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Read Alouds with Chapter Books

Updated on October 20, 2014
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A retired teacher/librarian, Yvonne loves to read and also enjoys recommending good books for both children and adults.

Read Aloud at Bedtime or Any Time

There are many excellent reasons for parents to set up a bedtime read-aloud session each night. Reading aloud will help a child settle down and relax. Also, sharing a good book with your child will result in a special bonding and enjoyment for both parent and child. When an adult shares his or her love of books and reading, the child often models this behavior and becomes a reader, too.

Often, when a child hears the flow and rhythm of well written words, the result can be educational developments like increased vocabulary and language skills. Additionally, a good fiction book can be used as a springboard for other learning activities and skills in the areas of science, social studies and the arts.

Of course bedtime isn't the only time to share a book together. Reading is good any time a little one wants to hear a story.

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5 Good Read Aloud Chapter Books

When I was a first grade teacher, I read a chapter book to the children each 9 weeks. Some were quite long, but we would read a chapter or so each afternoon right after lunch. I would do all the voices and read with expression.

I always chose a book that I had read and enjoyed and also one for which a different format was available, like a movie or film. A good comprehension skill is to have the children do a format comparison in which you chart the differences and similarities of the book and movie in a ven chart (2 intersecting circles). Write Book over the first circle and Movie over the second. The similarities go in the section where the circles intersect.

The fiction chapter books that I have chosen lend themselves well to further study on a variety of subjects. Most also have another format and also a plush or toy character.  Many younger children enjoy snuggling up with a character from the book while they listen to the story.

Ages 5-9
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson

Ages 7-10
The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett
Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone by J. K. Rowling
The Book of Three and other of the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

Charlotte's Web by Newbery medal winning author, E.B. White is one of my favorite childrens books. It heralds the accomplishments of Wilbur the runt pig as Charlotte, the intelligent spider, guides him in an effort to keep him from the farmer's table. Fern, a human girl aids in the attempt and relays the events of the barnyard to her mother and father.

This book is about team work and helping the underdog. It also gives the reader an insight into farm life and the animals there. A natural extension of the book would be a study of farm animals and spiders.

Charlotte's Web Book, Plush & Movie

Wild Rabbit

Cottontail Rabbit Freeze Defense
Cottontail Rabbit Freeze Defense | Source

Rabbit Hill Book and Plush

Newberry Medal Winning Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson

Rabbit Hill is a short chapter book with excellent line drawings. The author, Robert Lawson and his "wife" moved from the city to the country and soon after, Rabbit Hill was born.

The book is written from the point of view of the animals that live on "the hill". They tell of new folks a comin' and the hopes that these new folks will bring prosperity to the hill. The new folks bring a different way of thinking about the wild creatures in the fields and forest around the old house. The locals are puzzled and the handyman, Tim McGrath is sure that these crazy thoughts come from reading too many books. As his Grandpa says, "reading rots the mind."

Throughout the book, the theme, "There is enough for all", rings true as the couple arranges their garden and their land with the wild creatures in mind.

A natural extension of this book would be a study of habitats and/or gardening for wildlife. Other extensions would be the study of rabbits, moles, fox, deer, skunks, field mice or any of the other animals on the hill.

Secret Garden Book

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett

The classic, the Secret Garden, is a book that I could read again and again. It is set in Victorian times. Orphan, Mary Lenox comes from India to live with her uncle in a manor house in the Yorkshire moors. It is hard for her to adjust to not only the change in climate, but to the new life style of entertaining herself.

When she discovers the "secret garden" and makes friends with Dickon (friend to all winged and furred in the moor), Mary's life changes.

This book reveals a different life style and world to our modern children. There are so many possible extensions of this book. A study of Victorian life, Yorkshire (Northern England) or India could be undertaken. But, to me the most productive extension would be planting seeds and gardening.

Harry Potter Philosophers Stone Poster

In Great Britain, the title was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
In Great Britain, the title was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. | Source

Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is another story about an orphan, though a very unusual one.  Despite the magic and spell casting, the book is really about family love and a boy finding his way in life. 

Extensions of the book could be a study of herbs and plants.  Many of the ones mentioned in herbology are actual plants.  Another could be to read ancient Greek and Roman myths to find the stories of the mythological creatures in Harry's world.

The Book of Three and other of the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander

The Book of Three is the first book of the Prydain Chronicles. The final book, the High King, was a Newbery Medal Winner. The chronicles follow the life of Taran, assistant pig-keeper, as he sets out on a mission to save his beloved Prydain from the forces of evil. It is a hero quest tale of enchantment and of good and evil.

The Book of Three and the second book, the Black Cauldron, were combined by Disney Studios to create the animated movie, the Black Cauldron. The movie animation is outstanding, though the storyline would have been better if they had followed the first book more closely. This book and movie would make a very good format comparison activity.

How to Read Aloud to your Grade Schooler Video

© 2011 Yvonne L. B.

Tell us about your favorite Read Aloud Chapter Book.

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    • naturegirl7 profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 6 years ago from South Louisiana

      When I was a school librarian, one of the Montessori teachers read the Secret Garden to her pre-Kindergarten students each year. We named our school nature center garden, 'the Secret Garden'.

    • evelynsaenz profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 6 years ago from Vermont

      I love Charlotte's Web, The Secret Garden and Rabbit Hill. I read each of them to my children who also loved them. Like Jimmie, I don't care for Harry Potter. My children, on the other hand, devoured that series once they were able to read it on their own. My children are quite a few years apart in age so I was surprised at how young they were when they were willing to listen to a good chapter book. Some children as young as 2 or 3 love listening to stories such as The Secret Garden.

    • naturegirl7 profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 6 years ago from South Louisiana


      The Narnia books are beautifully written and have many hidden meanings and symbolism which can be discussed. I chose Harry Potter because, imo, the narrative flows better and is more suited to today's world. I like to "ham it up" when I read aloud and such vivid pictures come to mind in the first Harry Potter.

      The books do get darker as they go along, but the Sorcerer's stone is more up beat and only has a couple of scary parts.

    • naturegirl7 profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 6 years ago from South Louisiana


      Yes, the Velveteen Rabbit is another special book and another of my favorites.

    • JimmieWriter profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 6 years ago from Memphis, TN USA

      We prefer the Narnia books over Harry Potter. Check Newbery winners for more great titles.

    • KristenGrace profile image

      KristenGrace 6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Charlotte's Web is wonderful, and I also like The Velveteen Rabbit around Easter time.