The Book Series that Jump Started my Daughter into Chapter Book Reading
My daughter was resisting reading of all kinds at age 7. She didn't enjoy the boring level 1 and 2 books that she was required to read in first grade, and felt that any book that was under 20 pages was a "baby" book. So over summer break I tried getting her interested in easy-to-read chapter books about things she WAS interested in (like fairies). I was very disappointed when she didn't even show interest in me reading the simple chapter books I'd chosen to her.
She'd been choosing the Magic Tree House chapter books from the library on her own but, would loose interest in them even with me reading aloud. We'd read a few chapters together (and she'd read just the first page of each chapter with a LOT of resistance), and then we would end up returning each one to the library unfinished. This went on every week this summer. I was at a loss on how to get her started reading chapter books (even though I knew she really wanted to, and had the ability).
I learned that the chapter books I was buying her (and the Magic Tree House books she was choosing on her own) were too intimidating even though they had pictures throughout the pages. There were just too many words on the pages. She had the ability to read the words on the pages, but she was intimidated by all the grey blocks of text. She needed more pictures and white space on the pages to keep her interest and make her feel like she wasn't doing too much work.
She found the first "Bad Kitty" book in the library on her own (the week before school started). Before we even left the library she was reading to herself, and laughing. Then she told me, "Look mom it's a 100 page chapter book!" She felt the pride of having been able to start reading a chapter book without any adult help. I was so excited for her. That day she came straight home and finished reading "Happy Birthday Bad Kitty" in just over an hour. She laughed throughout the book, and came over several times to point out the silly jokes. We immediately went to Amazon.com and ordered the rest of the series.
The books are written a lot like comic books, but they are sized like a normal chapter book so she didn't feel like she was reading boy comic books. The "Bad Kitty" books are perfect chapter books for reluctant readers. My only complaint about the "Bad Kitty" series is there are only seven of them (eight if you count "Poor Puppy Bad Kitty") and for my daughter that meant only eight hours of great confidence building time to kick start her chapter book reading 'career'!!
I have just two things to say...
THANK YOU NICK BRUEL and "BAD KITTY" for giving my daughter the confidence she needed to graduate to chapter book reading!! Oh yeah, and Now go get back to work and write some more books!!!
Here are some of my daughter's favorite "Bad Kitty" books at home. Really, all the books are great for kids that are reluctant to start reading longer books on their own.
This series is funny, but not inappropriately so (like the "Captain Underpants" books). So for a mom, like me, that's a huge plus for this series.
My daughter's favorite book in this series was "Bad Kitty Gets a Bath." As a mom, I mostly appreciate the value of these books for reading confidence building - but yes they are brilliantly funny too.
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Have you or your children found any great chapter books for reluctant readers? I'm looking to buy some more like this that aren't intimidating and seem more like fun to read than work to get through grey paragraphs. Reading should be fun from the start!