As your child transitions from a beginning reader who needs to sound out each word to a more advanced reader who is starting to decode faster and follow longer, more complicated stories, kids’ chapter books become the reading material of choice. But these books come in many different styles with various kinds of content — and it can get overwhelming knowing which ones are just right for your young reader. Use these four tips to match your child with the perfect book!
1. What to Expect From Kids' Chapter Books
Early readers focus on very short books that are light on text and heavy on pictures and illustrations. As they become more confident, children can transition to kids’ chapter books — stories that are long enough to be divided into chapters, but not as extensive or complicated as a novel. Chapter books still feature illustrations, but fewer than early readers’ picture books. Generally speaking, children become ready to transition to kids’ chapter books at around age 7 or 8.
2. Captivate Newly Independent Readers
Some children are naturally enthusiastic about diving into chapter books — especially if they took an active role in the read-alouds you shared, holding the book, flipping the pages, and memorizing parts of the story. These readers need very little encouragement or supervision, and you can usually just point them toward the books! For fans of action and mystery, we recommend books by Gordon Korman; for kids who prefer more familiar settings, like classrooms, try Sara Pennypacker's Clementine series. And for the kid who just loves to laugh? You can't go wrong with the wildly popular Captain Underpants.