The 50 best read-aloud chapter books for young kids

The 50 best read-aloud chapter books for kids

I love to read chapter books aloud to my two boys. Even though my six year old is getting to the point where he can read on his own I still love snuggling up with a good book with my boys on either side of me. It is great bonding time and fun to have an excuse to reread your favorite childhood books or discover a new adventure together.

We have a very comprehensive list of 50 of our favorite chapter books that we are going to break down into 3 categories:

  1. Best chapter books for 6 year olds (first grade)
  2. Chapter books for second grade boys and girls
  3. Our favorite 3rd grade chapter book series

Here are a few things I have learned while reading chapter books to my kids

  • Don’t underestimate your child’s reading comprehension! There have been times when I’ve been reading and I think to myself that there is NO way my kids are catching on to this story, but they do! Jungle Book was one of those books. My husband read it aloud to them and the first time I heard him reading I was sure my boys would never ask to hear more, but they did, and they loved the book.
  • Books that have a drawing every few pages are nice to keep them engaged (especially for my 4-year old), but it isn’t necessary. Sometimes it’s fun to see their imaginations working without looking at pictures.
  • This part is fun. Or embarrassing. Or will get you out of your comfort zone. Or is a great way to practice being a stage actor. However you look at it, don’t forget to use dramatic voices and use your hands. Give each character their own voice. Nothing will make your child lose interest in the story quicker than a monotone voice. The story doesn’t have to be read in a boring way, make it fun and even a little silly.
  • If there is a book that is terrifying your child or you feel the material may be too much for them, put it away and try again when they are older. Don’t scar your child with a book, we want reading to be fun! My six year old was a little nervous by BFG, but insisted he was okay. If I knew he was seriously terrified we would have put it away for when he was ready. You want the books to spark their imagination and to help them form a love of reading, not to create nightmares.

Here is a list of some of our favorite chapter books that we have already read:

I’ve provided an easy amazon link for all the books we are featuring. I hope this helps in your quest to have some bonding time with your little ones!

Best chapter books for 6 year olds (First Grade)

As your little one takes their first steps into the enchanting world of chapter books, it’s essential to choose stories that captivate their imagination and foster a love for reading. At the age of 6, children are developing their reading skills and are ready to dive into more complex narratives. Here’s a curated list of the best chapter books for 6-year-olds that will transport them to magical realms, introduce them to unforgettable characters, and instill a lifelong love for books.

  1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  2. Stuart Little by E.B. White
  3. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
  4. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
  5. Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins
  6. The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
  7. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  8. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  9. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
  10. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
  11. Peter Pan by Bobby Driscoll
  12. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  13. The Doll People  by Ann M. Martin
  14. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  15. The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
  16. Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
  17. The Judy Moody by Megan McDonald
  18. Rufus M. by Eleanor Estes
  19. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  20. Fat Men From Space by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

Chapter books for second grade boys and girls

Entering the world of chapter books is an exciting milestone for young readers, and second grade is a crucial time to foster a love for independent reading. For boys and girls in second grade, the right chapter book can open up a universe of imagination, curiosity, and wonder. In this section, we’ll explore a curated list of engaging chapter books that are sure to captivate the adventurous spirit of second-grade boys and girls.

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  2. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  3. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  4. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  5. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
  6. The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  7. The Moffats by Eleanor Estes
  8. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
  9. Holes by Louis Sachar
  10. Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
  11. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  12. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
  13. The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
  14. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
  15. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  16. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  17. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  18. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  19. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
  20. Secret Agent Jack Stalwart by Elizabeth Singer Hunt

3rd grade chapter book series

Embarking on the literary adventure of a lifetime, 3rd-grade chapter book series open the doors to a magical realm where imagination knows no bounds. Designed to captivate young minds, these series seamlessly blend storytelling with valuable life lessons, fostering a love for reading that lasts a lifetime. In this section, we’ll delve into the enchanting universe of 3rd-grade chapter book series, exploring the reasons they are cherished by young readers and their impact on literary development.

