After my kids started reading on their own, I stopped reading to them. At first it was kind of nice, but then I really missed it. I noticed a friend of mine with older children was still reading aloud to her kids and I realized I was missing out on sharing one of my favorite past times with my very favorite people, so I resolved to start reading to my kids again.
I was surprised when they absolutely LOVED it. They looked forward to our book every night, asked me to bring it in the car and begged for just one more chapter. It has become one of my top family activities because we get to share an experience and a story together. So much of our life pulls us in crazy directions, I love things that bind us tighter and reading is one of them.
Here is a list of the books that have made us laugh, cry, and gasp together (in the order I would read them, younger kids to older kids). Do you have any favorite family read alouds? I would love to add them to my “to read” list.
Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo: These are short chapter books with plenty of pictures that my boys of all ages have loved. If you want to start reading aloud, these are perfect for younger boys and shorter attention spans.
The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo: This was also a nice stepping stone with pictures every few pages and an engaging story line that works for younger minds.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl: This is a great story for the imagination, plus we love any book that becomes a a movie. Watching the movie after you read the book is fantastic as you hear your kids exclaim, “Wait! They got that wrong!” “That didn’t happen!” So fun.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary: As a mom, you are dying to read your boys Ramona books, and they may like those, but they will LOVE The Mouse and the Motorcycle by the same author. This one is great for a younger audience too!
Matilda by Roald Dahl: This was also fantastic, but a little brutal for the very young. I would say this is one of my boys very favorites and watching the movie after the book was icing on the cake.
Skinnybones by Beverly Park: This book made us all laugh out loud. We read it on a road trip and could not get enough. Highly recommended for kids 3rd grade and older.
Gregor the Overlander Series by Suzanne Collins: By far, our favorite family read aloud. We read all 5 books together and loved them all. The first books start out okay for a younger audience but the 4th and 5th get a little darker, so beware. Great for 3rd grade and older.
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit: This one moved a bit more slowly but the writing is absolutely beautiful. Having me read it helped my kids get through it. They were mostly interested, but I did loose my younger ones here and there. The reward was watching the movie at the end which was nothing like the book. Great themes and ideas to discuss.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio: This book is one of the all-time greatest pieces of Young Adult Fiction. My kids were glued to every word and completely enthralled by the story. I loved reading it together because there was SO much discussion that took place. Best for 4th grade and up.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George : This book is all boy, so I had a hard time getting through it but my boys thought it was incredible. A young boy lives on his own on the mountain side with his bird. It is full of outdoor adventure. There is also a movie, but we have not watched it…may do that this summer.
The Giver by Lois Lowry: Another all time great book. I loved sharing this book with my boys because I have loved it so much for so long. It was also my litmus test for my oldest on weather he was ready to read The Hunger Games. If he understood a dystopian society and was outraged by it, I felt he was ready for The Hunger Games. My younger two were a little lost at times on this one, so best for 4th and up.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan : Another reason I love reading to my kids is because it gives me a chance to introduce them to new genres of literature. They are happy to listen to me read books they would never pick up on their own. This was the case with Esperanza Rising and they have loved the heart-wrenching story of a young, wealthy Mexican girl who moves to America to work in the migrant farm camps. Great for 3rd grade and up.
I would love to hear what books you love to read as a family so we can put them on our list, and I will keep this list growing!
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