Do you have a preschooler that you love to read to? We do! Reading has always been a part of the bedtime routine in our house, since before Zach understood what the heck we were saying. Now, he loves reading time so much that I went on the hunt for some chapter books to read to preschoolers that he might like.
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They aren’t super easy to find, if you can believe it. It seems authors and publishing companies think that if kids aren’t reading themselves, they aren’t interested in listening to a longer story. But I was able to find three great chapter book series that Zach absolutely loves.
They’re all different and fun in their own ways. I myself enjoy them so much that I often ask my husband, who reads during the week while I’m working, how the story ends. As a lifelong lover of books myself, I just have to know how it ends once I start!
Why we started looking for chapter books to read to preschoolers
We do not have a lack of books in our home. Seriously, we have so many. Zach has more than four shelves of books and continues to get more all the time. And every night before bed, we would read two or three of them.
With all these books, you might be wondering why wee’re looking for new chapter books. Well, I started noticing him asking more questions about the books. Not just what happened, but what happened next. He’s really interested in the continuation of the story.
Around the same time I was noticing that, he would also ask questions sometimes about why a character behaves a certain way. He seemed to be interested in a more in-depth understanding of the character. You just don’t find that in a 10 page book with a couple hundred words.
Finally, he began to show interest in shows that have a continuous story. I don’t know if any of you watch the Green Eggs and Ham series on Netflix but it’s super crazy and kind of fun and unique. It’s a continuous story about Sam I am and Guy smuggling a “dangerous” animal back into the wild while on the run from “The BAD GUYS.”
Each episode ends on a sort of cliffhanger and the next episode pretty much picks up right where it left off, or at the next point in the story. Almost like a chapter. He loves it. I think we’ve literally watched the entire first season over 20 times. The theme song is perpetually sticking in my head.
He clearly shows an interest in depth of character, a longer story, and more events happening. Since I loved various chapter book series as a kid (Babysitter’s Club, of course), I thought maybe now would be the time to start trying them.
He was hooked from the very first book of the first series.
Going to the library is a favorite activity in our house. Now, he’s super excited to not only go to the library but to see what new adventures his favorite characters are going to go on. He loves reading these so much. We pick up at least four or five books every other week. We finish two to three books each week, just reading at bedtime!
If your preschooler seems to be engaging with books more and asking lots of questions, you might want to try some of these awesome chapter book series. I don’t think you’ll regret it!
3 Chapter Books to Read to Preschoolers
This one is the first series we tried. It’s all of our favorite. It’s a series about a puppy, Sparky, who discovers a magic bone in his backyard. This bone transports him all over the world when he chomps down on it. In each book he has an adventure somewhere in the world and then chomps down to come back home.
Not only are the stories cute but the kids also learn something. Each book actually ends with a few quick facts about the place Sparky explored and explanations of a few important features of that place. It’s pretty cool! I didn’t expect that when I picked up the book, I just thought it looked cute. Hey, a talking puppy and magic! What an added bonus that it’s kinda educational, too.
My one beef with this book is the use of the word “stupid.” Sparky regularly uses the word. This is a word we’ve told Zach not to use. Not because we really care if he uses it, but because at this age he’s very likely going to use it inappropriately. Until he could fully grasp the concept of how words can hurt people, we just said it’s not a nice word and told him not to use it.
He’s now at the point where he understands and wouldn’t use it to call a person stupid. And to be clear, the book doesn’t use it that way either! Sparky is a puppy, so he’s clumsy and trips and runs into things a lot. He seems to think his body parts are acting on their own sometimes, and not under his direct control. So for example, he refers to his feet as stupid for not stopping when he runs into something.
But I know that a lot of people may take issue with this. So be ready for that word to show up a few times in each book. This book is geared toward kids a little older who can read themselves, so maybe that’s why. The stories, however, are perfect for kids as young as four. So take that into consideration if reading that word will bother you.
It did kind of bother me at first, to be honest. However, seeing how Sparky uses it and that Zach has since used it a few times but only toward inanimate objects in frustration, I’m alright with it now.
This one is our second favorite. Again geared toward slightly older kids (because all chapter books series are it seems) but still engaging and fun for as young as age four. This is the third series we’re reading. I’m so glad I discovered this one!
