First Chapter Books

Eliza Clark
March 18, 2016

Much as we adore reading and rereading our many treasured pictures books with our preschoolers, sometimes we yearn for a bit more of a substantial reading experience with them. It's fun to look forward to the day when we'll be able to read a new chapter of some wonderful story every night. And believe it or not, that day is not far away!

Even some four-year-olds can now and then listen with pleasure to a book that is long on on words and short on pictures. For five and six-year-olds, chapter books can become a regular part of the bedtime reading repertoire.

So it's not too early to begin your little one's collection of first chapter books. What fun! Here are a few favorite titles to get you started:

George and Martha: The Complete Stories by James Marshall and The Frog and Toad Collection by Arnold Lobel. The linked stories of comical hippo and amphibian friendship in each of these beloved classics are a great way to introduce young children to the idea of multiple chapters within a book.

Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. These treasures remain the best way to teach children to love longer stories with fewer (yet oh so evocative) pictures. Don't let these early years go by without delighting in the original Pooh stories together!

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater. This absurd and funny tale of a house painter who dreams of visiting the Poles, but instead is visited by a whole flock of Antarctic penguins remains a favorite 60 years after publication.

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. These stories of baby dragon rescue and other adventures are pure fantasy, and any child who is ready to listen will be carried away!

E.B. White's Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web are, of course, indispensable as well. They are a thrill to reread for parents, and the little ones are just mesmerized.

We could go on and on and on about all the great titles that fall under the category of "early chapter books"—but we'll spare you the raving and just mention a few more favorites we're so looking forward to sharing with our older preschoolers: George Selden's The Cricket in Times Square, J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, and Betty MacDonald's immortal Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

From the Parents

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