chapter books · read aloud · reading · slice of life

First Chapter Book

We're ready to pick up where we left off with All About Sam -- on the couch -- after Isabelle returns from school today.
We’re ready to pick up where we left off with All About Sam — on the couch — after Isabelle returns from school today.

I had no intention of sharing chapter books with Isabelle yet. But she was intrigued when she spotted me unpacking a box from HMHCo this morning. She plodded into my office and said, “What’s that?” She pointed at the book. It was a review copy of All About Sam by Lois Lowry.

“It’s a chapter book,” I replied matter-of-factly.

“What’s a chapter book?” she asked.

I handed her the book. “Take a look and tell me what you notice.”

She sat beside me and opened the book. “It has no words.”

“What do you mean, ‘it has no words’?” I knew she meant it has no pictures. However, I wanted to hear her to say ‘it only has words’ or ‘I don’t see any pictures.’

“I don’t see words,” she said.

“Do you mean that you don’t see any pictures?” I asked.

She nodded.

“Well, there are some pictures,” I said pointing to a few of the illustrated pages. “But it’s mostly words.”

“Read it to me,” she said.

“Right now?” I asked. We only had 20 minutes before we were to depart for school.

“Yes,” she replied.

I had never read this book, but I knew it was related to the Anastasia Krupnik Series. However, I went in blindly. I read the title and author and dove right into chapter 1. (Very unteacherly of me, right?)

By the end of chapter one, Isabelle was snuggling on the hardwood beside me. I would’ve been uncomfortable, but she looked cozy. She giggled at the parts where Sam described the first few hours of his life. By the end of chapter one she said, “keep going!”

“I can’t. We have to leave for school in 10 minutes,” I replied.

“Let’s read more!”

“Do you like this book?”



“Because it’s funny. It’s about a baby. And he’s funny.”

I looked at my watch again. I counted the pages in chapter two. There was no way I’d make it through the entire thing, but she doesn’t know what chapters are yet. I acquiesced.  “Let’s sit on the couch and I will read a little more.”

And so we did.

Once I found a good stopping point, midway through chapter two, I said, “Okay, we have to go to school. We can read more when you get home if you’d like.”


Later in the day I looked up the level of All About Sam online. It’s a level Q. That’s a fourth-grade level book! I’m not sure if she’ll still be interested as the chapters go on since this is way above where her interest level is. But you never know! So, we’ll keep reading — after school!

Head over to  for more slices of life.
Head over to for more slices of life.

15 thoughts on “First Chapter Book

  1. Books do tend to hook us and draw us in no matter what their level or ours. Sounds like Isabelle is hooked on this book for now. Hope her curiosity never ends.

  2. It’s been interesting to see what the interests are when I read to Ingrid and Imi, Stacey. Ingrid of course is in school & likes all the chapter books, but is more & more interested in the n-f ones, “about” something. Imi likes all things dragons, so when I find one, she’ll listen carefully. Isabelle must have connected to the story, like babies or humor, no matter what. It’ll be fun to see what’s next that you find for her.

  3. So glad you discovered Sam!!! You and your daughter will love all his adventures. I recommend the whole series.

    My other fav beginning chapter books are Judith Viorst Lulu series and Joanna Hurwitz’ books about Teddy and Nora and Russel.

    Oh, how I wish I had a little one around to read-aloud such great stories about funny kids!! Keep reading!!

  4. Thank goodness those levels are just one indicator of what a reader (listener) might be ready for. Can’t wait to hear what she thinks as you continue. And I agree with Sally- Busybody Nora is a fun one! And all those Mr. Putter and Tabby (short chapters) books are so very sweet.

  5. What did we do before some corporation decided to label books by level?

    When I was in elementary school I often spent time sitting next to the bookshelf in the dining room reading the “family medical encyclopedia.” I was on a quest to find “my” illness as everyone else seemed to have one. I never found the illness, but I learned intuitively that it’s okay to read whatever my little heart desired.

    Your post reminds me of Donalyn Miller’s mantra: “Let my people read!” I don’t worry about children w/ moms like you who let the child determine her reading interests, but increasingly I worry about the next generation of parents schooled in the dark ages of leveled reading.

    1. I worry about people boxing kids into levels too, Glenda. I think you have to know books and your kid(s) well do you can make the right decisions for them. Thankfully I know books and my kid pretty well. Onward and upward with chapter books — if that’s what she wishes.

  6. Stacey,
    I love that you chose to “stop at a good place!” Lester Laminack would be so happy. We don’t have to stop at the end of chapters when reading aloud. We need to know our readers and how they can handle “stuck on a cliff” and anticipation of the next part!
    Can’t wait to hear more! I’m just having fun with 6-8 page books! ❤

  7. Nonfiction and now chapter books — you could teach a matching books to readers course with her!! Such fun — I love her determination and spunk! I do need to meet her someday. I love reading about her in your slices. Have you tried audio books in the car — my kids still love them as teenagers!

  8. Your first chapter book with your baby! I love it. So many good times await. It reminds me of reading to my now 25-year old who was such a demanding kid when it came to being read to. You know this is the best of times. Enjoy!

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