Zoey is a little girl who loves science and is always experimenting. Sassafras is her cat that is always with her. Zoey discovers one day that she can see magical creatures and learns her mom also can. Essentially, she takes over for her mom as the one responsible for helping the magical creatures that need assistance that come to them from the forest near their home.
It’s an adorable premise and the drawings are so cute. I also love the dynamic that the dad cannot see them and therefore occasionally thinks their doing some crazy, weird stuff in the name of science. He doesn’t realize they’re just helping their magical friends!
This series is also educational! Each book details a particular creature that comes to Zoey with a specific problem. She uses basic scientific principles such as coming up with a hypothesis and using experiments to determine results. She also has to research and investigate in addition to experiments to figure out what is wrong with each creature.
At the end of each book is a glossary of the scientific terms used throughout the book. Tons for kids to learn on this one! It also gets them excited about science and trying to figure out their own mysteries. Not only great for science, but great for mankind that this book is teaching critical thinking and problem solving.
She regularly makes mistakes but never beats herself up. Her mother is also simultaneously incredibly supportive of her in those moments but also doesn’t just give her the answer. She may give hints of guide her in a new direction, but she leaves the work to Zoey. She trusts she can figure it out. This is a great message for kids of all ages!
As an added bonus, this is a book about a STEM process and the main character is not only a girl but also appears to be a girl of color. This is not common and I’m so glad to see it. If you are a parent of girls or children of color and are looking for a book your child can see themselves in, here it is. If you’re any parent looking for books that show a wider diversity than what you’re finding, this one is awesome.
Zoey is super smart, adorable, and so kind to the creatures she helps. She’s a great little role model for all kids!
I stumbled on this one only because Magic Bone isn’t a very long series and we were burning through them pretty dang fast. Clearly, Zach enjoys chapter books in a series and I had to find a new one fast!
Many of the chapter book series for kids I find very…I don’t know the word I’m looking for here. They’re all about the same thing. And they’re either cupcakes and princesses or weapons and superheros. Where on earth are all of the normal, relateable, middle ground topics?
I decided to try this one because it had the magic element which I knew worked with Magic Bone. We tried The Magic Schoolbus but that one was a big flop for us. Totally uninterested. This one also has that exciting travelling element that Magic Bone does.
The Magic Treehouse is about a brother and sister, Jack and Annie, who stumble upon a treehouse in the words near their home one afternoon. Annie climbs up and finds it to be filled with books of all kinds. Through complete random luck they end up “activating” the treehouse and it transports them to another place and/or time, relating to the particular book they’re looking at.
Each book takes them somewhere new and they learn more about the magic behind the treehouse and the individual that owns it. Then there begins to be a whole story threaded through them all. It’s quite interesting and engaging. Zach loves it.
My one issue with this one is that, since it is also designed for a slightly older reader, some of the material may not be suitable for younger kids. Within the first few books, the kids are in danger, are face to face with dragons, and interact with a mummy ghost. That being said, mine handles it just fine.
My mother babysat for us and he had her read the mummy one. When we got home, she was surprised we were reading it to him because she thought it was a little intense. Of course, we didn’t know that until we started that particular book. Luckily, it never bothered him.
He doesn’t find them scary and does’t have nightmares about them. I think it’s maybe too abstract or subtle for him. But keep this in mind if you have a child who is very sensitive to things being scary or has a big fear of danger. Annie is bold. They are always in danger!
Check out some of these chapter books for your preschooler!
Those are my three recommendations of chapter books to read to preschoolers! Our four and a half year old has been loving them for months and just keeps wanting to go. What could be better than that?! I’m even planning on buying some of these so that as he starts reading, he has those in his collection. It’s also a bonus to have them at home so we can read whichever ones he wants over and over. (There are definitely some favorites within all of the series.)
If your little one is showing increasing interest in characters, plot, and the why behind who the characters are, you might want to start chapter books! These series are great to start with. We absolutely love them. They’re not only great for preschoolers, but up to around third or fourth grade as well! Seriously, how cool will it be when they can read themselves books they once had read by you. Not only that, but they’ll not have outgrown the stories!
I hope you’ll check out some of these today. I think your preschooler, and you, will love them!