I’m a huge fan of reading out loud to children. Benefits include increased vocabulary, improved attention span, and greater overall academic performance, not to mention building fond memories with your kids!
Most of us don’t have a problem with the idea of reading out loud to our children, but we frequently get stymied when it comes to picking out the right books. That’s why I’m sharing my favorite read-aloud books, giving you a launching point to build your own favorite book list.
Note that this list is not comprehensive; it’s just my all-time favorites. I’ll be sharing age-specific recommendations from time to time, so check back soon for more titles. In the meantime, be sure to keep in mind these tips for making your read-aloud time a success. And now, for the books…
All-time favorite read-aloud series:
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. My dad read these books to us more than once when I was a child, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reliving those moments with my own children. Amazing imagery, character development, and spiritual insights. By far my very favorite!
- Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My parents bought me this book set over 30 years ago, and I never tire of reading the fantastic way she has captured the American pioneer spirit. Definitely worth owning and reading again and again. And for long car trips, I highly recommend the Harper Audio CD set with Cherry Jones narrating and Paul Woodiel bringing Pa’s fiddle to life for a modern audience.
- Mr. Putter and Tabby by Cynthia Rylant. Written for younger readers, these delightful books are funny enough to read with the whole family. Cynthia Rylant’s unique turn-of-the-phrase and humorous tales will have the whole family laughing.
All-time favorite authors (in addition to the authors of the series listed above):
- Elizabeth George Speare. This lady can write historical fiction like no one else. Everything we’ve read by her is fantastic. She always evokes strong emotion, creates believable characters, and makes history come alive for young and old alike. Specific titles include The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Bronze Bow, and The Sign of the Beaver.
- Andrew Clements. Again, we’ve enjoyed every book we’ve read by Andrew Clements. No exceptions. The kids in his books have believable-but-not-insurmountable problems, and the adults are caring, smart, and supportive. Win. Win. Plus, he always mixes in a good dose of kid-appreciated humor while tackling real-life, present-day issues. Titles we’ve read include Frindle, No Talking, Lunch Money, Extra Credit, Room One, and The Janitor’s Boy. While we haven’t read every title, this is definitely an author worth checking out.
- Ezra Jack Keats. If you watched Captain Kangaroo in the 1970s, you know all about these delightful picture books. Although written for a younger audience, we still keep some of these titles on our current bookshelves. The pictures alone are worth getting down from time to time. Our favorites include Whistle for Willie, The Snowy Day, Peter’s Chair, Letter to Amy, and Jennie’s Hat.
Again, be sure to check back soon for more recommendations. Have a book, series, or author to add to the list? Please leave a comment below. I’m always on the lookout for our next family reading adventure!
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