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Reading chapter books to children - what age to start?

(15 Posts)
Bozza Thu 14-Apr-05 09:16:57

My DS is 4, he cannot read but loves being read to and I think will be enthusiastic to learn to read once he gets to school. He will often ask for books during the day and, of course, always has his bedtime story. We have got a hardback complete set of the original Thomas stories (I think there are 50+ altogether) and have recently started reading through these one a night and putting the bookmark back in. DS loves this and feels really grown up with his big book and book mark.

So I was wondering at what age people have started with longer books with chapters. I have a set of Roald Dahl books (Charlie and the Choc Factory, James and the Giant Peach etc) - and this was the sort of thing I was thinking of.

sahara Thu 14-Apr-05 09:30:21

I think it's great that you have a son who is interested in books to that extent.
I would read him all types of books.
I read the Lord of the Rings when I was 7 and before that I was quite into books like Arabian Nights, etc.
Read whatever you think will capture his imagination story wise. Do chapter or two at a time and if their are no pictures (which would be abit boring at his age) try to add more passion and a variety of voices into your reading.
My Ds1 never sat still or paid attention during story time. But my ds2 will let me know through gasps of wonder how interested he is. "wow" he always say's at good parts.
Reading is good and if it gets too basic for a child with the potential then it's possible that they could lose interest all together.
Go ahead and read the roald dahl books.
The BFG was a favourite of mine as a child.

roisin Thu 14-Apr-05 09:39:44

I started reading chapter books to them before they were 4. They do have to be able to concentrate and listen, and not rely on pictures: but it sounds like your ds is well able to do this.

At first books which are not too long are great. My top recommendations would be:
Dahl: Fantastic Mr Fox
Dick King-Smith: Sophie's Snail
[Can't remember offhand]: Milly Molly Mandy (various books)
Enid Blyton: The Faraway Tree Stories

The Roald Dahl books are great, but can be 'a bit too exciting' for some young children. BFG is a bit scary in places (the bone-crunching giant etc.), as are many of the others, for sensitive children. Oh, and in particular 'The Witches' and 'Matilda' are definitely for older children.

hana Thu 14-Apr-05 10:10:32

we read chapter books to dd who is 3.5
she loved Fantastic Mr Fox

Gomez Thu 14-Apr-05 10:14:24

DD1 will be 5 in May and we have been reading 'chapter' books for about a year now. Have gone through a plethora of Enid Blyton (The Naughtiest Girls being a firm favourite) and Roald Dahl. Currently trawling through all the bloody Harry Potter books which she ADORES - much to my surprise!

bundle Thu 14-Apr-05 10:15:30

dd1 is 5 in june and we are currently reading Flat Stanley, she loves it

Bozza Thu 14-Apr-05 10:17:29

Thanks everyone. Think DS would like this. Once we have got through the Thomas stories (I think there are 56 so only 53 to go) I will get out the Dahl. I think Fantastic Mr Fox will be in the set. And I'm sure my Mum still has the Magic Faraway Tree ones from when we were kids. Will save them for bedtime and continue to read his other books when he requests them.

binkie Thu 14-Apr-05 10:27:38

Funny how Fantastic Mr. Fox is such a common first one! - ours too, a couple of years ago when dd not quite 3, ds 4 and a bit. Other Roald Dahls have worked well too.

The current unexpectedly stunning success is Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House in Big Woods etc.) - chapters are not so short, but lots of wonderfully well-told inset anecdotes "Grandpa and the Panther" "Pa and the Bear" - which I enjoy reading as much as they enjoy hearing (and then they act out with huge glee - key marker for a good story, I think).

Hausfrau Thu 14-Apr-05 10:39:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bozza Thu 14-Apr-05 10:46:30

Hausfrau I thought it would be nice for DS after DD has gone to bed (she's 11 months) and then when DD is around there is plenty of time for all the picture books.

Gomez Thu 14-Apr-05 10:49:25

hausfrau - you never know as DD1 has gone back to her picture books and is now using them to practise reading herself IYSWIM and is having great fun doing so. Not sure DD2 enjoys it so much as she must sit and listen to Big Sister 'reading' her a story.

Gomez Thu 14-Apr-05 10:50:12

Snap Bozza (DD2 is 10 months)

roisin Thu 14-Apr-05 10:58:55

Hausfrau - I can't remember how old your ds is (4 or 5 I think?), but just wanted to reassure you that my ds1 (almost 8 and a phenomenally good reader) still enjoys looking at his 'old favourite' picture books from time to time!

DS2 is nearly 6, and he reads lots of non-fiction and novels, some to me, some to himself, and I read to him too. But he also reads at least a dozen picture books every week as well.

So fret not!

Anyway, how's the blossom in Stuttgart? Is it stunning? Or has it finished now?

singersgirl Thu 14-Apr-05 19:01:45

I definitely started with DS1 (now 6.5) about 4 - Roald Dahl and some other easier stuff - he liked the American Magic Treehouse series for a while - some pictures and exciting historical adventures (well, exciting if you're 4, rather formulaic if you're 37). Since then we have read some Narnia and some Harry Potter, though DS1 is now reading this on his own. But he still loves his picture books and we're now in a situation where the books I read to him are easier than the ones he reads to himself!
Realised DS2 (now 3.5) might be ready for chapters at breakfast the other day when I was reading them the freebie Jacqueline Wilson, "The Werepuppy", that came with the Shreddies. DS2, who had been listening intently, asked "What does 'tentatively'?" mean.

Hausfrau Fri 15-Apr-05 13:48:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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