Sometimes it can be tricky to find a read aloud chapter book with just the right balance for very young audience. I love this post at Daddy Reads on why reading chapter books to 3-6 year old kids is important. When my eldest son was 4 years old he was certainly an experienced listener but longer chapter books were mostly too advanced for his reading comprehension skills. I wanted subject matter which was recognizable and vocabulary and sentence structure to stretch his limits but not be out of reach.
Johanna Hurwitz's series about the Riverside Kids hits a great balance. She has a knack for introducing vocabulary in just the right way so that kids can grasp its meaning without having to continually interrupt the story to ask what the new word means (but that's okay, too!) and the stories are charming (i.e. not about brats with attitude) and funny. I found myself laughing at little details -- things that I found amusing as a parent, and as a former kid.
The Riverside Kids are a set of neighbors who live in an apartment building in New York City. I love how the kids show independence, a desire to learn and make friends. The city is a great background for stories about kids learning life skills.
We started with Superduper Teddy, which was perfect since the main character is a 4 year old boy. Teddy is shyer than his gregarious sister, Nora (who has 3 of her own delightful books). Teddy's many adventures include getting his first job taking care of the neighbor's cat, overcoming his fear of going to a birthday party and delighting in his new superhero cape. Besides Nora and Teddy, there are books about their neighbors, Russell and his sister, Elisa. As the series progresses the kids grow up and the chapters become longer, the text slightly more advanced.
Only some of the books in the series are still in print but we found all of them at the library. My son just loved this series and we read all of them straight through. A great beginner read aloud for kids 4 and up.
Katie at Secrets & Sharing Soda took an in-depth look at the entire series. Post #1 is about the Nora books. Post #2 is about Teddy. Post #3 is about the Russell books. Post #4 is about Elisa.
Big Kid says: I want to read all the Riverside Kid books.