Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Our Favorite Read Aloud Books

We are a family that LOVES reading aloud.

We began when our first child was just 6 months, and we haven't stopped. Along the way, we expanded from bedtime reading during our 10-11 hour car trips (I didn't want to just throw them in front of electronics) to visit family. To save our voices, we started using audiobooks on CD. Our first trip using audiobooks was probably about when the kids were 4 and 6 years old. They are now 8 and 10, and any car trip over 2 hours includes a book on CD. When we're at home, we read aloud after dinner or during quiet moments during the weekends. Some of the schoolwork we do as read-alouds too, because sometimes, reading aloud is what it takes to get them interested in the book enough for them to read it independently.

There's so many reasons we love reading aloud:
  • It introduces ours kids to more advanced literature, with more vocabulary and complex sentence structure, than they can read independently.
  • It lets them explore different genres that they are unlikely to pick on their own.
  • It something we can all participate in and enjoy as a family, creating wonderful bonding moments and something we can all talk about together.
  • It fosters discussion about a lot of different topics, opening up many teachable moments. There's history, sociology, psychology, science, culture...
I keep a running list of all the books we've been reading, but here are some of my favorites (the links below link to the book listings at the Goodreads website, where I like to review the books we've read. Because the reviews may have spoilers, beware of that if you want to read people's comments):

Wonder - R. J. Palacio - Wonderful story about being different and finding your place. 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  - C.S. Lewis. We loved the whole Narnia series, but especially this first one.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Grace Lin . Beautiful, fanciful story taking place in China

Tales of the Kingdom -  David and Karen Mains - Allegorical tale of God's Kingdom. This is a trilogy and we loved the entire thing.

   Little House series - Laura Ingalls Wilder - Loved these classics!

Treasures of the Snow - Patricia St. John - A heartwarming story of forgiveness and love and change of heart.
Winnie-the-Pooh - A.A. Milne (and of course, the House at Pooh Corner too) - Always a classic

The World According to Humphrey - Betty Birney  - fun, but also touching, story told from the point of view of the classroom hamster.  We read the whole series, and I wouldn't say we loved ALL of them, but I loved the first one, and many of the others were very good as well.

Little Britches Series - Ralph Moody -  This is an autobiographical series written about the author's boyhood, in the early 1900s. It's almost like a 'Little House' series for boys. The first installment starts with the family moving west to become ranchers in Colorado, and the remaining books follow Ralph to various places in the US as their family moves around. There's a wonderful theme of hard work and resourcefulness and family that runs through the series. 

The Hobbit - J. R.R. Tolkien - This is one of our favorite classic fantasy stories. It's got quite a lot of humor and adventure in it.