Need chapter book suggestions for the very young

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  • ca06c

    My daughter will be 4 in a few months and is already reading short beginning readers on her own (Little Bear types) but, of course, read alouds are still the center of our day. In addition to many picture books outlined in SCM/AO/SL/etc, including at least 14 of the 23 Beatrix Potter books, we read a healthy amount of chapter books aloud. Thus far we’ve read the entire Winnie the Pooh Series, The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook, Hilda the Hen Who Wouldn’t Give Up, Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny, The Adventures of Brer Rabbit, and The Complete Brambly Hedge. She really enjoys chapter/compilation books. The idea of marking our spot in the book and “moving on” to the next chapter really appeals to her. Several of the aforementioned have been read several times over. I’m at a loss as to whether we should move on to new ones, concerned we’re moving through our book list at too fast a pace (inching into Year 1 territory) or whether I should continue to encourage re-readings of what we’ve covered thus far or a combination of old and new – and if the latter, any suggestions for what other chapter/compilation books can logically follow that are age appropriate but also feed her interest in increasingly more complex language and story lines? I was thinking Uncle Wriggly’s Storybook, My Father’s Dragon, The Little House series, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Happy Little Family, Boxcar Children, but unsure of order and if appropriate to move on to those now or wait.

    Thanks in advance


    Just read whatever you want. My Father’s Dragon is a great read aloud. I have a friend with a daughter just a little older than that and she’s been reading through the Swallows and Amazon series. If she’s interested, just keep reading! There isn’t a science to read alouds. It’s just a fun activity. When my oldest was little, he had an ability way beyond his age for listening to stories. We read books like Charlotte’s Web and Runaway Ralph and he did great with them. Just keep reading!


    All of those books sound great! We also enjoyed 101 Dalmations (the original) and Heidi, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Understood Betsy, and Pollyanna with all my younger girls. They loved them (and insisted that we read the sequels.)


    Thornton Burgess books! 🙂


    Thank you, all! I suppose my hesitation was just concern that we’re moving too quickly but I guess as long as I’m keeping pace with her interests we’re fine.


    I recommend Rod and Staff chapter books. I grew up on these, and even though I read them independently when I was young, my sister now reads them aloud to her children. I saved them for independent reading for my boys and now wish I had read them aloud. They are wholesome stories that are moralistic. You will find in their pages children who love their siblings and friends and are often kind, but also give in to selfishness, greed, anger and other temptations, as we all do. The parents are always gentle and loving and wise. I especially recommend God Cares for Timothy, Days on the Farm with Annette and Samuel, and The Family God Gave.


    Rod and Staff is a Mennonite publisher. I am not Mennonite but really appreciate the books.


    So many books, so little time!  All of those titles you listed would be appropriate for age four and are good selections.  We bought an Uncle Wiggly game from Amazon, because we liked those stories so well.  I would keep reading on with her interests and yours.  Our first chapter book was Little House in the Big Woods at about age four.   Later, you can read through the Little House series again and follow rabbit trails or use with a unit study like the Prairie Primer.

    Don’t neglect the wonderful picture books out there, too.  We have enjoyed many (not all) picture books used in Five in a Row and Before Five in a Row.  We love the Bear books by Karma Wilson.  We like books by Katy Hudson, especially Too Many Carrots.  We use picture books, fairy tales, and fables to teach writing elements through 6th grade.

    Another Mennonite book series that is great for character lessons is the Millers books like Wisdom and the Millers, etc. by Mildred A. Martin.

    More good read alouds: In Grandma’s Attic series, books by Carolyn Haywood, Storytime with Grandma and More Storytime with Grandma from, Dolphin Treasure, etc. by Wayne Grover, Among the People series by Clara Dillingham Pierson.

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