What Is a Chapter Book?

Reading Chapter Books Is An Important Milestone for Children

Old childrens' reading book, open at page with illustration and text.
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As your children grow in their reading ability, transitioning from sounding out each word and following the sentences with their fingers to reading more quickly on their own, they will need to graduate to more complicated reading material.

As they become stronger readers, children develop appetites for richer and more complex stories and can handle multiple characters. Chapter books are an important tool in their development and intellectual abilities.

What Are Chapter Books?

For young and new readers, books tend to be very short. They are made up of just words or a few short sentences. They are primarily very picture heavy and have a simple, linear story.

Chapter books are the next stage for readers. Chapter books are stories that are long enough and complex enough to require chapters to break them up. At a young age, they are not too long; they are shorter than novels but longer than typical picture books.

Chapter books often have illustrations, too, but they are not as large or as prevalent as early reading material. In general, children are ready to progress to chapter books around the age of seven or eight.

Encouraging Active Readers

For children who love to read, they will likely dive into chapter books without much hesitation. Providing them with an assortment of stories and types of books can increase their interest and keep them learning.

Taking your child to the library and having him or her pick her own chapter books can be a great way to engage them in reading.

As your children read chapter books, resist helping too much. If your child is an independent reader, he or she will likely will want to learn on their own. But make sure they know they’re available if they have any questions.

Helping Struggling Readers

On the other hand, if your children are struggling with reading and resist transitioning to chapter books, you may have to have more of a presence. As reading becomes more difficult, children can become more resistant to it and it can become a chore.

You can help by having your children pick books they’re interested in. Actively participate reading with your child. You can take turns reading chapters to one another; that way, your children get to practice, but also get a break while you read aloud. Hearing you and listening to the story can engage them and encourage them to read on their own to get to the next part.

Popular Chapter Books

To help your child make the transition to chapter books, compelling stories can help peek his or her interest.

Popular chapter books include The Boxcar Children, Freckle Juice, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the Amelia Bedelia series.

You can also try different genres, such as adventure stories, animal-centric tales and fantasy books.

Transitioning to Chapter Books

Making the switch to chapter books is a big step in your child’s education. With your support and engagement, you can help a lifelong love of reading that can help your child throughout his or her lifetime.