Reading aloud with the kids is a huge priority in our house. There are so many benefits to reading with children, including real quality time and exposing them to books they might not pick up on their own. I have one child that reads voraciously but I don’t think she completely understands what she is reading. The other child has a surprising grasp of really subtle humor and complex storylines but she won’t voluntarily pick up a book to save her life. Reading aloud with them at night benefits both kids- I can get my reluctant reader into a story and I can slow down my voracious reader’s roll to be sure she is thinking and understanding.
Since the girls have different interests, we don’t always read the same books and I tend to alternate nights reading with each child. I thought I would share some favorites that we have read together and a handful on my to- read list in case you are interested in reading aloud with your little ones.
These are chapter books and my kids are 8 and 9. I tried to pick books that would appeal to boys and girls of elementary age. I would love to hear your favorites in the comments below! We are always looking for more books to add to our library queue.
This book is not light and uplifting by any means but it was really hard to put down and led to some fascinating conversations with my girls. It is the story of a little boy that is forced to release his pet fox into the wild after his father enlists in the military. Peter finds himself 300 miles away from Pax (his fox) and sets out on an adventure to get his fox back. Meanwhile, Pax is on his own adventure learning to live in the wild and waiting for the return of his boy.
I know, I know super predictable to include Harry Potter and it is a loooong one so these have taken us ages to get through. But the stories are so delightful and magical for children, I had to include the first in the series. My 9 year old and I have made it through the first 4 books reading aloud over the past two years and we just started book 5. We tend to take breaks in between and I have found it fairly easy to jump in and out of the wizarding world.
Another classic novel that is so great to get a child’s imagination going. I love this one for so many reasons including getting the children to understand a simpler time. We are about 2/3 of the way through with this one. I started Little House on the Prairie a few years ago with my older daughter and she never really got into it. Now we moved back to Little House in the Woods with my 8 year old and she is really enjoying it. I loved these books as a child and they are a delight to read again with my little girl.
This is a great follow up to Little House in the Big Woods or an alternative to that series if your children aren’t into the books. Louisa is lost when her father is accused of stealing from the neighbors. She is forced to live with the same neighbors while her father awaits trial. The one bright spot is befriending the neighbor’s orphaned niece, Jessamine, who introduces her to a cranky, old gnome that just might help her discover the secret to set her father free.
I loved this book (and actually read it years ago for pleasure) and picked it up again to read with my 9 year old. It is the story of Opal, a 10 year old girl that comes home with a stray dog one day. Winn-Dixie helps Opal learn about her deceased Mother and opens her up to discovering all the fascinating people around her. This is a beautiful story about family and friendship.
You might remember this book from your own childhood but it is still a classic that will charm many children. The story is about an 8 year old boy that loses a bet and has to eat a worm a day for 15 days. If you have kids that enjoyed Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this might be a great option to pick up.
This one leads to great conversations about how to be discerning with friends- telling the real ones apart from the ones that aren’t genuine.
The subject matter on this one is deep, so a great option for read aloud so the kids can ask questions and better understand the context.
This is the story of the Danish Resistance during WWII as they successfulyl smuggle almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark into safety in Sweden. The story is told from the perspective of a 10 year old girl whose family is attempting to conceal her best friend (a Jew) as part of their own family. I have not yet read this novel but Lois Lowry receives award after award after award for her beautiful novels and I can’t wait to get started. We have this up next on our to read list.
Another classic (I know- I am super predictable.) Everyone has seen the cartoon right? But the actual story is full of magic and adventure. The story is very different from the Disney version but many kids will enjoy this novel.
This one I had hoped to get to this summer and we ran out of time. This book gets rave reviews and is supposed to be light and fun (a nice alternative to the heavier options above)- here is the quick summary from the publisher:
“In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.
To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.”
Both of my girls loved the Magic Tree House books and I think this one looks like something that would be a great follow up to those books.
This story is told from the perspective of Ivan, a captured gorilla that has lived behind glass for 27 years. Ivan fills his days painting, with his friends and watching television but when a baby elephant, joins him, Ivan begins to rethink his life behind glass and his art.
There is beautiful art to illustrate this book and keep the kids engaged in this lovely story. The author communicates the power of friendship, how to overcome loneliness and despair. This is a quick read that is perfect for younger kids (Kinder and up) or older kids.
Now its your turn! Which books are your family favorites?
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