Don’t underestimate your children. Even your toddlers and preschoolers might be ready for you to read chapter books. These are my very favorite books for reading to my preschoolers.
Kids are never too young for stories. Since the time my children came home from the hospital we have spent a portion of each day reading together. Now, even as preschoolers, we are embarking on chapter books.
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Not only is reading a great way to wind down before nap or bedtime and a great way to spend time snuggling, it is also a great way for kids to build their learning, reading and cultural skills.
Books are gateways to education about the world and difficult issues. From rhyming to inclusion, books have been a bridge from our children to new and interesting topics.
About the time that my children turned 3, we started noticing that our little board books and children’s books were too simple for them. Even our family’s beloved favorites like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel or Sneetches were too simple and familiar. So we started introducing chapter books.
I really believed that my children were too young for chapter books, but we tried it anyway. Now, we spend time each night reading literature that I didn’t read until I was a pre-teen or teenager. And, my children love it.
The BEST 10+ favorite chapter books to read with preschoolers:
The Chronicles of Narnia series:
If you think C.S. Lewis is too difficult for your preschooler, then let me prove you wrong with this series. If you don’t want to undertake the entire series, maybe start with The Lion the Witch, and the Wardrobe and go from there!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
My kids love hearing stories about other young children. Plus, this is a great story to introduce to preschoolers because Roald Dahl makes his chapters short and sweet. Now my children can use phrases like “Golden Ticket” in their everyday speech.
James and the Giant Peach:
(Or a variety of other Roald Dahl classics!) If your child loves Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, move on to James and the Giant Peach. You can even have a movie watching party after you complete each one! My kids loved the comedy of the insects and spent weeks pretending to talk to bugs!
(Or, order a Roald Dahl set here. This will include other great classics like Matilda!)
Anne of Green Gables:
Want to transport your children into a simpler and more wholesome time? Read Anne of Green Gables (or the entire series) with them. The kids will love the sweet relationship between Anne and Gilbert!
Little House on the Prairie series:
One of my mother’s very favorites! The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder still fascinates young listeners.
Mouse and the Motorcycle:
Do your kids love stories of animals doing crazy things? Take it to the next level with the Mouse and the Motorcycle series.
Junie B. Jones:
More likely than not your children will be exposed to Junie B. Jones in their schools. My son loves making up stories about what Junie B. might be doing or what Junie B. might say in a situation. These simple stories are loved by young children and can help them start identifying simple read-along words!
Some book! Although your children may never let you kill another spider or eat any bacon, they will love this cherished classic.
I was skeptical at first. I really believed this story to be far too complicated and scary for my children. However, they loved it. Dragons, magic, courage, and teamwork had my children riveted as we traveled through mysterious worlds battling unknown forces. To be fair, you will want to exercise discretion if your children are easily frightened by peril. But, we now own the entire Lord of the Rings boxed set so that we can read the next books with the kids when they are a little older!
The Secret Garden:
One of my childhood favorites, this sweet tale is full of wonder and beauty that your children are sure to love! Granted, this book might appeal more to girls than boys, but if my daughter loved the Hobbit, then your son might also enjoy the The Secret Garden.
I hope that I have inspired you to start reading these great chapter books with your preschoolers! Your children might be more ready for the challenge than you think they are!
This list was made with the help of my children and some of my mom friends. I have not been able to read through all of these YET with my own children. Let me know if you have other additions to this list!
If you are looking for another solution to improve your family time, check out this fun way to save dinner conversation.
My oldest has loved The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson!