Chapter Reading


Chapter reading is one of our treasured moments of the day.  We bring to life the imagination, the world, and the past.  The anticipation of ‘what happens next’ stirs excitement every day.  Children listen and think.  They ask questions.  Ask your child, “At chapter reading where do you make the pictures?”  You will hear your child say, “In your head.”

When we finish a good book and then start a new one, emotions run high and low.  The end of a good book is so satisfying and pleasant, yet…it is over.  That is the wonderful roller coaster of reading.  And, with each chapter book we read, we ride that roller coaster again and again.

We are halfway through Little House on the Prairie, and it is thrilling, from Jack the dog, to building a house, to Indians in the house.  Yesterday Pa and his neighbor Mr. Scott dug a well, and we learned about the bad gas deep inside the earth (Pa had to save Mr. Scott) that only a candle can detect.  Of course today I have to bring in my grandfather’s childhood portrait wearing a miner’s hat with the same candle. We encourage you to finish reading the book aloud to your child.  There is much more ahead, from Mr. Edwards meets Santa Claus, to fever and watermelons, and fire on the prairie.  If your child wants to continue the series, the next one, Farmer Boy is about Laura’s husband when he was a little boy.  I recommend the following one, On the Banks of Plum Creek, which begins their next journey after the prairie.

We voted on our favorite chapter books this year.  Charlotte’s Web was the winner!

These are the chapter books I have read aloud this year.  Good books are meant to be read over and over again.  I encourage you to revisit these wonderful books with your child:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle’s Journey by Hugh Lofting

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Florence and Richard Atwater

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The fundamental constant that gives children the tools to succeed in school is languageThe more words that children hear, the better they will do in school.  Reading aloud to children is far more than an enjoyable experience.  It increases their language development!  In kindergarten through grade four, the primary source of instruction is oral.  The more words that a child has heard, the better s/he will understand the instruction, and the better s/he will perform in school, in all subjects.  Therefore, we will always campaign to read aloud.

A wonderful guide to book recommendations and to understanding the importance of reading aloud is the million-copy bestseller book, The Read-Aloud Handbook.  I have used the book since my children were little.  The author, Jim Trelease, visited the Aqua Room and GCS.  We are featured in the new seventh edition of the book.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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38 Responses to Chapter Reading

  1. Lovely. I read my children all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, too. They’re an excellent choice because they’re so accessible to so many age groups. 🙂

  2. thatssojacob says:

    Hey there, Jennie! Since June is the 6th month of the year, I’m following 6 fun and interesting blogs each day, and you’re one of them! Follow me back if you like at and make six new blog friends of your own. Have a great day!

  3. Nicky M says:

    I still feel the same now when I’m nearing the end of a fabulous book!! I try to delay the ending because there’s a lovely comfort when you’re in the middle of a great book and the anticipation of what may happen next is so seductive. I love that you mix the old classics with newer ones 🙂

  4. Tanya Cliff says:

    Excellent article, Jennie! My children are all prolific readers now, but it took root years ago with all the books we read together. The payoffs for parents who invest this kind of time in their children are huge.

    • jlfatgcs says:

      Thank you, Tanya. The payoffs are indeed huge. Isn’t is wonderful to sit back and see? If all parents knew or understood, they would beat a path to the library. I will keep working on educating parents as I read aloud. -Jennie-

  5. Sue Ranscht says:

    May I also recommend anything by Roald Dahl — my son’s favorite was The BFG (coming out as a movie this summer), or Twain’s Tom Sawyer or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Barrie’s Peter Pan. There are so many…….!

  6. Good, beautiful and true says:

    Great article. My family loves all of these books. I was just introduced to a wonderful new resource called “Give Your Child The World” by Jaime C Martin. I am planning to try and “Read Around the World” with my kids this summer, although we will probably just do it on our own and not join the “club” that is mentioned in the post:)

  7. bahelberg1 says:

    I like your analysis of the highs and lows of beginning and ending the reading of a good book. That anticipation of beginnings and the thoughtfulness evoked at endings never leaves a life-long reader. Chapter beginnings and endings also bring about the emotional pauses that accompany the enjoyment of reading.

