One of the most important parts of our day is our read aloud time. I have a list of books to read through each school year and we slowly work our way through the entire list.
Reading is a huge priority in our homeschool.
What books should you read aloud? All types!
Read how I choose our read alouds…
I try to choose a wide variety of books for each year. I don’t believe that all read alouds have to be above a child’s personal reading level.
I enjoy reading books of all difficulty levels with my kids – even ones that Curly (1st grade) can easily read herself. I choose books that are below level, at level, and above my kids’ ability levels.
Below level – I choose books that are below the reading and comprehension levels of my kids. These might be picture books or simple chapter books. These are books chosen for wonderful pictures, a thought-provoking story, or the lyrical writing. We spend time discussing the pictures, themes, and concepts in these books since they are shorter and easier for my kids to comprehend. When we read these, we snuggle together and turn the pages slowly to enjoy the pictures and stories.
At level – These are books that are fairly long with more complicated story lines or more in-depth themes. These books are great for narration – I ask my kids questions about the story line as we read and they narrate back what they remember. These books are also great for practicing summarizing skills.
Above level – These are the longer more challenging books with complex stories and characters and difficult vocabulary words. When I read these books, I pause often to provide short summaries and explanations to make sure that my kids are following the entire story line.
When I make our read aloud list for the year, I try to have a good mix of all 3 types of books. I want the books that we can simply enjoy, the books that are interesting and exciting, and the books that challenge and stretch my kids.
Why do I think read alouds are important?
Reading aloud does several things for my kids:
- Builds comprehension skills
- Broadens their vocabulary
- Introduces them to wonderful literature
- Initiates conversations about important topics
- Introduces new topics, time periods, and people
- Sparks thoughtful questions and discussions
- Improves their language skills
- Piques their curiosity
- Inspires their creativity
Reading aloud to my children has taken them to places around the world, taught them about people throughout history, put people and places in context, encouraged them, challenged them, caused them to ask hard questions, and furthered their passion for reading.
I have enjoyed the book The Read Aloud Handbook which makes a case for the importance of reading aloud as well as provides a lengthy book list of read aloud titles.
Here are some book lists to start building your own booklist or home library:
K-4 Read Alouds
Picture Book List
Summer Read Aloud List from Read Aloud America
Jim Trelease’s Page
List from Good Reads for chapter books
Boy Friendly Read Aloud List
100 Best Chapter Books
101 Read Alouds
67 Books that book lovers should read to children
100 Fiction Books
How do I keep their attention?
It’s easy to keep their attention when I’m reading picture books to them. They love to look at the pictures with me. With the more challenging books it’s more difficult to hold their attention and keep them engrossed in the stories. I try to find things to keep their hands busy while they sit and listen.
- coloring books
- soft blocks
- oil pastels
- play foam
- yarn and glue
- construction paper and scissors
And when I get desperate, I let them snack while I read or I give them suckers (aka: the big kids’ pacifier).
Each year we make it through an impressive stack of read alouds (and we cycle through them again in a couple years). It’s one of my favorite times spent with my kids. And even though Curly is an independent reader, I don’t have any plan to stop our tradition.
What are your favorite read alouds?
More reading inspiration