Reading aloud chapter books prepares preschoolers to kindergarten

Here’s what my 5 year old and I are reading lately.

The key is finding the right chapter books for your child. Around 5 year old, chapter books capture their attention with the right combination of illustrations, engaging storytelling and easy to comprehend text. Personally, I aim for books with some level of educational values.

To give you an idea of the type of stories that makes a good introduction to chapter books, I use Harper Paris’ Greetings from Somewhere series as an example. It’s a travel/mystery/adventure series that I read aloud to my son. We follow the adventures of Ethan and Ella, eight year old twins, as they travel around the world with their parents. They travel with their mom and dad because their mom is a travel writer who works for their local newspapers.

The books teach preschoolers important skills that they will need when they start kindergarten. Skills like:

Focus their attention

In preparation for school, it’s important that your kid learns how to concentrate on a task for a longer time. Chapter books can teach them that.

What I learned is that how critical drawings put the stories into context. So much that I only buy chapter books with a drawing on every page. Kids age 5 won’t mind that there is a long text as long as they see an image.

Acknowledge their feelings

In the course of their travel, the twins miss their home. Ethan misses playing soccer with his team. The brother and sister miss their best friends and their grandpa. At least they are able to communicate by emails. Kids can refine their social skills from these email communications. On the book that we’re currently reading, the twins tell their mom that they miss her. As you might have guessed, their mom works most days and nights to produce her articles. Kids learn from these everyday situations and concerns.

Although the books don’t go deep into these social situations and emotions, the text does a great job in validating these feelings. Kids know that they aren’t alone when they feel like that. The fact that the book don’t go too deep into managing these feelings give you a chance to discuss the ones that are appropriate to you or your child with them.

Solve mysteries

All the 10 books of Greetings from Somewhere rely on basic investigating techniques to uncover the mysteries. It uses techniques and tactics that kids could use in their life. Because it’s relatively simple to figure out the solution, it encourages kids to solve the mysteries. They get the reward of trying out. What you want at this age is to fuel the desire to discover it by themselves. Finally, most mysteries allow you to test if your kid is listening, if your kid comprehends what you read aloud.

Reading comprehension

What you aim for when introducing chapter books are stories that are longer and more complex than the pictures books but that are still easy to comprehend. You also want stories with actions. Long descriptions and too much explications bore kids.

You also need repetitions. The text must make reference to key elements, key details as the story develops. Harper Paris does it right every time she mentioned the purple notebook or the gold coin that Grandpa Harry gave to the twins. Repetitions serve two purposes. First, it means that you can read the series in any order. Second, it put things into context for the kids.

Five years old is not too young to start reading aloud chapter books to children. Give it a try to see how your child responds to it.

Do you or your kids have a favorite early chapter book series?

This article appeared first on At Home with Kim Vallee.

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