Who am I to say when it’s time to switch from picture books to chapter books? I haven’t stopped reading either and I’m 30. At some point around 7 or 8, however, kids are going to want to switch from one to the other, and it’s going to be a big deal. It’s altogether too tempting to tell your child to hold off on reading books. Yes, he will want to read Harry Potter. No, he will not fully appreciate the depth of the plot. He is too young. Except he isn’t. If a book your child is reading has content that you question, then it’s fair for you to veto his choice. But if you’re holding off because you think he won’t appreciate something fully, see if you can let yourself take a step back. You have a child who is excited to read. That’s amazing. Let him read. Get out of the way. The best thing you can do for a kid this age is encourage independent reading, and as much of it as possible.
And balance that independence with time together. Now is not the time to stop reading to a child. Use the time you read together to choose books that he isn’t quite ready to tackle on his own. Choose books that expand his horizons and raise questions you both have about the world. It’s amazing the insight I found reading many of these books as an adult.
My picks for the next couple age groups are in three categories: picture books, graphic novels, and chapter books.
Martin’s Big Words, by Doreen Rappaport
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg
The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, by Barbara Kerley
Players in Pigtails, by Shana Corey
The Houdini Box, by Brian Selznick
To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel, by Siena Cherson Siegel
The Babysitters Club, by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier
Robot Dreams, by Sara Varon
Everything on a Waffle, by Polly Horvath
Muggie Maggie, by Beverly Cleary
The End of the Beginning, by Avi
Regarding the Fountain, by Kate Klise
Riding Freedom, by Pam Munoz Ryan
Cinderella (As If You Didn’t Already Know the Story), by Barbara Ensor
Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little, by Peggy Gifford
Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie