Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Favorite Chapter Books for Young Children

My oldest daughter, Isabel, is 6.  Over the last two years she’s really begun to enjoy listening to me read chapter books to her.  During the day it’s just the two of us and most evenings we read with Dad too.  Before moving into chapter books we spent years reading hundreds and hundreds of picture books, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales.  We still read these.

The good books we have read have had a powerful influence on Isabel (and me too!).  I see her being inspired by favorite characters to try new things and behave in better ways.  We’ve had many sweet discussions over these books.  Her daily play is usually based on one of our current novels.  I love the effect reading these books has had on her.  Every child has different interests and attention span so I would expect them to all like different books at different times of their lives.  But, for what it’s worth, I thought I’d share Isabel’s favorite chapter books and how old she was when she was able to truly enjoy them.  

Often, after I read a book to her, I then get it on audio from the library and she loves to listen to them over and over.  I like to re-read them with her too but there’s something about listening to the book in her room while she plays with her toys that’s different than when I read to her.  There have been a handful of books that she didn’t love the first time I read them to her but after listening to them on her own, she fell in love with them.  Then, we re-read the books together and it was a totally different and better experience.  I've also learned that great illustrations are important to her--they keep her engaged and interested.  I wish I had realized this before I bought many cheap books without illustrations. 

We’ve read lots of great books that aren’t on this list but I wanted to share just our very favorites, things I think every child should have read to them at some point.  And to reiterate, I’m not suggesting the age that Isabel enjoyed something will or should apply to any other child, but it might be helpful to see which books are easier to start with versus those that were harder for her.  We’ve tried lots of books, found them beyond her interest/comprehension and waited and then tried again and found her finally ready for them.  There’s a long list of books I can’t wait to read with her that she’s just not ready for yet.  So here are our favorite chapter books from the last 2 years.  My specific reviews of the books can be found on my goodreads.com bookshelf.
Little House in the Big Woods, 4                       
Little House on the Prairie,  4           
Farmer Boy,  4           
By the Shores of Silver Lake, 6           
The Long Winter, 6                       
Little Town on the Prairie,  6           
These Happy Golden Years, 6           
The First Four Years, 6           
The Secret Garden, 5           
Charlotte’s Web, 4           
Trumpet of the Swan, 5           
The Magician’s Nephew, 6           
Prince Caspian, 6           
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 6           
The Silver Chair, 6           
The Last Battle, 6           
A Christmas Carol, 6           
Bible and other Scriptures, 5


Kathleen said...

I love it Jen. And I love the idea of her listening to audio books of things you've already read while she plays. Great Idea! I'm gonna have to try that.

Sea Star said...

I think the only one listed that I haven't read to Sophie is The Secret Garden. It is sitting on my shelf. Maybe I need to dust it off and read it.

At the moment I depend a lot on Audio books. Ever since the baby came I haven't been able to do as much reading aloud as I used to. We still read a lot of picture books and such but our read aloud time in the afternoons has now been taken over by the radio reading some new audio book that I have picked up from the library. We have gotten in a lot of great books this way but it is different than me reading aloud to them.