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Friday, April 8, 2016

chapter books to read with 4-7 year olds

I have long since been an avid reader.  I loved our frequent trips to the library when I was a child.  I could stay there forever, and even now one of my favorite things is getting lost in a book store and wanting to read All. The. Books.  Memories of middle school include carrying a huge stack of text books (because back packs were apparently uncool at that time?) with a novel on top.  Every minute in between classes or while waiting for a ride after school, I read.  I loved a good story...still do...though my time for reading has decreased in proportion to my increase in kids.

My husband and I are firm believers that reading to our kids is one of the most important things we can do.  The time spent reading with them is time invested in our relationship and bond with them.  They also get a boost in language skills, vocabulary, communication, and concentration, which is never a bad thing.  We hope to instill in them a love of reading, and ultimately a love of learning in general.  So, we make reading to our kids a priority, even if it means a later bedtime, and refuse to use taking away reading time before bed as a discipline tactic or bribe.  That time is untouchable, no matter what.

Around age 4, Scout showed interest in reading longer and longer stories, so we started reading some chapter books to her.  She loved hearing more intricate stories with characters and an actual plot line, and she did an amazing job transitioning from looking at pictures in the books to imagining her own.

I will add the caveat that sometimes I do censor certain words or paragraphs.  For example, in James and the Giant Peach, James has two aunts that are particularly mean to him and call him terrible names.  I may have skipped part of this or altered some of the names, because the last thing I want to do is inadvertently give my kids ideas of negative names to call their unsuspecting friends and/or me! 

In the past few years, we've read quite a few chapter books with her, and since more than one person has asked what books we've read, I thought I'd share here.  

Thus far (as far as my memory serves me), in no particular order but listed under author's name, we've read...

Beverly Cleary
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Runaway Ralph
Henry and Ribsy
Henry and the Paper Route
Ramona the Pest
Ramona the Brave
Ramona and Her Father
Ramona Forever
Ramona's World

Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
James and the Giant Peach 
Danny the Champion of the World
Fantastic Mr. Fox
George's Marvelous Medicine

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Prairie
Little Town on the Prairie

Astrid Lindgren
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking

Um, obviously we stick with authors we like for a while.  Hoping to read some Chronicles of Narnia next.

Also, I feel its important to add that we heavily utilize our public library.  The branch we frequent has a large children's section, and I often will put the next book in a series on hold so it's ready for us when we are.  We have found that having a separate basket at home exclusively used for holding library books helps us keep track of them as we often have a lot checked out at one time between both kids.  I can't say enough for using the library!

I love that we are at this stage with Scout.  I enjoy reading books with her and hearing her laugh at funny parts and watch her emotions and reactions to the story come alive across her face.  When she begs for one more chapter, I almost always give in.  It's good for both of us.

I promise to check back in later with a new list of what we've read in a few months.  In the meantime, feel free to leave some of your favorites for this age range in the comments.  We are always looking for new ideas!


  1. Mrs Piggle Wiggle books are always a favorite and Isla is really into The Magic Treehouse series right now.

  2. I miss you fiercely too, mah friend. Can't wait to see you again.
    We have been reading some solid chapter books lately!! Try "Toys Go Out" or "Invisible Inkling". I think they were pretty good :) Max liked them anyway, but he does like some questionable stuff.
    We've read all Roald Dahl's stuff, and I want to like him sooo bad but holy moley, some of the stuff is dark and gorey! Yup, we are constantly changing words and skipping sections, haha.
    The Chocolate Touch was another one of Max's faves, if you haven't read that one yet. <3

    1. I knew you'd have some great suggestions. You are just too cool and in the know not to! Yeah, Roald Dahl, he must have been totally messed up, but dang it, he's a creative genius. How does his brain think up this stuff. Some things feel less dark than others and I skip questionable things too. And my kiddos have much more innocent imaginations than I do as well. I added your book to our list at the library. Let me know if you run across any more good ones.


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