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15 Read-Aloud Chapter Books That Kids & Grownups Love

by Sarah Powers on July 11, 2014

by Sarah Powers

In our house, bedtime stories come in the form of a chapter book read aloud to the older two kids, ages 6 and 4. Last year we went on a big Magic Tree House series kick, which made choosing the next book easy since there are approximately 4837 in the series. We were nowhere near the end before needing a break and looking for something different.

Next came Roald Dahl, a huge hit. But as we neared the end of the last book in our boxed set of Dahl stories, we were at a loss for what to read next. We need stories that will keep the interest of the four-year-old (who doesn’t mind the lack of pictures or lots of dialogue but does prefer a story with lots of adventure) and satisfy the six-year-old’s sense of humor and love of all things silly. And of course, it really helps if mom or dad can enjoy the books too (a huge perk of moving beyond the board book phase, in my opinion).

So I asked you guys (or those of you who hang out on Facebook at least):

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And as usual, you came through. The thread developed into a hugely helpful list of read-aloud chapter books that both kids AND grownups love. Since what happens on Facebook tends to get buried in other stuff that happens on Facebook, I thought I’ll pull from your comments on that thread and share a list of the titles that came up most often.

You can read all the suggestions on our Facebook page here (be sure to “Like” us while you’re there if you don’t already!), or keep reading for a list of the 15 most popular suggestions. We’re into The Indian in the Cupboard these days, and we’re also listening to the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories on audio book in the car – both of which I’d read as a kid but forgotten about until hearing from you all. 

15 Read-Aloud Chapter Books.jpg

15 Read-Aloud Chapter Books That Kids & Grownups Love

Ramona Quimby Series (Beverly Cleary)

Little House Series (Laura Ingalls Wilder)

The Indian in the Cupboard (Lynne Reid Banks)

Chronicles of Narnia (C. S. Lewis)

Junie B. Jones: First Grader (Barbara Park)

Because of Winn Dixie (Kate DiCamillo)

Mary Poppins (Dr. P. L. Travers)

The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster)

Magic Tree House (Mary Pope Osborne)

The BFG (Roald Dahl)

Stuart Little (E. B. White)

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (Betty MacDonald)

Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren)

Judy Blume’s Fudge Box Set (Judy Blume)

Harriet The Spy (Louise Fitzhugh) 

What are you and your kids reading these days? What would you add to this list?

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin July 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm

My kids love the Puppy Place series by Ellen Miles. We are dog lovers, and there are only about 1,532 of them! ;) I also wanted to mention Anne of Green Gables. My youngest was 7 when we read it, and there is a bit of a sad part near the end, but it is beautifully written and very fun!

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Sarah Powers July 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Oh yes, the Anne books for sure! I don’t think my kids are quite ready for them yet, but soon. So great.

And I haven’t heard of Puppy Place! Thanks for the rec!

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Neuro July 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm

I’d add Harry Potter series, and the Percy Jackson series.
The Golden Compass books are also great for kids a bit older

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Sarah Powers July 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Neuro, we can’t wait to start the HP series, but we’re waiting until the younger one is a little bit older. He still scares easily so we’re being a bit cautious.

Thanks for the other suggestions as well!

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rebecca July 13, 2014 at 7:28 am

When did you start reading these types of chapter books with your older one? My 4yo still likes some picture books, but when we are in the library hunting for something new, most of the ones that aren’t her already established favorites feel too young for her and she loses interest quickly. Plus I was a huge reader as a kid and am itching to start reading these books with her. What are good starter chapter books? I’ve heard a lot of good things about Magic Treehouse.

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Sarah Powers July 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I think 4 is a great age to start trying out chapter books! In my experience, you don’t always get through a whole chapter book with kids that age, but if you go with the flow you can skip around, paraphrase, look at the pictures every few pages, and read as much as they’re interested in. If they’re not ready, you’ll know and you can always go back later.

I think I was so excited to do chapter books with my first that we did Charlotte’s Web even before she was four! But I’m sure she didn’t get as much out of it at that age. The first ones I remember her really getting into were the Ramona books (Beezus and Ramona takes place when Ramona herself is four and in nursery school so it’s great for that age), and the Mouse and the Motercycle series.

We started Magic Tree House with both kids when they were just-turned-5 and just-turned-3. The younger one LOVES adventure so he was totally into it. I think MTH might appeal to slightly older school-aged kids for the most part, but there are definitely chapter books worth trying with a 4yo for sure!

I hope that helps! Happy reading!

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Dayna July 13, 2014 at 8:55 am

We like reading the Brian books by Gary Paulsen. The first one is called The Hatchet. I love this list. I will be referring back to it.

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Sarah Powers July 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I totally remember that from when I was young! Great suggestion!

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Meagan Francis July 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Great list :) We are finishing up Stuart Little right now!

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Sarah Powers July 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Do you feel like Stuart Little ends kinda weird? Doesn’t he just keep sailing up the river and never return to his family? I’m fuzzy on the details but I remember being surprised by the ending. I love the first few chapters, though. :)

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Tragic Sandwich July 13, 2014 at 8:22 pm

We were a few years older–but I can’t have been more than 9, putting my brother at no older than 7–when my dad started reading aloud to us on camping trips. He started with Treasure Island, followed in short order by The Odyssey.

You may want to put a pin in those, since your kids are a little young for those, but they may come in handy in a year or two.

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Sarah Powers July 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm

We have a fantastic kids’ version of the Odyssey by Mary Pope Osborne (of Magic Tree House fame) that my kids LOVED. I actually heard about it here on the blog in a book review! Treasure Island would probably be great in a little while, too – thank you!

(and here’s that Odyssey review for anyone else who’s interested: http://www.thehappiesthome.com/guest-post-tales-from-the-odyssey/)

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Gianna Kordatzky July 14, 2014 at 10:45 am

Our youngest son is named Omri of The Indian In The Cupboard. My husband and I absolutely loved reading The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (can’t remember who it is by) to our girls. I also love The Frog Princess Series by ED Baker.

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Sarah Powers July 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Thanks, Gianna! How fun that you have an Omri – love it! I have not heard of those other two and will definitely check them out.

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Alicia August 7, 2014 at 9:45 pm

My girls are 5 and 7, we enjoy the Magic School Bus chapter books, the Never Girls series, Charlotte ‘ s Web and the Trumpet of the Swan.

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