In Chapter 13 of Not So Fast, I encourage readers to enjoy reading books together.
Sometimes families stop reading aloud when their children master phonics. And while it’s great to encourage reading alone, it’s sad to lose the pleasure of sharing a good story.
Reading aloud brings people together and slows us down. We’re together physically–flopped on a blanket in the back yard or snuggled in a cozy bed–and we’re together in the story. That is, the characters and storyline weave into the storyline of our own lives as we share the challenges and heartache that the author creates. We celebrate with those that overcome. We even share heroes that we can refer back to.
Someone once advised us to read across genres to include biography, science fiction, plays, historical fiction, nonfiction, adventure, and classic. I don’t think we’ve done very well at that, but the idea is solid. Variety is healthy.
So browse the lists and resources below, visit the bookstore or library and see if you can give it a go. Clear your throat. Get a big glass of water. Then invite your kids on an adventure of the imagination.
Overall reading resources:
Mr. Trelease has spent decades promoting the power and benefits of reading, especially reading aloud. My friend Sharon, an educator and early childhood reading specialist, emphasizes that this is an important distinction–not all great books are great as read-alouds. Mr. Trelease has taken the time to discover some that are enjoyable to read aloud.
His website has some great resources. Be sure to check out the following brochures (they’re short overviews–very motivating):
- Click to read Ten Facts Parents Should Know about Reading (pdf file)
- Click to read 30 DO’s to Remember when Reading Aloud (pdf file)
- Click to read A Dozen DON’Ts to Remember when Reading Aloud (pdf file)
- You can also read an excerpt from his book, The Read-Aloud Handbook.
Honey for a Child’s Heart, by Gladys Hunt
Ms. Hunt provides a philosophy of choosing good books for kids along with descriptions of some of the best books for ages 0-12. She celebrates the influence of story and imagination in family life with a spiritual emphasis.
- Visit the blog of Gladys Hunt for ongoing thoughts on the joy of reading!
Ann’s Read-Aloud Approach
Curl in front of the fireplace, pile onto the bed, sprawl in the living room, flop on an old quilt spread on the grass, lounge in a hammock, or perch on logs while sitting around a campfire.
For that matter, you can D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read). We’ve been known to read poetry aloud at breakfast, short stories at lunch, and novels after dinner. We even listen to books-on-tape in the car.
Our Read-Aloud List
We’ve actually read each of these books aloud–some of them many, many times. Also, keep in mind I had three girls in a row, then our boy came later, so the titles are a little heavy on heroines. We’re gradually adding more masculine selections. Also, these are randomly listed; some are children’s picture books and others have more mature themes. A quick Internet search should give you some idea as to whether or not it is suitable for your child. (I’m developing this page–the list is incomplete.)
- Make Way for Ducklings
- The Boxcar Children (book 1)
- The Family Under the Bridge, by Natalie Savage Carlson
- Caps for Sale
- A Grain of Rice
- Blueberries for Sal
- Misty of Chincoteauge
- The Aesop for Children
- The Door in the Wall
- The Golden Goblet
- The Shakespeare Stealer
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
- Number the Stars
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond
- The Story About Ping
- The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes
- James Herriot’s Treasury for Children
- The Real Mother Goose
- Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
- The Little House
- Goodnight Moon
- The Apple and the Arrow
- A Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton-Porter
- Little Women
- Little House series
- My Father’s Dragon
- The Narnia collection
- Anne of Green Gables (this one isn’t the easiest as a read-aloud. I had to work hard as the reader, but it was worth it.)
- Island of the Blue Dolphins
- The Incredible Journey
- Gentle Ben
- Ginger Pye
- James and the Giant Peach
- Swiss Family Robinson
- The Cricket in Times Square
- The Five Little Peppers
- (searching records to add more)