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1st chapter book recommendations?


DhanyaCali
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Do you have any good recommendations for FIRST read aloud chapter books?

 

I never would have thought to read chapter books to my almost four year old, but then I read about  it in a book (either WTM or a Charlotte Mason tome, I can't recall which) and saw My Father's Dragon touted on another thread. We just finished reading that one, a chapter a day, and DS loved it! Looking for similarly awesome recommendations. Wondering if he's be old enough for Roverandom by Tolkien? I'll have to go back and re-read it to see (I pre-read everything)

 

Thank you! <3

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I'd suggest checking out the book lists for Sonlight. That gave us a good start of chapter books to read aloud. (It also includes My Father's Dragon.) The P3/4 didn't have chapter books per say, but longer storybooks/picture books. P4/5 has a good few and Core A even more.

 

Mine are girls, but we've enjoyed:

Uncle Wiggily

Fancy Nancy Chapter Books

Amelia Bedelia Chapter Books

Charlotte's Web

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

 

We plan to continue with the rest of the Narnia books. Also have a stack including the Core A books and The Wind in the Willows, Just So Stories, Little House (1-5), and others as well as treasuries.

 

Paddington Bear Treasury, Mad About Madeline, Brer Rabbit, Dr. Seuss Baker's Dozen, Milly Molly Mandy, Teddy Robinson Storybook, Betsy Tacy Treasury, and more.

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My very young ones really like

 

The Boxcar Children

Ramona and Beezus

Pippi Longstocking

Five Children and It

Winnie the Pooh

 

My 3.5 year old listens in on our read alouds. Those have been his favorites. He tolerates others (Roald Dahl, E.B. White), but was engaged and tracking the above books.

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My father's dragon has two sequels. My girls love the Fudge series and the Ramona books. Everyone liked MAgicTreehouse books at that age But they get annoying quick.

 

House of Bunnicula books

Little House in the Big Woods

Toys Go Out series

How to Train A dragon

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These are the books we have done in the past couple of years:

 

My Father's Dragon

Jamie and Angus Stories

Complete Thomas the Tank Engine (original stories)

A Bear Called Paddington

Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel w/ Wrinkled Knees. (2x)

". " in Cookie Land

". " and the Paper Dragon

Uncle Wriggly

Wizard of Oz (3x)

Marvelous Land of Oz

Ozma of Oz

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

The Road to Oz

The Emerald City of Oz

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Just So Stories

Jungle Book

Currently reading Peter Pan and Wendy

Children's Book of Virtues, ...book of Heroes

James Herriot Children's Treasury

The Mouse and the Motor Cycle

Ralph S. Mouse

Ralph Goes to School

 

Next up: trumpet of the Swan.

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Mr. Poppers Penguins was one of our first read alouds, followed by The Mouse and the Motorcycle series. Charlotte's Web and EB White's other books were really enjoyed in our house too.

 

We are doing The Chronicles of Narnia series now. While both my 4 and 6 year old like it, my 4 year old doesn't understand much of what is going on.

 

Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook is a good resource for finding age appropriate read alouds.

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Charlotte's Web was out first. Followed by Little House in the Big Woods.

I have not found too many that are as easy to read as My Fathers Dragon. My son is liking Flora and Ulysses. And he Loves Uncle Wriggly's and Mother Goose.

He is currently ready the Frozen novelization. Not high quality literature but it is like the movie and he loves that.

If you want to easy into chapter books a little slower the Arnold Lobel books are nice and easy.

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You have so many replies, but I can't help but add mine too.  We love read aloud time!!!

 

Winnie the Poo is a great in-between book.  Long stories with fewer pictures, but each chapter while a continuing of the story is also is its own adventure.  My kids had a difficult time adjusting to not having a conclusion every day, and I found this to be a great transition.  

 

My Father's Dragon is an excellent book.  But the reading level is low enough that it could be saved as a first chapter book for children to read themselves.  Boxcar Children may be the same, I haven't looked at it since I was a child myself, but I know several 1st and 2nd graders who have read it.  There are so few really quality "easy chapter books" that I try to save what I can for that purpose.  

 

Charlotte's Web, Trumpet of the Swan and anything else by E. B. White is gold. The Narnia series. Peter Pan.  Mr Popper's Penguins.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  The Jungle Book. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and anything else by Roald Dahl.  

 

And dont forget to read Poetry too!!  When We Where Very Young and A Child's Garden of Verses are traditional first poetry books.  

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I have not started my youngest on chapter books yet, so these are what my elder listened to around 3.5-4.5 years old:

 

Charlotte's Web

Pippi Longstocking

The Boxcar Children

Various Magic Tree House Stories

Little House in the Big Woods (waited for the rest though)

Enid Blyton - the old Noddy Books have proper chapters

                   - the rest I waited til she 5 and just read the short stories to her

Dick King Smith - many of the early readers, though she loved Harry's Mad and one about a hen that could talk (cannot remember the name of the book now)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Magic Finger (this one can be a little scary for the young - my DD enjoyed it though)

Milly-Molly-Mandy stories

 

And loads of picture books - picture books are great and I still read them to my 6 year old now though she can read chapter books herself now and though I read chapter books to her daily - there is something about a picture book that should not be lost.

 

I left Beverly Cleary (Ramona and Henry for a little later as Ramona herself is in kindergarten at the start of her stories and it seemed more appropriate to wait so she could have them as a series - didn't work as she has heard a few but not all of them now.

She wasn't even 5 when I read her Twenty and Ten and she enjoyed that one too but will read it later again as while she followed the plot the history was lost on her.

At 5 she liked The Indian in the Cupboard and has heard the second and third of that series too though I would normally wait with these too.

 

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Thanks to all that recommended My Father's Dragon as a first read out loud chapter books.  The twins are hooked.  We tried the first Magic Tree House book and we didn't like it and never did finish the book.  O well, you win some and lose some. :)  On to book two, Elmer and the Dragon.  Thanks!

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More EXCELLENT recommendations!

 

It's funny, Coco,that you should mention saving some for him to read himself, that's actually what I was thinking about Narnia, it's probably a great read aloud but I remember getting the entire boxed set as a kid and just eating my way through it, LOVED them. Also if he's older maybe he'll "get" some of the allegory on his own without me ever saying a thing.

 

I just checked out Pippi Longstocking, but I'm think I'll hold off on it for a couple years, there's fighting, references to a deceased mother and my DS id SUPER sensitive about that kind of thing. I think we'll hop onto Elmer and the Dragon next too!. :)

 

Probably plan on doing a chapter book ever couple or few weeks, it's pictures books from sun up to sun down atm and I'm thinking chapter books will be a nice slice of variety.

 

 

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If you have time to read more, do you read more than one chapter?  

When My Father's Dragon came home from the library, DD was snuggly so I read about half the book.  Then later I thought I might have made a mistake.  

Is it better to build the suspense and limit it to one chapter a day?  Or is it better to work on attention span and read as much as she wants?

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I can see merit with both, I'm sure there isn't a wrong way to enjoy books with you kids!

 

I choose to go one chapter a day to build up his patience, and also help him streeeeeetch his brain by having to recall what we read days and days ago. It was our 1st attempt at chapter booking and we all really enjoyed it. He asked me to read it again last week and we sat happily for a 5 chapter chunk. (actually I think I'm the one who had to get up and change the baby, or cook, or pee or something, lol).

 

That's us, you seem awesome, I'm sure you'll do what's best for your girl! <3

 

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I usually read two chapters of a read aloud a day - that is because we have read aloud time during school time and another session before bed at night. There are days when we only read one chapter though. I limit it based on life rather than on any thought about skills taught when I wait or when I read lots at once. Of course if it is a day where the kids are a bit ill or I am or we need time to snuggle and just be quieter then we can go through more chapters per day and if we are getting near the end of the book and really want to know how it ends then I will also read much more.

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More EXCELLENT recommendations!

 

It's funny, Coco,that you should mention saving some for him to read himself, that's actually what I was thinking about Narnia, it's probably a great read aloud but I remember getting the entire boxed set as a kid and just eating my way through it, LOVED them. Also if he's older maybe he'll "get" some of the allegory on his own without me ever saying a thing.

 

I just checked out Pippi Longstocking, but I'm think I'll hold off on it for a couple years, there's fighting, references to a deceased mother and my DS id SUPER sensitive about that kind of thing. I think we'll hop onto Elmer and the Dragon next too!. :)

 

Probably plan on doing a chapter book ever couple or few weeks, it's pictures books from sun up to sun down atm and I'm thinking chapter books will be a nice slice of variety.