  1. Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
  2. Hank the Cowdog series by John R. Erickson
  3. Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
  4. The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  5. Ivy & Bean series by Annie Barrows
  6. The Little House Collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  7. The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi
  8. Choose Your Own Adventure books
  9. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
  10. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren


In concluding our exploration of read-aloud chapter books, the joy of snuggling up with my boys for a good book remains a cherished bonding time, even as my eldest starts to read independently. Our compiled list of 50 favorite chapter books caters to the evolving tastes and reading levels of young minds, guiding parents through enchanting tales for first graders, adventurous narratives for second graders, and captivating series for third graders. From the valuable lessons learned about children’s comprehension and the power of imagination to the advice on using dramatic voices, our journey emphasizes creating an engaging experience that fosters a lifelong love for reading.

As we share our curated list, complete with convenient Amazon links, it is my hope that it serves as a helpful guide for fellow parents, caregivers, and educators seeking to embark on their own literary adventures. May these stories be the foundation of treasured memories, the catalysts for vibrant imaginations, and the fuel for a lifelong passion for the written word. Happy reading!

I made another awesome list of read-aloud chapter books from your suggestions and comments.

Click the picture below to check it out:

50 favorite read-aloud chapter books

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  • Wendy

    True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. A Little Princess.ReplyCancel

  • Carol gibson

    The Secret in Miranda’s Closet by Sheila GrenwaldReplyCancel

  • Katie

    How old are your kids? Little Pear is great, The Courage of Sarah Noble, Mr. Poppers Penguins, Tumtum and Nutmeg, Fancy Nancy chapter books and American Girl books. I have almost 4 year old girl and 20 month boy. May be a challenge to find read alouds they both enjoy down the road!ReplyCancel

  • Gabriela

    Where The Red Fern Grows
    I enjoyed reading this book to my son. Especially in the end. It was a very sad ending, but it was good to see that my son could be affected by the written word.ReplyCancel

  • Traci

    Anne of Green Gables series was a favorite of my kids!ReplyCancel

  • Tisha

    Can’t leave out “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannett! Kids love that three-book series! Also any of the Junior Classics for Young Readers – if you really want a fun one to do the voices, try Treasure Island!ReplyCancel

  • My 4 year old daughter and I are reading round 2 of Ella Enchanted… but don’t make the mistake of trying to watch the movie. A great girl power spin on an old fairy tale.ReplyCancel

  • Meg

    Another great one is The Prince of the Pond by Joanna Napoli. I remember this one from 4th grade and bought it for myself with my first paycheck after I turned 18. Still one of my favorite stories. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Heidi

    Thank you for this excellent list! This includes many of my favorites. I have 5 children ages 12, 10, 8, 8, and 4. The youngest doesn’t always get as much out of reading together as the rest, but to this day their favorite 2 books we’ve read aloud are “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again” by Frank Cottrell Boyce and “The Magician’s Elephant” by Katie DiCamillo. Thought I’d mention them, since I didn’t see them on there. Anything by Roald Dahl or J.K. Rowling is pretty high up on their list of favorites as well.ReplyCancel

  • Mindy

    Junie B Jones, the Fudge Series by Judy Blume, James & the Giant Peach, Boxcar Children, Homer Price have been our favorites so far (son just turned 6). Thanks for the new ones to add to our list!!ReplyCancel

  • Denny Shaffner

    Where the Red Fern Grows
    and The Education of Little Tree.ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte

    There’s a number on there we have read (my boys are six and four) and many we haven’t that I will be getting hold of. Some other ideas, that we have been reading: the Faraway Tree series, Secret Seven and Famous Five, all by Enid Blyton; The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy Boston; The String Family by Patricia Cleveland, My Naughty Little Sister and the Tales of Joe and Timothy by Dorothy Edwards, the Melendy books by Elizabeth Enright.ReplyCancel

