One concern parents have is transitioning their children to chapter books. When parents ask me when their child is ready for chapter books, I tell them, “When they’re ready for chapter books.” I know that’s not so helpful, but it’s the truth! There’s no formula, and truly, each child is different. Just as they have physical growth spurts, and this happens at different times, they also experience different cognitive growth spurts.
For example, Nikki from Gracepoint San Diego church, is only 1.5 years, but she’s a really advanced reader. She’s not only reading The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee, she’s doing it while operating a vehicle. At least she waited until she was stopped at the intersection before reading, because as we all know, multi-tasking is a myth!
But Nikki isn’t the norm. Most children will naturally gravitate towards chapter books around 2nd grade, but it could be earlier or later depending. The more challenging aspect about chapter books isn’t so much the lack of pictures — in fact, many chapter books incorporate pictures — but staying with a more complex set of characters who live in a world that the author builds over time. Some will struggle more than others with this, but the important thing is to continue to foster positive associations with books, so that they are curious and drawn towards books and story in general.
Do you remember when you started reading chapter books? What were some of your favorites? Let’s take a stroll down memory lane!