I find because of the "britishisms" children have to be a bit older to get Narnia. Say, third grade. I don't mind reading him a book at 5 or 6 that he can read himself again at 8 or 9. But I not want to read him a book at 5 or 6 that he can read himself at 6 or 7, and I think My Fathers Dragon is there. I also love the discussions Narnia brings out, I keep the allegories quiet for now but we've talked at length on if Lucy should have done that or what they would have done if they were Peter, ect. I love books that really bring out that moral imagination for read aloud. MFD is good and all, but not exactly deep. ;)

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Thank you for the My Father's Dragon recommendation.  We finished it last night.  It had not been on my radar.  

 

I had been calling it "The Dragon Book" and DD is reading just enough to be confused because none of the words in the title looked like it might be the word "Book".  I am so happy the library has #2 on the shelf.  

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

We are going to try Paddington next.  Pippi made me want to stab my eyes.  I liked Pippi as a kid.  DD has liked the TV show.  But, she is such an annoying character.  

We are also doing the Great Illustrated Classics version of Little Princess.  Might not have been the best choice since the little girl is now orphaned.  

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Definitely check out the sequels to my Fathers Dragon.

The Cricket in Times Square was another favorite. The literally would have had me read the whole thing in one day if I had been willing.

The Chocolate Touch

All the Little House books

Charlotte's Web and Trumpet of the Swan were another 2 that my kids really enjoyed.

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Cool, more to grow on! Thank you!

 

I've never read the little house books and I feel like that's kind of crazy!

 

We just finished the 2nd in My Father's Dragon, a couple times! He's been asking for it again and again like the 1st, which I have on my kindle, so I think I need to actually OWN them all. Oh well, worthwhile investment!

 

My mom got DS4 the OG Whinnie the Pooh books for his B-day, they're chapter-ish, and he's been lapping them up! I'm so sad I've lost my voice the past few days, it's killin me!

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I have found that the books I read to my DD at 4 have been forgotten now that she is 6.5 and old enough to read them herself. Maybe because we have read so very many books, or maybe there just is some memory loss between 4 and 6. So I am not bothered about reading books to her that she may be able to read herself in a couple of years time - she can read them then with fresh eyes.

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That is something I have thought about too. I figure he will be able to revisit all the books we read. It is something he loves, so it works. Frankly, I rely on audio books right now. He is still at that he where he loves to read the same thing over and over again. When we do read it is mostly picture books that we discuss.

We read Charlotte's Web together about a year ago. He has listened to it on Audio book twice since then. He has listened to Mr Popper's Penguins at least 3 times. And Uncle Wiggly about 4 or 5. There are many others that he has listened to and read himself many times.

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I LOVE the Read Aloud Handbook! I checked it out from the library (4th edition) and it was so good I just had to go back and request the latest edition, which I'm reading now. Babies need books is GREAT too, I also want to own it, and Honey For a Child's Heart is next in my sights. I haven't heard of those last 3 so I'll have to look into your suggestions. Thanks!

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 We started with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at 4.  Be sure your kids have plenty of quiet play things to do while you read aloud.

 

Honey For A Child's Heart is a good book to have on hand for finding good books.  Google lists for award winning children's books.

 

Can you give me an example of quiet play things your children are doing while you read aloud? I think I have the unreasonable expectation of kids siting criss cross apple sauce with eyes on me while I read. When they don't do this, I figure that they are not old enough for read alouds and then just avoid doing it at all.

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The Boxcar Children was my first set of books that I read aloud that were chapter. Prior to that it was the Alphapet collection, though they're hard to find. I've only seen them on Ebay.

 

Maybe the Hardy Boys set? I haven't read it in a while, but he might like the male characters, and the detective aspects.

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Can you give me an example of quiet play things your children are doing while you read aloud? I think I have the unreasonable expectation of kids siting criss cross apple sauce with eyes on me while I read. When they don't do this, I figure that they are not old enough for read alouds and then just avoid doing it at all.

 

My older one might eat, build pillow forts, stamp out Play-Doh figures, use his Magna-Tiles or dig in the dirt while I read-aloud.

 

If I feel like he's really disconnecting from the book and spinning out into the play, I'll check in with him and maybe quiz him a little bit: "Who is Watch again? Can you remind me? Oh, yes, of course, he's the dog they found. OK, chapter 10, here we go." 

 

There's no penalty in my house for wanting to play rather than listen to books, as we do a lot of both. If he wants to stop reading, we stop reading. Usually sooner or later he'll suggest, "Mom, you could read to me!"

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