  • Patrick

    One Thousand and One Nights (AKA Arabian Nights)ReplyCancel

  • Great list! I still read read to my boys and they are 10 and 14. It’s such a great opportunity to bond with your kids over a good book and then discuss it afterwards. Love it!
    –Leah @ http://www.fabulousfarmgirl.comReplyCancel

  • Love this list! I’m pleased that I have some of them already but it never occurred to me to read them to my little guy already. Thanks for sharing this. You have inspired me to write about reading with my little boy. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Alyssae

    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende! My parents read it to me when I was 4 and it is still one of my favorite books ever!ReplyCancel

  • Emma Jenkins

    The Secret Garden andThe Last of the Great Wangdoodles wasn’t mentioned. I loved reading some of these books you listed as a child.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Hadfield

    You guys are awesome! Thanks for sharing some of your favorite books with me! You are reminding me of so many books that I loved as a child and forgot about. Keep the suggestions coming!ReplyCancel

  • Emma

    I’m 16 and love to read…..I remember I read American Girl books and the Dear America series in 3rd grade and would go to the library all the time. The Littles, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Caddie Woodlawn, Number the Stars, Because of Winn Dixie, Tuck Everlasting, Runaway Emily, A Wrinkle in Time…..the list goes on and on and onReplyCancel

  • Emily

    Wish for suggested ages for these!! We read thru several when our kiddo was 5, but ‘The Tale of Desperaux’ was TOO MUCH – the mom drowning in her soup scarred my son deeply. It took months to undo the damage!! (Great story – just not for that age – I wish someone had told me!)ReplyCancel

    • Melissa Hadfield

      So good to know about the Tale of Despereaux! I have had it recommended to me, so that is why it made the list. I made this list with 4-8 year olds in mind.ReplyCancel

    • Jamie

      I read The Tale of Desperaux to my 5 and 7 year olds and was worried at certain parts that it would be too much for them (they are both pretty sensitive!), but they absolutely LOVED it and said it was the best book we’d ever read! But, they couldn’t make it through Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – that terrified them! Go figure. 🙂 So hard to know how stories will affect individual children!ReplyCancel

  • I teach second grade and most of the books you listed are on my bookshelf in my classroom. My favorite childhood series were Little House on the Prairie, The Babysitters Club, & Anne of Green Gables. A new series I’ve discovered as an adult is the Clementine series – I read it out loud to my class for the first time and found myself laughing out loud more often than they did. I also enjoyed Lulu and the Brontosaurus – it provides lots of dramatic demonstrations opportunities! Thanks for sharing your list – I’m inspired to start a new read with my class next week!ReplyCancel

  • Abbie L.

    The Wind in the Willows, Inkheart, The Secret Garden; and if you can find it The Stray by Dick King Smith is an amazing book! Also, for older kids, Fig Pudding by Ralph J. Fletcher is really good. It does have the death of a family member in it, but it is a beautiful story and deals with grief very well; rare in a children’s story.ReplyCancel

  • Emily

    Love some of these! I’m a 1st grade teacher, currently reading Sideways Stories From Wayside School and my kids are laughing hysterically! I would really recommend the Magic Tree House series. Another funny series that I’ve used before is the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. As a kid, I know that my mom read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to me. For slightly older kid, some of the Bruce Coville books like Jennifer Murgley’s Toad or Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher are great!ReplyCancel

  • Nicolette

    A top that I’ve read for people with children spread out in age is to read art the oldest child’s level. They are the most likely to get bored.ReplyCancel

  • Darcy

    One I read to my classes is Walk Two Moons by Sharon CreechReplyCancel

  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate diCamillo, SO SO much better than the movie!ReplyCancel

  • Deb

    I think they’re mostly out of print but the All of a Kind Family series was one of my favorites.ReplyCancel

    • Dee Tee

      I ADORE the All of A a kind Family books!! Read them over and over and over…ReplyCancel

    • We had two All of Kind Family books growing up, and I loved them! I need to ask my mom if she still has them…!ReplyCancel

