I love taking my kids to the bookstore or library. There are so many shiny new choices out there for kids to get excited about! But just as exciting as Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Captain Underpants are the books that made me fall in love with reading. Take the time to share some of your classic favorites with your kids and help them see what made you fall in love with reading.
Classic Chapter Books to Read with Your Kids
Stuart Little When I first introduced my kids to the adventures of this cute little mouse, they doubted me: Really, Mom? A chapter book about a mouse? It was the relationship (or relationship, as one of the boys, called it during a part of the story) of Snowbell the cat and Stuart that delighted my kids most of all.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Our kindergarten teacher reads this to the class every year, so while I didn’t have the opportunity to read about Charlie’s (and friends’) adventures with the crazy Willy Wonka with my children, both boys raced home every day from school to tell me the latest in mishaps and plans of Mr. Wonka. Over two years later, my kids still make connections to the characters in their daily lives. Just last week, while at the pool, observing a little girl who seemed spoiled and bratty, one of my boys whispered to the other, “We’ll just call her Veruca Salt.” (In reference to the spoiled girl in the story.)
Little House on the Prairie I wrote my 11th-grade thesis on this book and the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I still take joy in reading this story of a family’s love. I’m currently reading Little House with my daughter and notice the boys sitting in the hallway, acting as if they aren’t listening while straining to hear about the travels of the family to the West. This adventure of the little tomboy and her family is as much for girls as it is for boys, and I’m so very happy to invite the boys to cuddle up and listen, too.
Little House in the Big Woods, the first in the series, was the first chapter book I read on my own. The night I finished, I had been secretly reading by the light of the hallway, and remember getting myself into trouble when I ran into my parent’s room and announced my victory; I finished my first chapter book!! This is why I’m so excited to announce that I am a part of the launch of the new Little House on the Prairie website, where I created two whole-language units for classrooms and homeschoolers that are on their website. (Click for a giveaway!)
Charlotte’s Web Two years ago, on one of our eight-hour road trips, I read this story to the kids. My throat was parched and scratchy, but they begged me to read on. What would happen to Wilbur, they wanted to know? My husband often mentioned that this was the first book he remembered reading, so we all delighted in the story… knowing that it was something everyone loved.
Ramona and Her Father Remember Ramona? When I was younger, I accidentally read Ramona Quimby, Age 8 first (which is a completely doable error… these books don’t have to be read in order.) Ramona’s story begins with Ramona and Her Father, where her father loses his job, and Ramona tries to make everything right for her family. Of course, we all know that Ramona’s ideas don’t always turn out as planned… and the kids love discussing Ramona’s realistic attempts to help her family. The message of family love and survival, as well as how well kids identify with this 2nd grader’s ideas and life, make this a lovable family book (and the start of several sequels to want to read.)