Top Five Chapter Books to Read to Your Kids

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything… from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

Before your kids get too old, here are our top five chapter books you need to read to them or with them!

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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6 Comments

  1. drago
    January 29, 2015 at 12:06 pm — Reply

    This one hits home deeply. My father taught me to read before I went to kindergarten, he was the first person in my family to graduate college. He’s an amazingly intelligent, sharp, driven man. His office was down the street from the county library so at lunch every other week he’d stop at the library and borrow some books. I can still remember him opening his briefcase and taking them out, handing them out like they were gold. “you have a month to finish them” and as we read or I read we always talked about the stories. It’s one of the happiest memories I have in my life. I love reading to this day and I associate books with my dad no matter if we read them together or not. I built my library in my house and carved my father’s name into all the studs in the room, so even though you can’t see them under the drywall and paint he’s still all around the place.

    My list mirrors what my Dad did for me growing up, read to me every night and slowly got me into reading on my own. Narnia and Potter nearly made mine but basically everything to kids for me has to be about firing the imagination: heroes, epic quests, tales of valor, the importance of never really being bored because you can create worlds in your mind type of thing. Bambi also because he read that while I was in particularly bad health, he used to tell me if bambi can beat hunters without a Mom and Dad I could certainly get better without hunters after me and the advantage of a mom and dad.

    So from youngest age to the “here read this for yourself” age:

    Frog and Toad – because it’s awesome.

    Treasure Island – because it’s also awesome and it has pirates and the kid is the truly brave character.

    The White Mountains – This is the one I might swap out with Potter or Narnia, I don’t know if it’s too dated or not. But TRIPODS! Kids are the heroes again. They’re easy books for someone just starting out to plow through on their own.

    Hobbit – My Dad called it the gateway drug to demanding more books to read on your own. Bad movies aside this novel is still fantastic.

    Belgariad series – can swap it out for Lord of the Rings but I think it’s lighter and easier to understand because it’s not littered with all those tongue twister names Tolkien likes to dump into his books. It’s a coming of age series where a young boy becomes a king and realizes girls who once had cooties kind of smell nice and their hair has this interesting habit of tumbling about. Lots of magic, knights and things like that.

  2. Sheldon Silver
    January 30, 2015 at 6:40 pm — Reply

    My list is:
    1) Harry
    2) Harry
    3) Harry
    4) Harry
    5) Harry
    I would also add the chronicles of narnia

  3. January 31, 2015 at 1:16 am — Reply

    5) Wizard of Oz – some of my earliest memories were of my mom reading the whole series to me as a child and venturing into such a well rounded world as what Baum created is part of what drove me to continue to read

    4) Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – as odd as it may sound my mom raised me on the audio book version of Hitchhiker’s and while some of the absurd humor may be lost on a four or five year old, the americanized version of the book does clean up a lot of the language and makes it family friendly.

    3)Harry Potter – while I was the same age as Harry when the first book came to America i could see the potential for it to be read to or with a younger child. The fantastical universe and mostly simple language lends the series to be read to a younger audience than what I was when Potter Mania spread across the states.

    2) Jurrasic Park – Dont Judge Me! My mom let me start reading her copy when I was about 9 so i was past the “read to” section but because of how complex some of Chriton’s words were for me it was definately a “read with” book. Yes it is swear heavy and kinda gory but having that experience of “I am reading a Grown Up book” was something that was influential on me as I grew older and started seeking out books to read on my own. Plus knowing that if I had trouble with any concept or word presented in the book my mom would help me understand really made it a better experience for me.

    1) Christmas Truce: The Western Front – Placed at number 1 because of impact not because of friendlieness. As a grandchild of a WW2 vet who passed before I was old enough to ask about his time in the service, this book which I stole from my mom showed me some of the more horrible parts of humanity. I have only had one book scare me to the point of severe paranoia and only one book that made me CRY. My mom warned me at the ripe old age of 7 that the book would be emotionally hard to read and understand smething she said while there were tears in her eyes. Her requirement was that she be home when i wanted to read it……… The book is about WW1 but more than anything it gave me an idea what my Pappy had to have seen during his time in the service.

    wow i read a lot of books that were WAAAY outisde of my age range as a kid…..probably gonna let my kids do the same when i have any.

  4. January 31, 2015 at 8:56 am — Reply

    stephen scaring his kids #parenting win

  5. Richard W
    February 4, 2015 at 4:29 pm — Reply

    Enjoyed the lists very much. Especially agree with ‘rats of Nimh’ – read an old copy my brother had as a child to my 4 year old boy a month back and he loved it. He has also been enjoying me read the ‘how to train your dragon’ series.

    When I was young my dad just left Asimov books lying around which were great to read as a kid.

  6. February 21, 2017 at 7:03 pm — Reply

    Here is my list:
    1. Harry Potter
    2. Princess in Black
    3. The Beyonders
    4. Little House
    5. Cinder City

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