Before this summer I have tried reading chapter books to my kids (we’ve tried Charlotte’s Web, The Little Prince and James and the Giant Peach)… but despite our initial excitement, we never seem to finish the books — either my kids lose interest half-way through or come night three, they just opt for a picture book instead. It must be difficult for kids to make the switch from picture books to chapter books — their little imaginations have to work much more actively, creating the illustrations in their heads. And also, it must be difficult for kids to string together the chapters and piece everything together.
We have, however, just finished our first chapter book and it was a big success. We read a chapter (or two) of Stuart Little every night before bed, and I was so surprised by how excited my boys were to read the next chapter and by how much they remembered from the nights before. My boys are 6 and 4 and I think that the 6-year-old definitely comprehended more than the 4-year-old, but still the 4-year-old enjoyed it (even asking questions from time to time). Thankfully Stuart Little is such a sweet, simple story with short and exciting chapters (and even a few illustrations thrown in) — perfect for little kids with short attention spans.
I’m not sure if it’s because my kids are finally old enough, or if Stuart Little just caught their attention… but I’m hoping this is the beginning of a trend toward chapter books.
Do your kids like chapter books? How old were they when you started reading them? And do you have any books you recommend? How exciting it must be when our kids actually start reading their own chapter books (I already have a list of books I want my kids to read!).