Friday, May 6, 2011

Finding Appropriate Chapter Books for Emerging Readers

I was so excited when Little Bean ventured into the world of reading chapter books. He was still only 5 though, so finding appropriate materials was a challenge for sure. He became exclusively interested in one particular series, and pretty much ignored all other chapter books. But the series that he chose, he read constantly, and his love for reading blossomed.

It was at this time that I received a copy of Andi's Indian Summer, one in a series of chapter books for young readers (ages 6 to 8). I thought of just leaving the book out and hoping Little Bean would pick it up and read it, but knowing his faithfulness to his other series, I highly doubted he would read the new book on his own. So, I decided to incorporate the book into our regular school time.

Each day for a week or so we would sit down and I would have him read me a chapter from Andi's Indian Summer. Then, we would discuss the chapter, making predictions, going over unfamiliar language or words, and enjoying the illustrations (which are quite well done). Well, guess what? To my surprise, Little Bean took right to this book, begging to read more each day than just one chapter. We finish the book in a matter of days, and he enjoyed every minute. I asked him if he would read more books in the Circle C series, and he gave an emphatic "yes!".

As a mother, I really liked this book, and if it is indicative of the rest of the series, I would be interested in collecting them for Little Bean to read (or Miss O when she starts reading chapter books, since the main character is a girl). The main thing I liked was that the books are completely innocent, and without the distasteful attitudes and ideas that are so prominent in today's early chapter books. The series is set in the 1800's on a rural farm near an Indian reservation. So there is some historical background that is introduced in a really gentle, fun way, and because it is set in a historical time period, the thoughts and values of the characters are more traditional, which appeals to me, especially having such a young child who is ready for more challenging material.
Another plus is that Kregel offers activity and coloring pages for free. We didn't utilize these, only because I totally forgot about their availability when I was going through the book with Little Bean. But, I'm sure we'll read it again, and I will be sure to use the activity pages with him. Miss O will love the coloring pages too.

Each book in the Circle C Beginnings series is $4.99 at the Kregel website. Kregel also offers additional books for children and tweens, so be sure to check their website out.
Note: I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

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AshHadAns said...

These sound cute. I will have to get some for my 5 year old. She just discovered chapter books and has been obsessed. Her current favorite is Junie B. Jones, but I'm trying to distance her from them as much as I can because Junie is a BRAT and always gets her way. Not something I want my kids to learn!

Annette W. said...

I'm definitely on the lookout for innocent chapter books...but for now as a read aloud. Thanks...and please feel free to offer other recommendations!

Jennifer said...

Annette--these would be great as read alouds. :)

Andi Carter said...

Thanks so much for your lovely and encouraging review for Indian Summer. As a homeschool mom myself, I definitely knew what would NOT be in the books I wrote. LOL
(Yes, AshHadAns), that Junie is a Ramona Quimby on steroids. Funny books for an adult to read, but not what I'd want my kids to emulate.
Thanks again and have a GREAT day!
(Great read-a-louds would be the Henry Huggins and Beezus books by Beverly Cleary. Classics for sure from the 50s).

Angela said...

I will have to look into these. I have been trying to find some good books for christopher.

Anonymous said...

Is calling Junie B. Jones a brat, (which is name-calling) any better then Junie B.'s behavior? This question is directed at the first comment. True isn't it? We all got to be careful? :)

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