Chapter Books

The high, squealing laughter of a kid getting tickled filled the hallway above the living room. The worn, brown leather of the sofa was cool. Open glass doors let the heat from the fire wash over the room. It hadn’t yet finished its work and the air was still chill.

Peels of Eva’s laughter filled the hall again as Lucas came down the stairs, a book in hand.

“Daddy?” Lucas asked, “Can I read you a chapter from Spiderman, Evil Comes in Pairs and you can read me a chapter from the Harry Potter book?”

“I think that is a fantastic idea, buddy. You start with yours and we’ll read Harry Potter when Mommy and Eva get here.”

The exchange was hands down the most awesome event of an already interesting day.

That was the scene in our living room, tonight.

About a week ago, I read Lucas the first chapter of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He didn’t want me to read it when I offered. It was disappointing to hear him say it, but I completely understand. He’s been reading comic books for good long while, but a big ol’ novel must look pretty intimidating.

I told him we were going to read one chapter. Then, if he didn’t like it, we would find something else to read instead.

Lucas stopped me three times over the course of the seventeen-page chapter. Once, he asked to run and grab his water bottle. The other two times, he asked me where I was on the page. He was interested, but I didn’t want to force the issue.

That was a week ago.

He’s in first grade this year, and today his class got to go to the library. While there, Lucas picked out a chapter book for the first time. It’s the first in a series of Spiderman books and it has a sweet cover. There are a dozen chapters inside and each is about a page and a half to two pages long. A nice, full-page illustration breaks things up every couple of chapters or so. However, for the most part, it’s just words in there.

Lucas had his page marked with a bookmark. He turned to chapter two and read it to me. He needed a little help with ‘suspicious’ and ‘tourists’. He didn’t know what a ‘throng’ was. Other than that, it was a really nice reading. I loved it and he told me that he would read me another chapter tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to it because I need to know what those guys in ski masks are planning behind that suspicious van!

By the time we finished with Spiderman, Zuzi and Eva had joined us for The Vanishing Glass, chapter two of the first Harry Potter book. Lucas only stopped me once this time. Again, just to ask me where I was on the page.

What a wonderful evening and I can’t express how excited I am that my six year old is so in love with books.

Don’t be afraid to push a little bit with kids. Very little happens if reluctance and timidity dictate our choices… parental or otherwise. Insist that they try a taste, and then ease off. Let them decide if they’re loving the flavor.

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