many pictures she liked (a lot, for sure).  They had so many new series we ended up leaving with the first book in five different collections. These are very early chapter books, with lots of great illustrations and short chapters. We read five to six chapters per night, and get through a book in two to three nights.

Our favorites so far are:

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schultz

Charlie and Mouse by Laurel Snyder

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo

Don’t get me wrong – there are still questions, but most of them actually have answers she can understand. The stories are silly and at a toddler level, but it has been so fun to be able to dive a little deeper into characters and plot lines.  

There are also the classics for kindergarten age, like Junie B. Jones, and The Magic School Bus recently released a set of early reader chapter books.  Scholastic Books also has a line specifically dedicated to young readers called Branches.  

Reading is not only a vocabulary builder but also the best way to learn about anything and everything.  Encourage your kids to lose themselves in a good book this summer!



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