  • My 4 year old and I loved Betsy-Tacy 🙂 The second one, Betsy-Tacy and Tib, was good, too. But I heard the next one was when the kids are in High School, so that’ll probably need to wait few years. We are enjoying a Katie Kazoo Switcheroo book right now. We’ll be checking out a new one from the library soon!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole

    Great list. Another book my boys loved is The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. We’re currently all enjoying Flora and Ulysses by Katie DiCamillo. This book begs to be read aloud!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer

    Wolf Story, Jenny and the Cat ClubReplyCancel

  • Tiffany

    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. 8 year old and up
    Love, love, love it!!ReplyCancel

  • Emily

    The Penderwicks, Trixie Belden series, The Little House series, Depend on Katie John by Mary Calhoun, and the Santa Paws series by Nicholas Edwards are all wonderful books for younger kids. I also enjoyed the Bobbsey twins when I could find that series.ReplyCancel

  • tori

    I love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. A childhood favorite that I have read to my kids and my students every year. A must read. There are 3 in the series but the first is my favorite!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa

    Anything by Kate DiCamillio is a wonderful read aloud. I teach 3rd grade and my students all love the stories. But they are not Disney style endings- or middles- or beginnings. They have real emotions which I think most 3rd graders appreciate. That said, you NEED to read your books ahead of time. Don’t ever let it be in front of the kids as your first read. This will save you awkward cover ups for fowl language, or images or themes that they aren’t ready for. I also love Carl Hiaasen young adult books, and M.T. Anderson- for silliness.ReplyCancel

  • Linda

    One of the very best read aloud books I read to my kids was The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick–my kids could hardly stand to wait to read the next chapter. We would study the drawings to really capture the happenings in the story. Years later the movie came out and we all enjoyed watching our favorite book adapted to that medium.ReplyCancel

  • Karen

    The White Giraffe series is amazing. White Giraffe, Dolphin Song, The Last Leopard, & The Elephants Tale.ReplyCancel

  • Samantha

    Peter Pan is not written by Bobby Driscol. The story was created by J. M. Barrie. Driscol was the voice actor for the Disney cartoon. And you linked it to the movie, not to a read aloud book. Otherwise great list, I would add Winnie the Pooh 😀ReplyCancel

  • Tonya

    What an amazing list!! I remember reading some of these as a kid and my kids already have and have read a bunch of these as well. So glad I kept some of my book collections as a kid to pass on to mine. Oh, a great book to add to your list (my absolute favorite) Where The Red Fern Grows. LOVE it!ReplyCancel

  • Emma

    The Magic series by Edward Eager were my FAVORITE when I was a kid. Also, I’m glad to see so much Roald Dahl on this list 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Alex esarey

    The Last of the Really Great wangdoodles! My students love it!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Jenkins

    Phyllis Reynolds naylor has a series about Alice McKinley! They are awesome!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Addeee000

    This is a fantastic list. Thank you for the post! For the past few weeks my partner and I have been reading our 6 year old the first book of the Harry Potter series – which we were disappointed to have not seen on your list! While we weren’t sure he would be able to grasp the complexities of the novel, to our astonishment and utter delight he has! Not only does he follow me around the house daily asking if we can read more, he has infinitely impressed us with his comprehensive understanding of the story and it’s characters. I avidly agree that it is imperative to not underestimate our kids and recommend the HP series for your little ones!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy

    One that is often missed, but shouldn’t be, is The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards. It is a wonderful read aloud with colorful imagery and great characters.ReplyCancel

  • Morgan

    My absolute favorite is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It’s a beautiful story and adults learn from it as well!
    Another that I read as a kid and still remember to this day is The Bridge to Terebithia. Heartbreaking, but really good.ReplyCancel

  • Patty

    Wonder by: R.J Palacio, I read it with my nine year old son, It is an amazing book. A must read.ReplyCancel

