A chapter book, like a picture book, is a category of children’s books. Categorizing children’s books makes it easier for parents and educators to choose age-appropriate reading material for children. A chapter book is a category designated as appropriate for children who have learned to read, but are in the early stages of reading. Chapter books often still have drawings or pictures in them, but unlike a picture book, which is designed for very young children, a chapter book typically has pages without pictures also.
A chapter book is comprised of several chapters, but they are very short, usually only a few pages in length. Many chapter books come in series such as Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series, Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones, or Dan Gutman’s My Weird School series. A chapter book is always considered a children’s book and is categorized as such because the story is told in chapters, but unlike a novel, has illustrations in each chapter. However, different chapter books may be geared towards different reading levels, with easier, shorter ones being identified as beginning chapter books.
The chapter book is ideal for children who have advanced in their reading skills enough to breeze through a picture storybook and can focus for longer periods of time. Even children who struggle with reading, but are old enough to advance beyond picture books can benefit from an engaging chapter book. Parents who read chapter books to their children help foster a love for reading and teach children to become engaged in short stories, all of which preps them for reading novels later on.
To help a child develop an interest in reading and practice reading, choose a chapter book about a topic of interest to the child. There are chapter books on magic, dragons, detectives, animals, and so on. Choosing one that is part of a series is beneficial because there is new material to tackle when they finish each book. If you are a parent or educator looking for ways to encourage reading in elementary school students, browse the chapter book sections of local book stores or ask a children’s librarian to recommend a good chapter book series.