I’ve been reading to my kids since they were born. Literally. I would read to them in the NICU just so they could hear the sound of my voice. I’ve always loved to read so it only made sense to instill that same love in my own children. We’ve read many of my favorite children’s books and discovered some wonderful new titles along the way. Now that they’re a little older, we’ve moved up to chapter books.
For reference, my daughter is in third grade but has a fourth-seventh grade reading level so some of the books on this list are more challenging. She’s a bona fide book worm just like her mama so she enjoys the higher level books, but we’re careful to stick to books with content appropriate for her age. My kindergartener is a beginning reader so it’s only within the last year that we’ve been reading chapter books together. Here are some of our favorite series so far.
The Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osborne
Two children stumble upon a treehouse filled with books that magically transport them to other times and places where they have amazing adventures. Each book focuses on a different historical period or geographical location, such as ancient Egypt or the Amazon River. These are great stories for reading together, but also good for a young reader gaining confidence in their independent reading. Plus there are over 50 to choose from! Although my daughter is no longer interested in this series, my son adores them.
The Doll People by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin
The Doll People was recommended to me by a Barnes & Noble employee, and my daughter and I have loved these books! Annabelle Doll is over 100 years old and is part of a set of dolls that has been passed down through several generations. What their owners don’t know is that The Dolls come to life whenever the humans aren’t around. Each book finds The Doll Family on a new adventure as they protect the secret world of dolls from their owners. You might recognize Ann M. Martin as the author of the incredibly popular Babysitter’s Club series. A little suspense and a lot of creativity make this a wonderful series.
We’ve read several of the Classic Starts novels, including Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. They’re great for readers who are interested in these beloved stories, but not quite ready to tackle the original version. I like that they introduce younger readers to classic novels that might otherwise be too challenging due to difficult language or vocabulary.
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I read the Harry Potter series when it first debuted and instantly loved these stories of magic and adventure. Last year we read the first and second books together as a family, but halfway through book three, my son decided it was too scary. Since then I’ve continued reading with my daughter and we’re now in the middle of book four. I highly recommend that kids read the books before seeing the movies because it gives them a chance to imagine the magical world on their own. The movies are much more intense than the books though. Our daughter has seen the first three films, but our son has only watched the first, and we’ll probably wait a while before our daughter sees the other films since the content does become darker and more mature.
The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I loved the Little House series as a child, and enjoyed sharing these classics with my daughter. We read the first five books and then needed a break from the adventures of the Ingalls family. Little House in the Big Woods is still my favorite and was the most fun to reread. I appreciate the glimpse into pioneer life from an educational standpoint, and it’s hard to beat books that read like fiction, but tell a true story. Occasionally the content can be a bit mature, but for the most part these books are quite tame.
What chapter books have you enjoyed with your kiddos?