Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Read-Aloud Chapter Books for Preschoolers.

I had a friend email this week and ask about how we started reading chapter books to James and I already had a post in the works so I thought it was time to post it. It really came after he'd started sitting still for longer picture books and after he became obsessed with a certain movie {Peter Pan!} that was based on a book. Obviously as a former English/Language Arts teacher this is near and dear to my heart!

I have successfully been reading chapter books out loud to James for almost a year now. We started off slowly. I'd read a chapter here and there. Or a few pages if the chapter was too long to sit through. Now, though, we're reading several chapters in a sitting usually at naptime and bedtime and sometimes in the middle of the afternoon when we need something else to do. He can answer questions about characters and plot (although he doesn't know the words character and plot - okay, maybe he knows character!) and is using context clues to predict things that will happen. I'm so excited that we've been reading so often together. Especially since he started out a child who hated to be read to and wouldn't sit still to listen to a book for ANYTHING. (He liked to flip through on his own.)

I thought I'd list our books out in one spot on the blog so that if you're considering reading to your preschool-aged child you'd have a fun list to pull from. I'll try to keep it updated. I'm going to list in the order that we've read. We started this when he was only 3 years old but I didn't push. If he sat still, we read. If he wasn't interested in listening, we stopped. Easy, peasy! Build up to longer sittings! {He also sometimes begins playing while I'm reading and while that used to drive me BONKERS, I realized that he was actually listening while he was busy. As long as he can answer questions I'll keep reading even if he's doing something else.}

One thing I will say that helped a bit was to read books that had movies that went with them to begin with. We don't really stick to this anymore (it's just a fun bonus now!), but to begin with we would read with the promise of watching the movie at the end.

* B is for Betsy
* The Boxcar Children
* Winnie-the-Pooh
* Betsy and Billy
* The Worst Best Halloween Ever
* Mary Poppins
* My Father's Dragon

We're currently working on The Wizard of Oz on my Kindle. This is the first time we've read on the Kindle (really on my computer) but it's going well! Amazon offers GREAT deals on classics from time to time so keep your eyes out. I got ALL the Oz books (14! I had no idea there were so many!) for $1.

Reading with your kids is a FABULOUS opportunity for some one-on-one time (or just quiet time with all your kids!) and a great teaching opportunity. Anytime we read something that James doesn't understand, he asks. Anytime we read a word he doesn't know, he asks. He's learned plenty of new vocabulary words from each book. For instance, he didn't know what a "cyclone" or a "tornado" were so we've done a LOT of talking about that while reading The Wizard of Oz. This is also a great opportunity to gauge what their interests are so that you can pick MORE books that they'll be engaged in and enjoy!

{Here are some other bloggers that have posted their experiences with reading to their kids!}

Sarah at Memories on Clover Lane blogs OFTEN about books and toys that her kids love. She is seriously one fantastic mama to SIX children ages 1 to 19. Yowza. I'm definitely taking all of her advice and running with it. {She also blogs about books for grownups. I seriously don't know how she has time to read, but she does! Check out her "About Us" section for all the details on everything she does!}

Sweet Amanda over at Dixie Delights blogged recently on books for boys. She'd had a hard time finding things her oldest wanted to read and asked for help and then compiled the whole list for readers!

Another thing I do OFTEN is to Google or Pinterest search "Chapter books for preschoolers" or "Chapter books for elementary kids." LOTS of recommendations.

I've not quite gotten to the age where I have to pre-read books but I am DREADING that. THIS is a great post on other websites that will "pre-read" for you. In case you don't have time to read as quickly as your little readers!

Whew! So there you go! Enjoy reading with your babies! If you need other suggestions on books or helping kids read, please email me! Reading is seriously one of my favorite topics and I have LOTS of suggestions. ;)

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