Children can start reading chapter books as early as 5 years old. Reading chapter books is a huge step in their reading journey. Thus, you will want to ensure that the transition from reading picture books to chapter books will be a smooth transition and will help them to love reading even more.
Here are a few tips that you can do to successfully help your child to transition and start reading chapter books.
1. Pick out a good book
You’ll want to practice with your child how to choose good books to read and books that are interesting.
Do the following with your child:
1. Read the title
2. Look at the front cover and the back cover
3. Read the summary at the back
4. Decide together if this is a book that you want to read
2. Start off with book series
A fun way to keep your child engaged in reading chapter books is to choose a book that’s apart of a series, that way they can continue reading books that they already like and they can continue on their reading journey.
Here are some ideas of good books series:
3. Start by Reading to your child
Since you’ll be introducing chapter books to your child for the first time, it might be best to start off by reading the chapter book to them.
Especially since for some children, chapter books can be a little bit intimidating since it’s loaded with words, and has little to no images, this will be something totally new to them.
To avoid a steep transition from picture book to chapter book, instead of just giving them a chapter book to read, read it with them.
4. Start Small when reading
When reading the chapter book to your child, don’t try to overwhelm them with too much information.
As you read, take note of when your child gets bored or weary, and stop reading if they do, even if you only got to read one page out of the whole chapter.
You don’t want to exhaust them with the information.
Stop reading and Recap with him/or her the story – ask him/her what he/she liked and didn’t like and engage in a discussion.
5. Remembering the story with your child
You must help your child to remember what happened in the story the last time you read the story. This can be tough.
Before continuing reading the story with your child, always recap with what happened the last time you read the story. Have them share what happened in the story. Make it a discussion.
Another thing you can do to activate you’re child’s memory, is to point out things in the environment that were discussed in the book and start a conversation.
This will help them to have an active memory of what they already read, what the story is about and how the story can be relevant to real life.
Also before reading again, show your child how to look back at the last chapter, what he/she previously read – to refresh their memory of what happened.
6. Ask your child to take turns at reading
At the point where you feel like your child is engaging and getting the hang of chapter books, ask him/her to read a specific section or an entire chapter.
Take turns in reading different chapters. Today you read, tomorrow your child reads.
Turn it into a challenge. Make it fun.
Ask your child to read a chapter to you.
Ask them to read a chapter on their own and tell you all about it. This will help them to start reading on their own, and remember what they read.