My oldest son has recently begun to make the transition to chapter books. It is a very exciting change in what and when we read together. The change was solidified when he received his very own bookmark from grandma. Having something to mark his place at the end of each chapter was the necessary motivation to want to read a long book.
A few months ago we tried longer books with fewer pictures. My son picked out Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers because he knew the story from watching the movie. He was mildly intrigued but when we put it down he did not request it the next night. For now that book has been re-relegated to the bookshelf. I think the chapters were a bit long and there were too few pictures to really capture his imagination.
Our next venture was the Pirate School series by Brian James and Jennifer Zivoin. We have read the first two books: Curse of Snake Island and Ahoy, Ghost Ship Ahead. These were ideal for a four and a half year old who had a pirate birthday party, was a pirate for Halloween, and who has turned our swing set into the neighborhood pirate ship. The story was simple but he could definitely relate to the five children who were in pirate school aboard a pirate ship with Rotten Tooth as their teacher.
At that point, my son and I browsed through the kid's book collection in our basement - memories of my husband's and my favorite books. Per my son's choice, we moved onto the original Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne. Like Mary Poppins he does not yet have the patience to listen to the original stories. He will listen intently, but not request another chapter the next night.
At the library yesterday on a rare outing without his little brother, my son and I got to take the time to pick a number of books of his choosing. He specifically asked for chapter books - definitely a first. We sat in the neighborhood coffee shop - him with a chocolate milk, me with a vanilla latte - curled up on the red couch in the back and read all of the original Nate the Great. It was an experience I know i will remember. I love that I am beginning to pass on my love of reading to my children.