Pick Chapter Books Like a Boss! 7 Tips for Choosing a Chapter Book To Read Aloud
Updated: Aug 27
How do you pick a read aloud???
Every Year I come up with a go to list of books I think my children would enjoy hearing in the coming six months to a year. No matter what my motivation, I select a few, because I know how to pick chapter books like a boss.
This does not mean my selections are set in stone. Who knows, maybe plans or interests will change. But I make my pile of books and I record them in my planner (Check out the planner I use here).
1. Should Your book list be set in stone?
You're reading Tom Sawyer to your children and you love how they have gotten so into Mark Twain’s characters. So excited you plan on jumping straight into Huckleberry Finn. But as you start it, you notice your kids are not actively listening to the story. What’s going on? What happened? Where did you go wrong?
You look up from the book to see the boys tiptoeing around with magnifying glasses and pretending to be detectives. Don't take this as an insult but a blessing and say hello to Sherlock Holmes.
2. Read More Than One Book
Now don't get me wrong, if there is a topic or subject matter that you really want the kids to get a healthy dose of (such as family work), then that is fine. But doesn't mean it has to be the only book. You can have more than one book going at a time. That's right, more than one book. So do one chapter of Emma and Company and then Sherlock Holmes. The kids will listen to Emma and Company because they are wanting to get to Sherlock shortly after ;) .
I also have my children chose books they would like read to them. For my oldest, he picked a huge list of books that he plans on reading himself. These are also great books to pull from for one-on-one reading time or Read aloud. Sometimes we will have up to four or even 5 books going at once.
3. Do You Want To Strengthen Your Family??
-Are there any Core issues that need to be addressed at this moment.
-Is there a lot of fighting?
-Are children not willing to help with family work?
-Has there been a family trial?
-Are family members having trouble being self-absorbed or caring to much about what other people think?
These are all great motivators to help guide a book selection. Little Britches is a great book on responsibility. Emma Is a wonderful book about thinking about one's self before others. Emma and Company is about a family dealing with the trial of losing a father/husband. Spiderwick is great for seeing siblings come together and working to fix a problem. Books can heal and open up opportunities for people to talk about lives problems through the eyes of a character.
There Are So Many Great Classics! Find a huge lists of classics on here.
4. Are You Traveling This Year?
-Are you taking any special trips or going on any new field trips this year?
-What historical events line up with them?
-What States or Countries will you be visiting?
-What new cultures will you come across?
-What historical sites and people will be encountered?
Pick books that support your travel coming up. If you are visiting an amish community, try and find books about that. If you are going to Sea World in a few month then pick books focused on sea animals, and sea creatures, star navigation and more. When you study about a destination you are going to visit your children have a knowledge base to build on. They go in knowing information and will catch key words and they can be prepared to ask great questions. And then they can build upon teh knowledge thy already know.
5. Books On The Big Screen
-Are there any new movies coming out this year?
-Are there any movies that you feel would be inspiring?
My children (and I) can be very motivated to read a book if there is a movie to see at the end. We have a rule that if there is a book and a movie, we have to read the book first. No Book, No Movie! For instance,one year we read The Little Prince because Netflix was making it into a movie. It was wonderful.
Not to mention, there are slews and slews of children’s books that have been made into movies so you wont run out of options for a long time.
Check out this list of 41 Best Kids Classic Books Made into Movies.
Yes, often movies are different from the book. We use this as an opportunity to look for things that are the same and different and compare and contrast them with the book. It is also shows the children how watching. Movie is not the same as reading the book. .
Check out this post to see how we compare and contrast movies and books.
6. Holiday Books
Are there any holidays or seasons you would like to feature this year?
I love to read LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS in December. It demonstrates how simple life, and Christmas, can be. It helps remind us that we have lots to be thankful for and that getting tons of stuff for Christmas isn't what Christmas is all about.
One year in March we started talking about fairies and Ireland, which lead to the book of Kells and the Viking invaders. We were even able to end our Ireland craziness with a new museum exhibit on the Vikings. This sparked an interest in a viking board game which he made on his own as a replica of one he saw at the museum.
7. Pay Attention To What Your Kids Like
-What are your kids interested in right now?
If you can tap into their current interests you will have them hooked. They will learn more and be more willing to dig deeper into subjects.
1.If your kids are into the ocean, you're not going to pick an epic western to catch their attention. You need to reach for 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.
2.If your kids are into birds you don’t want to pick THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER. THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN would be a great book to capture your child’s imagination.
Let your child’s interests be the leading force behind your choices and you will see what it is like to read to children who want to be read to.
I hope this helps you choose your chapter books like a boss. Your children enjoying books is far more important than following a regimented books schedule. Branch out and find your own trail. Find alternatives that fit your child’s interest and a whole new world of learning will open up to you.