  • Chanel Atkinson

    My mom read so many of these as I eas growing up, some of my favorite memories. I can’t wait to read them to my own one day.ReplyCancel

  • Sonja

    Great for 7 – 9 year olds as read alouds–The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop and Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. These are both adventure type books that both boys and girls enjoy. They both have sequals when your kids ask for more! I always read to our kids on car rides and all three of my children love reading and were identified as “gifted” in school. This sounds terrible but I don’t think they were as gifted as they were “prepared” with a rich vocabulary and experiences. They are now adults and still prolific readers. Talk with your kids!!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica

    A lot of wonderful books have been mentioned. These aren’t for really young kids, but I also loved reading Maniac Magee, Savvy, Remarkable, and the Giver to my kids. Love A Wrinkle in Time too, but I’m not sure my kids were ready for it.ReplyCancel

    • Awww, I love Wrinkle in time too! You can check out our “read aloud” chapter books post that you might enjoy as well! 🙂 Thanks for the input we’ll add them to the list!ReplyCancel

  • Branden

    Great list! My 4 year old son and I have read several of these this summer and we can’t wait to go the the library to check out more of your suggestions. Others we have read, that aren’t on your list, include My Father’s Dragon and Doctor Doolittle. He loved both of these. Thanks for the great suggestions!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    Mary Poppins is just so wonderful! I read it to my precocious three and a half year old, and he was riveted. Still talks about it now that he is six. Vivid imagery and appreciation for the plasticity of imagination/real world play when very young.ReplyCancel

  • Ashleigh

    Gone Away Lake and Return to Gone Away by Elizabeth Enright are excellent reads as well. The main characters are a boy and a girl (cousins). They find a ghost town and basically make it their go to place. It’s such a fun story.ReplyCancel

  • Roni

    I agree with Tiffany-The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is phenomenal!!! My daughter & second graders LOVED this book!!!ReplyCancel

  • So many great books already listed! Adding the following that my children loved when 4-10. The Freddy Books by Walter R. Brooks; The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede’s; Childhood of Famous America Series; Misty of Chincoteague and anything else written by Marguerite Henry; The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck; The Pony Pals series by Jeanne Betancourt; Pippi Longstockings; and the Cherry Ames series by Helen WellsReplyCancel

  • Seth

    Page- I have read The Phantom Tollbooth to my kids too and I have loved as they did since I was young. It’s fun and challenging for the person reading it too. Great list. Thank you all for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie

    What about for an 18 month old? We read lots of books and at bedtime she loves to snuggle up and listen to longer stories. We read Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book almost every night. I’d love to broaden our horizons a bit!ReplyCancel

    • Melissa Hadfield

      That’s a great question! 18 months old is still too little for chapter books, but really any picture book is great. My kids have all loved Sandra Boynton books. They are silly and cute and they might even have you giggling a little. We have also really like “If you give a…” books. Like “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “If You Give a Pig a Pancake.”ReplyCancel

  • Lisha

    I don’t see any books on that list that are culturally diverse.ReplyCancel

  • Abigail

    Thank you for making this list! I have read some of these to my 7,6, and 4 year old but i found interesting titles I’m sure my kids will want to explore! The one book we are currently on is Stuart Little. am i reading this book wrong? I had never read Stuart Little but have seen the movies and knew of the books. My son picked it out since it was his turn and i was more than excited. EB White has been one of our favorites and have read Charlotte’s Webb Five times, however This book seemed to have run on sentences and the chapters were more of a random collections of things Stuart has done in his life. ON the last chapter my son asked me to move on that he didn’t want to read it and even though i was secretly glad i was also very disappointed. My daughters also said they didn’t enjoy the book.ReplyCancel

  • I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, its rare to see a great blog like this one these days.. deabbddadgcdecdbReplyCancel

  • Sacha

    We are reading through the Heartwood Hotel series right now and it is adorable.  Very feel good and appropriate for any age, I am reading to my 8, 6, and 2 yr old. ReplyCancel

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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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