Reading Aloud TO Your Children Throughout Childhood
Because I am a storyteller by nature, sharing stories with others brings me incredible joy. With this in mind, I am obsessed with reading as a family.
A trip to the library or bookstore is exciting for me because I love books. Looking through all the book covers, flipping through pages of text and images lights up my day. Book -lovers are famous for hoarding books in their Amazon carts. Likewise, my Amazon wish list is loaded with over 500 book titles that I dream to one day read.
Most importantly, my greatest joy is when we are reading as a family. Honestly, some of the sweetest times that we have had in our homeschool is our time enjoying books together. When I think back over the past 9 years of school, my heart swells the most when I reminisce about our times sharing a story together.
“Sharing Story” Memories
All in all, there is nothing I get more excited for each day than the time when we “press pause” and begin reading as a family.
- Those beautiful spring days when my girls and I would read for hours while relaxing on the screened-in porch.
- Or the freezing-cold winter snow days when we would all curl up on the couch and get lost in Narnia.
- Reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales while the girls sat at the kitchen island eating breakfast.
- Reading Hop on Pop with my 5 year-old son while at the kitchen table
- Or exploring the anatomy of spiders and butterflies with him through books
- And with my girls, hanging out in one of our rooms late at night, reading devotions together
- Heck, even reading from our Science book is amazing!
I simply love reading anything with my family.
Flexibility is Key When Reading As a Family
Regardless of where we are or what season we are in, we can always find a reading spot and a good story to share.
During our Read Aloud time, the girls (and my son, who is now interested in listening in), draw or doodle. My oldest went through a Rubik’s Cube phase as well. She would manipulate that Cube the entire time I read to them. However, she was always engaged in the story line despite the “distraction.”
Recently, it has become common within the homeschooling community to create shared experiences through books and stories. It is important to realize that reading aloud as a ritual and natural habit of school and home life is incredibly beneficial. Thank you, Ms. Sarah MacKenzie, at the Read Aloud Revival for sharing this passion with the world. (I highly recommend you check out her podcast!)
Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Children as Family
By and large, reading aloud TO your children provides many benefits:
- The exposure to beautiful and well-written language
- Similarly, exposure to ideas and principles that are common in higher-level literature
- Even more beneficial, developing a love for books as a form of entertainment (no screens!)
- Additionally, for those with Auditory Processing Disorder, reading aloud gives your child opportunities to develop the skill of listening and visualizing
- family cohesion and bonding
- a natural set-up for the school day
- much needed mental break after more laborious school tasks (math, reading, writing)
- Sharing stories creates conversations that may not otherwise occur
- the list goes on.
While eating dinner with my family a few weeks ago, we had a conversation about our favorite books that we have read throughout the years.
My Family’s Top Memory-Making Books
Without further delay, here is our list of favorite books to share as a family. Hope you enjoy!
Undoubtedly, this is one of C.S. Lewis’s best books ever! The story of Aslan and Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy is a classic story that can be read over and over again.
Are you noticing a theme? We love C.S. Lewis. Consequently, we believe the entire Narnia Series is phenomenal! Every story of the land of Narnia is filled with rich concepts and language and yet so intriguing for all ages.
Who doesn’t love Ramona? For one thing, she is hilarious and quirky! Her antics are always getting her into trouble. Keeping this in mind, our young readers can often relate to her questions about life. We love Ramona! As a matter of fact, we have read them all multiple times. This is a classic series for all ages.
Once we find an author we enjoy, we tend to stick with them. As a matter of fact, according to my 13 year-old daughter, the Henry Huggins series, “is like Ramona Quimby except its Henry. Its fun to read about Henry and his adventures with his dog.” 🙂 Without doubt, Beverly Cleary will always be a favorite author in our home.
I held a book club for my middle daughter and some friends last summer. We read Flora and Ulysses and had a blast. Lots of beautiful comic-version illustrations. The book is NOT a comic, but it is about a little girl who enjoys comics and squirrels. Fun!!
To reiterate, we love our favorite authors. In addition to Flora and Ulysseys, Because of Winn Dixie is another favorite by Kate DiCamillo. It is such a sweet story about a young girl who lives with her father. In spite of her mother’s recent departure, Opal adjusts well under the circumstances. One morning, she befriends a precious mutt and many quirky townspeople. Above all, they enjoy adventures. Sucked us all in and was an easy, relaxing read!
This is an intriguing story about a gorilla living in a mall. Given that the animals live in captivity, there are scenes that are pretty disheartening. Thus, more tender-hearted children may want to skip this. The relationship between Ivan and a baby elephant is precious. hat he can Sweet story.
Elizabeth George Speare
My oldest and I absolutely LOVED this book! There is a major romance component that is simply magical. For this reason, I would recommend this book for 5th grade and up. Historical fiction at its best!
This story follows the journey of a beautiful young lady who is suddenly living in Puritan New England. She befriends a lovely woman whom the townspeople refer to as a “witch.” In the long run, our protagonist shakes up the town. The story is amazing!
As mentioned previously, Elizabeth George Spears is an amazing historical fiction writer. Accordingly, the Sign of the Beaver does not disappoint. It is based in the newly colonized Americas. story follows a young boy left alone to fend for himself in early America. Despite this, he develops a friendship with a Native American teen. In short, this story is phenomenal.
Clara Dillingham Pierson
Clara Dillingham Pierson wrote a series of phenomenal children’s books based upon various natural settings including farm animals, creatures found in meadows, forests and water. Included in the series are Among the Night People, Among the Meadow People, Among the Pond People, Among the Forest People, & Among the Farmyard People. These stories are amazing read-alouds and are incredibly well-written literature.
From time to time, my oldest daughter has experienced insomnia. In fact, at the age of 7, her insomnia lasted for about a year. I couldn’t let her suffer alone in the dark of night. Consequently, I would lie on her floor and read this series aloud to her from my Kindle. As horrible as the insomnia was, God did create a sweet memory for us through this shared series. In light of that, this series has a special place in my heart!
This is a collection of classic stories told in a highly engaging format.
When short on time, Fifty Famous Stories Retold is a great choice. Throw it in the car in the event that you become stuck in traffic.
The Shared Stories Challenge
Even if you haven’t developed the habit of sharing stories aloud as a family, give it a try.
In light of all of the benefits of reading aloud as a family, why not give it a shot? Choose a title and read it together over the next month (or two). Even five minutes together in story will create a safe and cozy memory for your family.
Let me know if you are trying this Shared Stories Reading Challenge. Read aloud and don’t force your kids to read. In the hopes that you may instill a love of books in your children, I encourage you to read to them.
Now that we have discussed the benefits of reading aloud as a family, check out my series on different reading instruction strategies for kids who learn differently.