Are you too tired, too busy, or too distracted to make time to read aloud?
You spend all day as teacher, chef, housekeeper, peacemaker, chauffeur, you name it—
There are countless benefits to family read aloud sessions that go well beyond the educational, and these benefits outweigh all your reasons for skipping it!
In addition to creating priceless family memories, these read aloud moments also give mom the chance to revisit her favorite childhood books or read the ones she missed the first time around. It is also a fantastic way to wind down your household after a hectic day.
Even once your children begin reading proficiently on their own, family read aloud time still offers wonderful opportunities for the whole family to gather together and simply enjoy each other with great literature.
Need help to begin reading aloud or keep it up?
If you find that the time you designate for family reading aloud always slips by, here is a helpful hint:
Set a timer for your desired reading time. I found that 15 – 20 minutes before “lights out” is ample time to read a chapter or two.
It wasn’t until I placed this desire in my heart that this time became a reality. Once I did, I was amazed how quickly read aloud time became our regular nightly routine.
In fact, it was considered a harsh punishment by my kids to skip our bedtime stories! They grew to LOVE this special time, even through their teen years!
Don’t know what books to read, for each age?
Here are my all-time favorite booklists! I kept a copy of each ready in hand when I went to the library or requested books online.
Once you get familiar with favorite authors you can pick up great book bargains at the local thrift store or library book sale. My library keeps a section of used books for sale and I often find great hardcover copies of treasured family favorites.
- A Mother’s List of Books by Theresa Fagan – My all time FAVORITE, lists by age with annotations too!
- For the Love of Literature by Maureen Wittmann – A great chapter on reading aloud with tons of book recommendations.
- The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease – Great tips and a great list, especially for reading aloud to children!
- Program for Achieving Character Education by Monica Speach – Wonderful literature suggestions organized by age, the virtues, and much more!
- A Landscape with Dragons by Michael O’Brien – There is a great list on the back of book cover.
- Let the Authors Speak by Carolyn Hatcher – There are plenty of used copies and worth finding if you love history.
- Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories by William Kilpatrick – Virtue based categories and also by age.
- Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt – A classic with beloved books, especially for the younger crowd.
- Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson – Her lists contain books by topic, great to coordinate with your children’s interests, all by age!
Get everyone involved in read aloud time!
A wonderful tip to involve and interest every member of the family in read aloud time is to let each person take turns choosing the books.
Additionally, designate specific nights so each child may take his/her turn in reading aloud. This gives your children an opportunity to practice reading plus it helps them to become effective public speakers.
Hearing books read aloud also fosters better writing skills. According to Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, to become a better writer, you need to draw upon the foundations of the patterns within language.
What better way to strengthen that foundation than by reading aloud, where the nuances and characteristics of language come alive. Reading aloud forces the reader to slow the pace and really process the information, processing the whole picture.
Once children accomplish reading, many tend to skim or scan through pages of a book as they read silently. They miss so much, but if they read aloud, the content is displayed as complete rather than choppy fragments.
For example, our older boys were really struggling with reading Shakespeare’s plays. This is until they decided to read it aloud to one another. They were astonished at how quickly and clearly they could grasp the concepts and summarize the content simply by hearing it out loud!
And that goes for just about any really good story!
You understand language patterns, dialogue, plot points and characterizations best when you read aloud, as you force yourself to speak every single word the author wrote, in the sequence they wrote it!
By reading aloud you teach your kids the beginning steps of reading with a deeper understanding!
What are your favorite read aloud time books? Share them in the comments below!
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Thank you Paola for the lead this rich article. I have purposed to read aloud daily going forward.
Another great resource is Sarah Mackenzie’s Read Aloud Revival podcast. She’s a Catholic Homeschool mom who promotes reading aloud to our kids of all ages. She has also written two great books— Teaching from Rest and The Read Aloud Family. She also has tons of great booklists and recommendations, including newer books and authors that will not be in the resources you listed. .
Thanks Joan! Yes, Sarah does such a great service to families with her Read Aloud Revival.