    Question: As a teacher, do you have young students who truly grasp onto the joy that is reading, and who read for the fun of it in between classes, or sessions? It seems older students are losing the joy of reading, probably more and more with the advancement of our “book” technologies.

    • jlfatgcs says:

      Well said! Your words are spot on. Yes, I do have students who read for pleasure in between. I think I know why. My classroom bookshelf is front facing, and I encourage children to get a book and ‘read’ whenever they want. This is a huge piece for pleasure reading. They quickly learn that books are much more than just a part of teacher curriculum. When children have finished something and the group is not quite ready to do the next thing, reading a book is the only thing available for them to do as they wait for their classmates. Also, I share all this information with parents (like the blog post) so they can continue to foster reading at home. Between all of these things, it works for most children. Yes, some children drift from reading as they grow older, but those early seeds have been planted, and often they return. -Jennie-

  8. A Kinder Way says:

    Before my son was even born I joined a children book club. He loved books more than any toy you could have bought him. We read and read and read anything we could get our hands on until he was too old to do this with. But over the years that time…reading time…was so special to me. I loved every moment.

  9. reocochran says:

    This will be so cool, you going to school with your candle and miner’s helmet! I think this was an excellent idea! 🙂
    I am so happy you read chapter books to those young children, Jennie! I have felt blessed to have had my Dad take part in Sunday morning comics reading and chapter books, at bedtime. During the school year, Mom had tons of homework to grade teaching H.S. Spanish 1 – 4, World Lit and basic English.
    As a single mother, I took turns letting the two girls choose books and my son, ever patient, choosing his. Each learned how to appreciate a wider variety of books. Jamie liked “Call of the Wild,” “White Fang” and “A Wrinkle in Time.” The girls liked “Little Women,” “The Borrowers,” “American Girl” books and “Black Beauty.” Oh, “Misty of Chincoteague.”
    I took a page out of my Dad’s choices and read through junior high school, sitting out in the hall between the rooms. He chose Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe and during early years, all the Pooh stories from “House at Pooh Corner” and “When We Were Six.”
    He loved the silly Ogden Nash short ditties and James Thurber stories, (“The Night the Bed Fell,” etc.)
    My Mom, in the summertime while off from school teaching, read the Hans Christian Anderson and Grimm Brothers fairy tales. We had the Arabian Nights book and I believe we learned about Tall Tales, from her.
    Teachers at school read them both the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and E.B. White books.

    • jlfatgcs says:

      Robin! What a wonderful, literacy rich childhood for you, and your your children. I had to read this twice to fully ‘be there’ and enjoy all you had to say. Thank you! And, of course all the books you listed are fabulous. -Jennie-

      • reocochran says:

        Well, to be honest we read “Mouse on a Motorcycle,” along with a couple of Babysitter Club books! Not all great literature, Jennie! 🙂
        My Dad started working at age 11, to help his mother out. He wanted all of the best and fun times for my brothers and me due to his lack of childhood.
        I hope I don’t repeat myself by saying that his father was in the Cincinnati Veterans Hospital. He suffered from grand mal seizures and PTSD, we have come to believe. A truck driver took my Dad home a few times from Covington KY across the bridge, one life changing talk was when he took him to the top of the hill where U of C was. He bluntly told him that if he wanted to have a other life he needed to get out of the slum he lived in and get in a work study program in the future, “and if you don’t get enough sleep due to working nights, your grades will not get you scholarships!” He had us put White Castle at age 11 in his obituary, as he hoped other readers may try to improve their “lot in life.” So, he not only read to us, but he worked at NASA on rocket parts as well as setting up Oak Ridge and Plum Brook nuclear reactors. He did not spoil us with money, either. Even for our new bikes or instruments he would tell us we had to take, mow lawns, shovel snow or babysit. Meanwhile, I rambled on. I think his fortitude actually set me up for disappointment in so many men who did not pull 50% household and child rearing responsibilities! Smiles, Robin
        PS. please edit or delete this long message, I apologize~ this was why we had such a diverse reading and childhood.

