Chapter Books Are NOT For Kindergarten!

Nap Time Challenges

Naptime ChallengesIt was almost naptime for one of the most difficult preschool classrooms I had worked with. It was full of noisy wiggle worms, loud chatterboxes, and inventive mischief makers. Getting them to settle down for a nap was no small feat. This particular day, it seemed that the naptime preparation was even less conducive to actual napping than usual.

To help settle everyone down I planned on reading a few short picture books. I spoke to the center’s director the day before about naptime challenges and we decided a little pre-nap reading would help. She offered to leave the books.


Boxcar Blunders

Boxcar ChildrenI felt confused and a little worried. Three books lay on the shelf–all of them were chapter books. Chapter books? For preschool kids? I turned around and saw 18 pairs of eager little eyes staring back at me in anticipation. There was no going back; I was left without an option. I grabbed “The Boxcar Children” and sat down to read.


Chapter Books Are Not for Kindergarten

After 45 minutes, I was amazed that the children were still engrossed in the story. That would be an achievement for any class, let alone this one! I finally had to stop since I accidentally used up most of naptime (I guess I enjoyed the story as much as they did). Putting the book away was met with cries of, “No, don’t stop!” and “One more chapter!” Throughout the day all I heard about was the Boxcar Children, so I assured them that we would continue our chapter book the next day.

Chapter books are not for kindergarten, they should be started in preschool!


Tips For Reading To Young Children

All morning the following day– and every day for several weeks–the children reminded me to read. So, it was something we began to do on a regular basis. There are a few things you can do to make reading time more effective. Here are some great tips from Jamie Reimer at

  1. Split up the book into intervals that fit for a young attention span.
  2. Review the previous events at the start of each session.
  3. Stop after major moments to discuss what happened. You can even ask what might happen in the next chapter. Kids love guessing what might be next!
  4. Bring in items that are related to the story. For example, bring in a miniature boxcar so the kids can see what it looks like.
  5. If you are not a good reader, try an audio book!

The only point that doesn’t go with the Montessori philosophy is #6, the suggestion to use an animated version of the story. We recommend just reading aloud or recorded reading (but the reason why is a whole blog post in itself).



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Leave Us A Comment


  1. Lindsay Peloso Fifield

    Ha! You got my attention and I had to see what you were talking about! Good read!

  2. Teresa Hadsall

    We thought that might catch some attention. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Rebecca Weisshahn

    As a preschool teacher for over twenty years, I've always loved reading to young children, but have never dared to try jumping into a chapter book with them. I look forward to introducing my class to a chapter book now-what a great way to encourage listening skills and imaginative thinking!

  4. Teresa Hadsall

    Rebecca, thank you for sharing that! I would love to hear how it goes with them, and what books you choose to read. I hope all is well with you and your family!

  5. Ci Ourlittlehouse

    Great post, I am huge promoter of early literacy and exposing children to ALL books from an early age! Great practical tips too! Thanks

  6. Stephanie

    My nephew’s first chapter book was “Charlotte’s Web” when he was 4. He loved listening to it and I loved reading to him (and still do, even though he is an independent reader now).

  7. Charlene Asay

    These are all great tips. I think it is very important to expose your children to books at a very young age. It helps so much with their speech and understanding. THanks for sharing your link at THoughtful THursdays link party.


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