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  1. #1

    Default Short but good chapter books for reading aloud

    My kids have a limited attention span for being read to but prefer chapter books over picture books. I have a limited tolerance for reading aloud, and zero tolerance for reading them books with poor writing/cheap entertainment tricks. I can't stand the likes of Geronimo Stilton, Horrid Henry, etc. Anyone have some recommendations for good short chapter books for reading aloud? We have read a lot of Roald Dahl but some of that is getting a bit long. I just read one to my youngest tonight that was an old one of mine, Midnight Pirate by Diana Hendry. It is such a great story. Very short, I read it aloud to her in less than 30 min, but still a good plot and good story. The writing is great too, lines like "It was a cold dinner. Cold meat and cold emotions.", and other such sentences with concise yet clear imagery. Like the aunts, who are described as one like a jelly and one like a fresh baked bun.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

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  3. #2

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    His books are not short, but my kids loved the writing and stories of Terry Pratchett. I would start with Wee Free Men.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  4. #3

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    Huge Pratchett fan here, too. The Wee Free Men series is about a no nonsense, smart girl heroine. Pratchett also has The Bromeliad trilogy, about gnomes that live in a department store in England.
    I also enjoyed the Green Sky books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, although when I read them aloud to my older, the foreshadowing seemed a bit obvious.

    What genres do your girls like? Is this for both of them?
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  5. #4

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    Thanks for the ideas. Mainly for the 5 year old. The 9 year old has never liked being read to since she learned to read. She just sits there itching to rip the book out of hands and read it at her own speed (which is faster than I can read out loud). Occasionally (once every couple of months), if she has a book that she is reading and really likes, she will ask me to read a bit with her that she has already read. Then I guess she already knows what happens, so she is not so eager to hurry up and read it herself.

    The 5 year old likes anything really but particularly things that have a bit of an off/quirky sense of humor. I prefer to read science fiction, fantasy, magical realism type stuff as I find it more interesting, but will try other things. Not so into myths and fairytales of European origin but we have found some good ones from Asia. She also loves comic books (Asterix, Tintin, Yakari) but I don't really like reading those to her.

    We usually visit our bookbus rather than the main library and it has a limited kids section (because of the obvious bus-sized space limitations). So if we want anything that is not what is popular right now – they have lots of Geronimo Stilton, Horrid Henry, and Rainbow Magic and similar series – we have to request it on hold from the main library to be brought out on the bookbus for us, which is why ideas help. Thank you!
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  6. #5

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    Definitely try the Jamie and Angus Stories - they're very sweet and each story is an individual vignette in a larger chapter book length work.

    Another good one in that vein, but fantasy would be the Tashi books. And aren't they Kiwi? Or Aussie? I can't recall. But the use great vocabulary and have lots of short bits.

    You could try Fortunately, the Milk since they like offbeat humor. Also the Moomintroll books since they also have good short bits to them, especially Finn Family. Roald Dahl is also obviously offbeat... you could try Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is one of his very short ones. Or The Twits if you're really willing to get into the dark stuff for kids (it's about a cruel couple who play mean pranks on each other).

    You could try Nim's Island. It's not too long. Or Roxie and the Hooligans. Or Lulu and the Brontosaurus. Dick King-Smith has a bunch of good ones.
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  7. #6

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    The best short chapter books we read were:
    Catwings (a series of 4 books) by Ursula Le Guin
    My Father's Dragon trilogy
    mom to 3 girls: DD10, DD9, DD6

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oksana View Post
    The best short chapter books we read were:
    Catwings (a series of 4 books) by Ursula Le Guin
    My Father's Dragon trilogy
    Thank you for the suggestions. I had not heard of them or read them before. Our library has both these series, and I have requested them.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    Definitely try the Jamie and Angus Stories - they're very sweet and each story is an individual vignette in a larger chapter book length work.

    Another good one in that vein, but fantasy would be the Tashi books. And aren't they Kiwi? Or Aussie? I can't recall. But the use great vocabulary and have lots of short bits.

    You could try Fortunately, the Milk since they like offbeat humor. Also the Moomintroll books since they also have good short bits to them, especially Finn Family. Roald Dahl is also obviously offbeat... you could try Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is one of his very short ones. Or The Twits if you're really willing to get into the dark stuff for kids (it's about a cruel couple who play mean pranks on each other).

    You could try Nim's Island. It's not too long. Or Roxie and the Hooligans. Or Lulu and the Brontosaurus. Dick King-Smith has a bunch of good ones.
    Thank you for the list. We have read The Twits, which she thought was hilarious, and the Moomins. We tried Fantastic Mr Fox and Matilda, but she did not get into those ones and we did not finish them.

    The others I have never read. Our library has Tashi and James and Angus, so I have requested those. They do not have the Roxie or Lulu ones, but they do have others by those authors, and by Dick King-Smith, so that will give us a good list to try out.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  10. #9

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    Another lovely series that occurred to me is Anna Hibiscus, about a girl who lives in Nigeria. Great books.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
    http://simplify4you.com/

  11. #10

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    I totally agree with you on Geronimo Stilton. I had to hide that one after a few nights of that nonsense

    My 5 yr. old really enjoyed the Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo. It's kind of an inbetween picture/chapter or early chapter book, as it has beautiful illustrations.

    Thanks for asking this question! I'm going to hunt some of these down too
    Last edited by asclute; 07-08-2018 at 10:35 PM.

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Short but good chapter books for reading aloud