Transitioning to Chapter Books

Did you know that there are gentle and easy-reading chapter books for kids?

I didn’t!

I was not exposed to fiction books when I was Mia’s age. I also don’t have a recollection of anyone in our family reading novels. So you can say I’m pretty clueless on how to transition kids from picture books to text-filled pages with zero illustrations.

I actually almost missed the signs that Mia was ready for it. Have you recently checked if your children are ready too?

Here’s how we started out and it might be helpful to you in spotting for cues.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate Dicamillo


When Mia was 4 years old, we got this book as a gift from her aunt.

It’s intended for kindergarteners and it’s the exact opposite of a typical chapter book that adults read.

It has colorful pictures on almost every page, the chapters are short, it uses very simple words, and it is printed in large fonts.

She was amused by the story of this pig but she was not quite ready to read the whole book on her own.

It was only after a year that I saw her pick it up and read it by herself. She was giggling and enjoying a quiet moment, so I thought this might be the beginning?



Question was, what chapter books are good for 5 year olds? What should I be looking for? Perhaps it would be nice to start with something she’s already familiar with?

Book of the Film: Inside Out / Frozen

So I bought Inside Out and Frozen.

These are two of her favorite movies and I was thinking that the scenes in her head can help give life to plain text.

Hmm.. she only read a few pages and put it down. She was INTERESTED but she didn’t have the maturity to stick with it for long periods. So we only read one chapter a night and left the next chapters for the evenings to come. And when we finally finished, it stayed on our shelves and it seldom got picked up.

Probably not the right time to transition yet, I thought. Or wrong choice of books perhaps? It was trial and error and it was obvious I wasn’t taking this too seriously because I didn’t bother to check online on what titles I should be looking for! I was not in a rush as I didn’t even read until I was in 4th or 5th grade. And that was only after I saw some of my classmates reading Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, and Hardy Boys during recess.


Last year though, we noticed she would sit and stay focused for more than 30 minutes if a book is truly entertaining for her. Whenever I brought her to the mall, I could leave her in one corner and she’d be busy devouring the books.

So this time, I googled. What are other 6 year olds reading? What can be fun and effortless and not too intimidating?

And it led me to these fantasy books with beautiful and captivating covers.

Secret Kingdom: Phoenix Festival / Rainbow Magic: Gemma the Gymnastics Fairy / The Secret Mermaid: Turtle Trouble


These books contain black and white illustrations spread out in 5 to 8 chapters (about 60 – 100 pages) and I was so surprised she could finish each book in just one sitting! (geez, now I’m behind) I seriously didn’t think she could read that fast. And I wouldn’t have known if we didn’t give it a try.

I guess it’s really important to start with topics and characters that’s of interest to the child.

In our case, fairies, mermaids, and gymnasts did it!

After those 3, we switched and moved up to richer plots.

I was hoping for the first 4 books of the Magic Tree House series but this is the only one I found.

Magic Tree House: Winter of the Ice Wizard by Mary Pope Osborne

She truly ENJOYED this! The only problem was, she started having nightmares.? The fierce wolves and the terrible storms in the frozen kingdom lingered on her imaginative mind during bedtime.

So I searched for something that looked lighter.

2 Books in 1:The Magical Adventures of the Wishing Chair + the Wishing Chair Again by Enid Blyton (about 180 pages each)

She LOVED these two stories! But. But. The magical world, though very enchanting, also had goblins and evil wizards that (again) gave her trouble sleeping at night.

So when she finished both books, we decided to go back to fairy and mermaid books and put aside mystery and adventure stories until she’s a bit bigger. Or perhaps I can find some kid-friendly novels that don’t have mystical creatures in it? Any book recommendations?

As you noticed, this was a hit & miss experience for us. And it’s probably going to be like that for quite some time.

But one thing’s for sure, we have officially moved up to chapter books. And although we are not letting go of picture books just yet, the chapter books are a welcome addition to our reading menu.

I’m very excited for Mia to try out different storylines so I’ve listed some titles I’ll be looking for on my next book hunt. And I also included some online resources you can check out.

Here they are:

Charlotte’s Web
The Secret Garden
Pippi Longstocking
Zoey and Sassafras
Dory and the Real True Friend
Nancy Clancy series
The Never Girls
Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs
Pink Princess Rules the School
Princess Posey and The First Grade Boys
Super Lexi
Mr. Poppers Penguins
Sparks Story Bible
Beatrix Potter
The Magic School Bus
Semicolon Cupcakes & Cucumbers
Malala’s Magic Pencil
The Giving Tree
Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark
The A-Z Mysteries
Chronicles of Narnia series


If you’ve read some in this list, please share your reviews with us. And if you know of families with kids who love to read, don’t forget to spread the love and share this post. ❤️

Related story on this Blog: Our Quest For Early Chapter Books


10 Early Chapter Books For Boys

Early and First Chapter Books for Kids

Funny Chapter Books For Kids