Chapter books are such a great way to bridge that gap between books that are mainly illustrations, to books that are mainly text.
And the benefits don’t stop there.
The pictures help to keep the kids interested in the book, while the traditionally short chapters (hence the term Chapter Books) are great for getting kids engaged in reading, even if they have short attention spans.
They can read a chapter, reflect on it, and maybe answer a few questions on it, or simply do something else for a while before returning to it.
But sometimes even books with pictures can be a drag for some kids, and that’s why I decided to really look into it, and pick out the best ones so that you don’t have to.
In this article, we’ll begin by taking a look into exactly what is meant by “Chapter Books” before giving you a guide on what to look for in a chapter book.
Then we’ll be following that up with a round-up of some of the best chapter books out there that (hopefully) will help instill a love of reading that will propel them for the rest of their school career and beyond.
And without further ado, let’s get straight to it!
What Exactly Are Chapter Books Anyway?
A chapter book is basically a book that, despite having plenty of pictures, tells the story predominantly through text. And this makes them different from traditional picture books.
They are referred to as chapter books because the stories are typically divided into short chapters, which helps the children to digest a story bit by bit, rather than in one long sitting.
And this is particularly beneficial when a story is told in words, because it gives the kids a chance for the meaning of the words to sink in.
Chapter Books For Kindergarten-Aged Students
Chapter books are traditionally intended for intermediate ability readers between the ages of 7 and 10. However, I also like using them for read-aloud activities with advanced kindergarten-aged students…
There are pictures there to attract attention, and it’s a gateway to get such children to appreciate the written word as a medium of storytelling (because, believe me, it’s not going to go out of fashion anytime soon).
Besides, there are many kindergarten-aged students who just love a challenge!
What To Look For In A Chapter Book
Kindergarten-aged students are typically accustomed to short picture-style books for reading aloud or reading at home with family.
But sometimes it pays to step things up a gear, and introduce a greater challenge. And that’s where chapter books come in.
If you ask me, this should be the top consideration when choosing a book for kids.
Yes, kids sometimes do have favorite books that they like to read or like to have read to them, but what’s often the most engaging is novelty, things that don’t always happen in everyday life, such as magic, magical artifacts, strange mythical creatures, and time travel.
An element of mystery and/or discovery is also going to get them wanting to keep turning pages.
Pictures are still very important at this stage. Especially the cover. Ideally, this will get the anticipation going and them excited about the story before they even begin.
And of course it helps the kids to connect what the pictures show with the content of the story itself, which better aids understanding and comprehension.
Easy To Follow Storylines
If you intend to complete the book, even if you only go through it one chapter at a time, the story should flow well, and with each chapter following on from the one before.
If you do decide to have them read the book in sections, then you can always start each session by asking them what they remember from the last chapter, and prompting them when they don’t recall right away.
My Round Up Of The Absolute Best Chapter Books Out There For Advanced Kindergarten-Aged Students
So, as promised, here are my top suggestions for chapter books for kindergarten-aged students, including links to purchase.
They are chosen according to the criteria listed above, and they are ordered according to my personal preference, favorite first. Here goes!
OUR TOP PICK
Kids just love this set of books - there are very captivating themes that are sure to ignite a great love of reading. There’s magic, mystery, time travel and more.
It features two relatable regular kids, a boy and a girl, who come upon a magical place where they are whisked back in time…
In the first book, Dinosaurs Before Dark, they get taken back to the age of the dinosaurs. In the second book, The Knight At Dawn, they find themselves in a medieval castle.
In the third book, Mummies In The Morning, they find themselves near ancient pyramids. In the fourth book, Pirates Past Noon, they found themselves with feisty treasure seeking pirates.
And that’s not all - there are also several more box sets after this one, totaling 28 individual books altogether.
And there’s also a fact tracker series of books to accompany the main stories, so the kids can learn the truth behind the periods of time that the characters are exploring.
What’s more, those kids who aren’t quite ready for books where the story is predominantly told via text, can instead enjoy the wonderful graphic novels which depict the exact same stories, so that they don’t feel that they are missing out, which is perfect for a mixed ability class.
Now, this is much more engaging for kids than a typical chapter book, because they have to do a lot more than merely read, comprehend and answer questions on the story.
They have to solve a puzzle, which they can do by finding and interpreting the visual clues provided that are carefully concealed within a stunning full color illustration.
The books include Legend of the Star Runner, which is about a legendary pirate ship, Legacy of the Inventor, which is about a race against time to save an inventor’s legacy before a powerful enemy gets there first, and Secrets of the Last Pirate, which involves the characters following a mysterious trail to discover an ancient secret, that is if their adversary can’t stop them.
Each adventure is divided into 31 short chapters, which is perfect for kids with short attention spans who want to be up and about being active.
And if you find that the kids enjoy these 3 books, they may also like the other 3 books by the same authors, featuring the same characters.
They are: A Family Secret, The Missing Necklace, and The Shadow And The Golden Room.
This is a series of books that ticks all the boxes.
There are fun illustrations on every page, there’s high interest content with easy to read text, and fast-paced plots that are going to get the kids wanting to keep turning the pages.
Which is perfect for fighting reading fatigue and instead developing a child’s reading stamina.
The book begins when character Alexander discovers a top secret Notebook of Doom with information about all kinds of monsters that Alexander finds himself up against.
And crucially, they are also very funny books as well, which is their real magic, making reading the books super fun.
Plus, there are a staggering 13 books in the series, so the fun just keeps on coming!
What I love about this series of books is how they trash the old-fashioned stereotypes, and instead instill the interpretation of a female character as dynamic, powerful, and a force to be reckoned with, as opposed to one of a victim that needs to be saved.
She may act the dainty princess as and when required, but whenever she can, she sneaks away to ditch the dress, pull on the black, and transform into her alter ego, and defeat all kinds of foes.
What’s more, it’s not just a standalone, but a series of 10 great books, all of them action packed, and brimming with humor.
This series of books has everything - magical animals, science, mystery, and adventure. It’s a multi award-winning Teachers’ pick, and has been met with excellent ratings and reviews.
I see it as an excellent way to introduce kids to science subjects in a way that’s not at all daunting or intimidating, but engaging and fun. And it encourages child-led inquiry science.
Each book in the series features a new magical animal with a problem that must be solved using science. And there’s no set formula.
Character Zoey sometimes needs to run experiments, while other times she needs to investigate a mystery, and yet other times she needs to do research.
There are 9 books in the series and the illustrations are super cute.
As you may have noticed, all of the suggestions given above are either a whole series or the first book in a series. Because why should the fun have to end too soon?
If you don’t wish to buy a whole series of chapter books for the students in one go, you can simply purchase the first one, and see how much they like it or how well they take to it.
Picking a good chapter book for kindergarten-aged students isn’t rocket science (well, unless it’s a book about rockets or science, that is). But I trust you’ll find these suggestions helpful.
The key thing to remember is to keep it fun. If you show that you are thoroughly engaged with the story, then they are more likely to follow suit.
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