I am a big believer in the family read aloud. You can read a quick chapter after dinner, before bed or even in the morning before school if your people are more organized than mine.
The best thing about reading to your kids for me is that brings your family JOY through a shared experience that doesn’t entail you ever leaving the house. We are all about finding (& creating) joy around here and finding awesome experiences that cost very little (or nothing if you are a savvy library user). Win/win. Plus, reading together opens up the door for so many powerful conversations we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Still not convinced? Reading to your kids at any age is proven to make them better readers. This article in Reading Rockets sums it up in one of the best ways I’ve seen, “Reading aloud is the foundation for literacy development. It is the single most important activity for reading success (Bredekamp, Copple, & Neuman, 2000). It provides children with a demonstration of phrased, fluent reading (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996). It reveals the rewards of reading, and develops the listener’s interest in books and desire to be a reader (Mooney, 1990).”
To get you started here are 10 of our family favorites. We have kids ages 6-16 so there is something for everyone here. Don’t be afraid to read something a little harder than what your kids can read on their own, as a teacher I always aimed up in our read alouds. By the same token my high schoolers still crack up at some books that are way easy for them. This list has books from a variety of levels that everyone can enjoy listening to.
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The story of Auggie Pullman who was born with Treacher-Collins syndrome. This story showcases the power of kindness to change lives and is a must read for everyone of any age. Also should be read before you see the movie because that’s a good life rule.
This book is about to be a movie as well, so now is the perfect time to read it to your kids. This family favorite led to so many great conversations about the power of family and the power of love. Side note, it was my favorite book in 6th grade and it was so fun to read this to my kids from my tattered middle school copy.
Half magic is the story of a group of cousins that find a magic coin, but it only brings them half the magic of whatever they wish for. It was such a fun read aloud, filled with adventure and humor. If your kids loved Harry Potter they will love this one too.
Every student I have read this with has loved it and my kids cracked up at the adventures of Alex Frankovitch, as he struggles to fit in. You will laugh cry and quote this one forever.
An awesome read, especially if your kids have a lovey. In this one Edward Tulane is the stuffed bunny friend that falls overboard on a ship and then has a ton of adventures as he makes his way home. Some of this book is pretty deep but there was something for everyone here as well. Plus anything by Kate DiCamillo rocks.
These are the best audiobooks ever (special audiobook offer at the end of the article). If you have seen the movies already I seriously still recommend reading these aloud. My 4th grader kept saying, “Oh that’s why that happened! There’s so much more in the book!” Completely worthwhile to show why the book is always still important.
The story of Melody, a girl who is unable to move or communicate, but whose mind is filled with brilliance. This is one my kids listen to over and over and is filled with lessons about overcoming obstacles and that there can be way more to people with disabilities than meets the eye.
This series captured me just as much as the kids. This is the ultimate fractured fairy tale and you may find yourself going back and forth between this and your classic fairy tale book as you read about the adventures of two sisters who discover their family is so much more than they ever knew. There are a ton of books in this series and we’ve read them all over and over.
This classic is just as good today as it was when my third grade teacher read it aloud to our class. Sibling rivalry, friendship troubles, and hilarious antics are all reasons why this book has stood the test of time.
This series should be required reading for everyone. Loved it as a child and I feel like I learned more reading this to my kids. C.S. Lewis packed this series with wisdom for living life and will give you a ton to talk about.
One last note. If you don’t feel you have time to read aloud, listening to books on Audible is another great way to get that read aloud in! We actually listened to the entire Harry Potter series one summer driving to and from various summer destinations. We would sit in the driveway for 20 minutes after arriving home to finish a chapter! Audiobooks aren’t just for the car, you can listen in your living room or all our kids listen to books as they fall asleep. We have an offer for you below…2 free books just for trying their service! Give it a whirl and let us know what you think!