I believe reading aloud is so important! It is special family bonding time. Sharing a story together gives us shared experience, shared characters, shared adventure, shared emotion. We are able to walk through a story and wonder together at the same things, empathize together with the hero, and learn together in ways that can touch us deeply.
Beyond that, reading aloud benefits our children intellectually. It allows younger children and struggling readers to be immersed in vocabulary and sentence structures they would not otherwise encounter. It stretches their minds more than books on their own level can. It increases their ability to focus for longer periods of time. It grows their ability to turn words into imagination.
I’ve always been amazed at how my own children will spout out big words they have been exposed to from read alouds and audio books. “Thrice” and “preposterous” are a couple that I have heard in my house recently.
Over the past few of years, my husband has started a tradition of reading aloud to the kids a couple of nights per week on average. This is special time with Daddy that our kids have loved. The littles don’t always listen, but our older kids can’t get enough of Daddy reading.
The following books have been our favorites over the past couple of years of this family tradition.
The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson: I can’t say enough good things about this series! We have it on Kindle, and literally, as soon as my husband would finish one book, the kids would grab their Kindles (yes, our older kids have their own Kindles) to start rereading it! The stories are fun, but they also contain so much depth (just like his music). There are some monsters in this tale, so don’t start it too early if your kids are sensitive.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart: Having grown up as a bit of a nerd, I love the the four heros of this book are brainy (each in their own way). These books are fun, well written, and contain great roll models for kids. I absolutely love this series!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl: This book was serious fun. It’s certainly not scary, like both of the movie versions tend to be. It’s a good, fun read and fairly short. Probably a good first start for a read aloud. We also read the second book in this series, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and I must say I was not a fan. It was a bit too silly for my taste and didn’t seem to have much of a point compared with their first book.
The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau: This book was a very interesting read. It’s a good book that will keep kids wondering what is going to happen. We are in the middle of the second book, The People of Sparks, which is equally as interesting.
Currently we are enjoying The Green Ember by S.D. Smith. We aren’t done yet, but I love seeing how the characters (a brother and sister rabbit) deal with their problems, both internal and external. I think this will be a good book for forming the character of my own children.
I’ve also recently stumbled upon a great resource and encouragement for families wanting to add more read aloud time to their days. The Read Aloud Revival has downloadable resources and a podcast to encourage you on your read aloud journey.
What books have your family read aloud?