Great Books to Read Out Loud
Inspired by Natalie Hanson’s article, Reading Aloud Together for the Win, I wanted to put together a list of fun books and series to read out loud as a family.
Joss is supposed to read out loud 20 minutes each day for school. And while our bookshelves are overflowing with kid’s books, most of which we’ve read more than once, I have to admit we don’t always get our 20 minutes in. But I do love reading out loud (until my voice gets scratchy 🙂 and have great memories of doing so growing up. Indeed, reading chapter books in my dad’s downstairs “office” (it was way cooler and more comfortable than your typical office!) is a favorite childhood memory.
Books I particularly remember reading together as a child include the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Phantom Tollbooth and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Read Aloud Revival
In her article, Natalie references the new book, “The Read Aloud Family,” by Sarah Mackenzie, host of the popular Read Aloud Revival podcast. If you’re looking for read-aloud recommendations on a specific topic, this is a great place to start. The podcast is interesting to listen to, and they also have a whole page of book recommendations, broken up into categories. Everything from “picture books for ancient history” to “math read alouds,” “poetry” and much more.
If you’re looking for recommendations, this episode might be a good place to start: How to Choose Books for Your Kids.
Read-Alouds Joss and I Have Enjoyed (Or At Least Tried!)
It’s some trial and error in figuring out which books will hold Joss’s interest or not. Last week, we started Book 1 in Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series. For the first chapter, Joss was mildly interested, but mostly walking around the room. Now that we’ve met a few more of the characters, I think (?) he’s starting to get into it. If nothing else, it’s fun to quote Gurgi at random: “Crunchings and munchings?!”
For his study group, his Eliot friends are assigned to read “Charlotte’s Web.” The group has been working through that since the start of the semester. Overall, I think they like the story, but it’s just hard to get kids to sit still and listen in the middle of the afternoon, when they’ve been doing school all day! They definitely get excited whenever there’s a picture to share!
Series geared more towards his age that he’s enjoyed include the Princess in Black books, Magic Tree House and the Henry and Mudge books. Those are definitely easier to read in a single setting.
I also purchased the most adorable chapter book at Eleanor’s Bookshop, “Cora and the Crocodile.” This one is slightly longer than the Princess in Black series, for example, but is still easy enough to read out loud in a single setting. And there are a lot of pictures.
Of course, he also loves Captain Underpants and Super Diaper Baby. Those are long enough that my voice gets tired if we try to read them through all the way. But that’s up to you if you want to invite that kind of potty humor into your house! Your kids will no doubt think it’s hi-lar-ious!
Recommendations from Facebook Friends
I asked Facebook land for great read-aloud recommendations. Many of them recommended series I’d never even heard of before, but they sound fantastic! Adding several to Joss’s Christmas list 🙂
“Evie and I…just started reading chapter books at lunch time. We are reading Ramona the Pest. It’s perfect since this is Evie’s kindergarten year and the series starts with Ramona’s first day of school! We are going to read the whole series! Afterwards I plan to read Summer of the Monkeys because it was my favorite that my mother read to me as a kiddo. And being an Okie that grew up on the river bottoms it holds a dear spot in my heart:) I definitely want to read the Motorcycle Mouse series too. And Pippi Longstocking.”
“The Mac Barnett series ‘Mac B Kid Spy’ has been a favorite over the summer as our nightly reading. Definitely more appropriate for my older one (7). The 4-year-old lost interest easily but still a great read with humor that adults can appreciate. Best read in your best Queen of England impersonation ☺️ We started the Toys Go Out series for homeschool. We read the first 2 but the library can’t find the 3rd that I had on hold 😬 Written from the perspective of the toys/stuffed animals owned by a 7 year old girl. Now we are just starting Uncle Wiggly short stories.”
“My kids love the Betsy Tacy books, the Little Bo the cat books, Ramona books, My Father’s Dragon, etc.”
“My daughter loves all of the bear books by Karma Wilson. She also loves the very retro books that I enjoyed as a kid such as the Serendipity books by Stephen Cosgrove. At 4 and 5 years old we’re reading aloud some chapter books now and she is obsessed with the Zoey and Sassafras books. Catwings by Ursula Le Guin was also a favorite.”
Editor’s Note: Amber went on to say that her daughter LOVED receiving the boxed set of Zoey and Sassafras books for Christmas last year. Also, that the Zoey and Sassafras website has a TON of fun activities kids can enjoy in conjunction with the books. These include craft ideas and printables. Plus, you can even write the author!
“My kids love the Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Duesen. They are hilarious and super fun to read aloud using crazy voices for the many zany characters!”
“Bedtime Math (Series)
By Laura Overdeck
I cannot sing the praises of these books enough. If you have a kid who wants to stay awake or the kind of kid who fights anxiety as they go to sleep these may be a godsend. Doing a couple of pages from one of these books was INCREDIBLE for minimizing nighttime anxiety. It let my child have something else to think about. I would leave her in her bed musing over the hardest problem I thought she could solve, and challenge her to think up a similar story and problem.
George Brown Class Clown (19 books)
By Nancy E. Krulik & Aaron Blecha.
We loved these books, which at first worried me because they are about a kid getting into trouble, but they turned out to be really useful for conversations about not always knowing what it going on with someone else, and how sometimes we end up doing things we wish we hadn’t. It’s tough being a kid.”
Editor’s Note: She also recommends:
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle / Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary
- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
- All About Sam by Lois Lowry
- A Crocodile Ate My Homework by Pamela Graham
- Percy Jackson (Series) or The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
- Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis”
Thanks so much to Katerina Alder for sharing some of her favorite Halloween read-alouds!
So let me know: What are your favorite read-aloud books?! I’m always looking for new recommendations!