      • jlfatgcs says:

        Robin, this is such a wonderful story. Wow! I have read this a few times. No wonder you have such high regard and love for your father. I find myself explaining to the younger generation how parents and families were, in so many ways. I think our parents were much more practical. Common sense led the way, not what other people or the rest of the world was doing. I was born and raised in Huntington, WV, right across the Ohio River from Kentucky. Can you believe I was never read to as a child? I didn’t have the bond that you did. See, we all have something, don’t we? Happiness and gratitude is a good thing. Wish I could have met your Dad… Really.

      • reocochran says:

        I wish you had been read to, but I do believer your family had many interactive activities. I imaging a mother like mine who sewed and cooked, sharing recipes and advice as she involved your help, Jennie. Possibly your Dad involved you with yard or woodworking, also telling you stories, more real than a book! I think if you had been in my Girl Scout troop, you would have laughed at my Dad’s folk and square dancing, since he could not “allemande left” since he may have been dyslexic or plain goofy, at times. We had annual Father-Daughter dances, we which I really enjoyed. 🙂
        I like to picture you being in W VA. I was married for 13 years to a West Virginian man from Rainelle, in Greenbrier County. I have seen the beauty in your home state, Hawk’s Nest and New River Gorge. 🙂

      • jlfatgcs says:

        Wrong on all counts! Isn’t that interesting? No interactive parents, yet kind and loving parents. Each activity that I wanted to quit (and was good at) was met with a smile. 6 kids and a mom who was not a ‘play with kids’ mom. We siblings talk and laugh about this often. So, no books and no library at all. No negative memories. Actually, I find this very positive, because we can all learn and change. Your Dad is someone I wish I had met! Ranielle? I remember years of driving across WV as a child, long before the interstate was built. I used to chuckle at the sign along Route 60 that said, “East Rainelle”. East? Rainelle was so tiny. That is a memory that brings a smile to my face.

  10. Grandtrines says:

    Reblogged this on Still Another Writer's Blog.

  11. Great choices! I love all these books. Another series I enjoyed reading to my children was Thornton Burgess’s animal stories and I still have happy memories of their peaceful adventures. Only problem was an over abundance of male characters. I remember, while reading one particular story, I switched to ‘her’ and ‘she’ for one of the animals just to give it a break. 🙂

    • jlfatgcs says:

      Thank you, Marcia. I don’t know those books, so thank you for telling me. Of course we live animal stories. It seems as if I have been reading quite a few bear books lately; Finding Winnie, Those Pesky Rabbits, and Mother Bruce. I will certainly be reading Thornton Burgess. Yes, I switch gender words, too. We both know when that feels right. -Jennie-

  12. ‘My Father’s Dragon’ was a favorite…so much so that ***I*** read it out loud to my GranMa (my dad’s Ma) over several Sunday Family Dinner visits when I was maybe in 3rd grade (?)…I remember her laughing and smiling with me on her lap as I read it to her.
    Thanks for the memory jogger.

  13. I loved chapter reading with my daughter and can’t wait until my grandson is old enough. We’re not quite there yet. The thought of continuing to nurture his love of reading gives me a lot of joy 🙂 Charlotte’s Web is one of my all-time favorites.

  14. Mr. Poppers Penguins! The movie adaptation with Jim Carrey was really funny to watch! But nothing beats the original story told by the book! Great post Jennie! Infinite peace and wisdom!

  15. bethany3224 says:

    Anyone who loves the Read Aloud King Jim Trelease is a friend of mine! Do you also read Mem Fox (also a huge Trelease fan)? I just re-read her book “Reading Magic” who she dedicated to Trelease and was inspired all over again. I have a daughter who just went to Kindergarten. I watched her become a reader and it is like magic. I am about to have my second daughter in February and am truly excited about reading chapter books (Dr. Dolittle’s Journey is number 1 on my list for those late night feedings) all over again starting day 1.

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks, Bethany! Jim Trelease has always been my read-aloud hero. My greatest day was when he visited my classroom. I love Mem Fox, too. I haven’t read “Reading Magic” in ages. I need to read it again. I’m just finishing My Father’s Dragon and will be reading Dr. Dolittle next. For your kindergartener, read aloud The Wild Robot.

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