Transitioning Your Child to Chapter Books

by Amanda Hill –

stack of chapter booksMaking the jump from reading picture books to chapter books with your kids is one every parent dreams of. It’s a big step. And you can probably do it earlier than you think. Your child can comprehend far above what they’re actually able to read. My daughter is five and she loves to listen to a chapter a day. Knowonder’s new chapter books are a great way to jump into this new reading terrain with your little ones.

One of the biggest things children have to get used to when you begin reading chapter books is understanding that the story will continue over the course of several days. It isn’t something to start and finish in one sitting. Help ease this transition with a few of these tips.

  1. Keep the story fresh in your childrens’ minds throughout the day. Every once in a while, muse about what you think the character might do in the next chapter. Ask your kids for their thoughts.
  2. Make connections. Maybe you came across a big word in your reading the night before. Try using it throughout the day. Or, perhaps the main character is feeling a certain way. See if you can relate any of your child’s emotions or experiences to what the character is going through.
  3. Before you read, summarize. Don’t begin reading the next chapter without giving a brief summary of what you read the night before. You can also do this in a question and answer form with your kids to gauge what they remember and are comprehending.
  4. Before you read, ask. Ask a question that will be answered in the chapter you are about to read. This gives your kids clues about what is coming next and gives them something to listen for.
  5. After you read, summarize and ask. Review the events of the chapter you just read and ask a question along the lines of. “What do you think he/she will do?” Other good questions here to look for comprehension are “How did he/she feel about what happened?” and “What would you do in that situation?”

Start small with your chapter books and work your way up. I know families who read classic books aloud when their kids were teenagers. What a great tradition to start now!

Amanda Hill grew up in the mountain desert of southwestern Wyoming. The library was right outside her back gate and so it was easy to fulfill her love of reading. After high school, she attended Brigham Young University, where she graduated with a BA in Chemistry. After having two children and living all over the country, she now resides in central California. Amanda loves to read, write, crochet, sew, garden, play the piano, go camping, and spend all day with her beautiful kids.

Rate this story