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Entering the world of Chapter books

by Donna My eldest daughter is almost five. For a few months, I have been asking her if she'd like to start reading a chapter book. She has picked it up, flipped through it a few times, and put it back on the shelf. "No pictures, mama!" has been her standard response.

This week she changed her mind, and we started reading "Charle and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl. I have emphasized what a big girl she is, and she has wanted to read "just one more chapter" every time I try to close the book. Each night, we have been plowing through several chapters and she's totally getting into it. She's asking lots of questions about words she doesn't understand, and I have been working on showing more patience when she asks questions. With no pictures to help guide her, I want to be sure she understands the story.

We've talked about it a bit when we're not reading, and this morning, she asked me what the factory owner's name was again. "Willy Wonka," I told her. "Why?" She explained that she wanted to draw a picture of the book. She sat down and drew this:

What amazes me most is the details she remembered from the book. That the candy boat that floated in the chocolate river, near the chocolate waterfall, was made of PINK candy. That Mr. Wonka had a top hat and a walking stick. She's paying attention, and she's able to imagine the story in her head. I can't help but feel that this is a turning point.

As a reader, and as someone who spent HOURS and HOURS reading as a kid, I am thrilled that she's getting into chapter books as early as she is. She wants to read another one, and I'm open to suggestions.

What is the first chapter book you read with your child?

Donna is a mama to 2 lovely girls, big M, almost 5, and little m, almost 3. She writes about crafting over at http://www.kindredcrafters1.blogspot.com