6 Tips for Reading Chapter Books to (Very) Young Kids

All Ages

Reading chapter books to the kids is just beginning in our house. I’ve quickly learned a few tips to make it work with both Henry and George though. Since George is not quite 3, and doesn’t quite have the ability to listen attentively yet, I found a great solution that works for him.

Along the way, I’ve found a couple other tips that have helped us proceed along and understand the story while enjoying some snuggle time together at bedtime.

6 Tips for Reading Chapter Books to (very) Young Kids

Tips for reading chapter books to (very) young kids:

  • Split it up. Read a chapter at a time. Seems obvious enough. Soon the kids will be begging for 2 chapters, or even 3! You’ll know the limit.
  • Stop and recap what happened the last time you read before starting, and even pause to understand events during the chapter.
  • Talk about the chapter when you’ve finished. Ask questions about what they might expect next!
  • Take it a step further and set out objects or toys that are part of the story for pretend play afterwards, a great tip I received from Jill of A Mom with a Lesson Plan.
  • Listen to it on audio. I’m a terrible read-alouder (is that a thing?), I stumble on words all the time, even in short picture books. So a chapter book is tough for me to spit out and make it comprehensible. An audio book helps a lot! Especially with the ability to stop and replay if needed.
  • Bring animations into the mix if at all possible like we did with Alicewinks, the new digital, 21st century version of Alice in Wonderland!

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is a recommended chapter book to start with for 3-8 year olds on Sarah Jane, a great list to browse for beginning chapter book readers! Alice in Wonderland is great for a read-aloud, or in our case, using lots of animated video to help tell the story!

Alice in Wonderland is a classic chapter book from all of our childhoods, right? Except… I actually don’t remember the actual book! Maybe I never read the book and just recall the movie. The only part I remember from my own childhood is Alice shrinking and falling down a hole of some sort… then, of course, the White Rabbit, running past chanting, “I can’t be late! I’m late, I’m late”!


I was pretty excited to get my hands on a new version of Alice in Wonderland called Alicewinks. It’s an iBook, which is also new to me. I love that its on the iPad, because we can take it with us and have it continue on through the book whenever we have a few moments to spare.

We mostly have been reading it at bedtime though and the boys are so excited to settle in and see what happens to Alice next. Because George is still a little young for chapter books, I decided to have them watch the narrated videos of the book that are broken up into chapters  (although there is still the option of reading the text with illustrations) . Each chapter is about 10-15 minutes, so its perfect for bedtime and unwinding. We cuddle up in the beanbag and watch a chapter or two each night.

I, honestly, thought that the illustrations would be confusing for the kids. It’s really quite incredible. The illustrations are pulled from 12 different versions (from early 20th century) of Alice in Wonderland and compiled to make animations and tell the entire story. Since they’re different versions of the illustrations, the characters look differently as well, sometimes Alice is blonde, sometimes a brunette. I thought that part would get confusing for the kids to follow. But they understood without hesitation.

I think the boys love that Alice keeps changing in size the most. Its magical and kind of funny at the same time!

Do you remember Alice in Wonderland from your childhood? What was your favorite part?

In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland, Alicewinks brings the story’s classic illustrations to life for digital audiences through animated video and rich narration. To download this one of a kind iBook, visit iTunes.com/alicewinks

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Alicewinks. The opinions and text are all mine.

Ready for fun with your kids?

Plan the fun with the free kids activities planner! And receive activities every week!

I'm Ready