Chapter books are important for readers of all levels, but it's important to make sure they are used in the right way. Use these strategies to gauge which books are right for your first grader.
I remember the year Harry Potter books first hit the stands. I watched students lug around these huge novels, sounding out words correctly but not really understanding the true meaning behind them.
Chapter books are important for readers of all levels, but it's important to make sure they are used in the right way. Follow the Goldilocks rule (pick the book that is "just right") or the five-finger test to tell if a book is a good fit for your child's reading level (if 5 or more words on a page are too difficult to read, choose another book). Teach your child to use these strategies to gauge which book is most comfortable for them.
Developing Readers: Chapter books read aloud by an adult help build listening comprehension and vocabulary skills in developing readers. Children learn to read when they hear wonderful readers. It's important to use expression to keep your little one engaged. Use your voice to paint a picture in their mind.
Developed Readers: My own first grader devours Magic Tree House books, but I found when I asked what happened a few chapters ago, he was unable to recall important details. After your child has read a chapter, stop and ask questions. See if your reader has made any connections to characters or situations in the story. Find new words and read them together. This should be a time of sharing together to help your reader expand their understanding and comprehension skills.
I recommend these chapter books series for young readers:
Magic Tree House
Junie B. Jones 1st Grader
Adventures of the Baily School Kids
Frog and Toad
Teachers Pick: I adore the Choose Your Own Adventure series because readers can change the story each time. Each choice leads the character and the reader down a different path—what a great lesson about life!
Macmillan publishes a list out of chapter books for first graders. Visit your public library and watch your child's reading comprehension soar.