Read Aloud

The road down memory lane is paved with read-aloud books.Questions 15

I watched the clock intently. When the big hand was on ten and the little on three, my stomach started turning, I felt nauseous, occasionally I even threw-up. This ailment persisted for four years of elementary school – because at 10:30 I was pulled out of class and taken to remedial reading. I hated reading. I hated books. I hated being singled out for being “dumb.¨ Then in fifth grade something changed- instead of a sick feeling I got cookies and milk. At exactly 10:30 a cart rolled into the room with milk and cookies. I munched on my raisin oatmeal cookie and sipped my milk as mind traveled to unknown places as my teacher read aloud. Iḿ almost fifty and I can still remember the books Mr. Foley read aloud. “Mandy,” “The Great Brain” series, and my favorite childrenś book of all time, “Where the Red Fern Grows.” I simply couldn’t wait til tomorrow to find out what happened to the Great Brain  – I went to the library, checked out the books – and this reluctant, remedial reader became obsessed with reading. I learned that the right book read aloud at the right time can change reluctant readers to book junkies.

I remember the last book my mom read aloud to me. I was in sixth grade. We lived in North Dakota and the winter felt like Danteś ninth layer of hell. After school, I cuddle up on the couch, under a quilt, drinking hot cocoa, as my mom read aloud. She read, ¨The Girl of the Limberlost,¨ saying it was her favorite books when she was my age. To be perfectly honest, I thought  the story was boring – but it didn’t matter – I felt a close bond with my mom. In my mind, I pictured her sitting on a couch, under a quilt, drinking hot cocoa as her older sister read the same book to her. My motherś words, as she read, floated around me and warmed my insides more than the cocoa. I learned that reading aloud creates a special bond between the reader and the listener.

Justification 6

When my oldest children were five and eight – I read a biography of Helen Keller After it was finished I asked the kids to tell me about the book. My eight-year-old told me a timeline of Helenś life – all the dates and places included – but he failed to mention that she had a disability. My five year old detailed her disability, saying how God made each of us special and can use each of us.You would have though I read two different books. I learned that children hear and process information differently.

Once, I read  “Johnny Tremain” out loud at lunchtime. My husband happened to be home for lunch – he forbid (or rather begged) me not to continue reading unless he was at home for lunch. He didn’t want to miss a moment. I learned reading aloud bonds a family together.

CPS called us to foster a fifteen year old girl. She had been sitting in the police station, for stealing a car for three days. She told us, all tough like, that she was being initiated into a gang. One of the things I remember most about her is that she would plop onto the couch next to me, as close as she could get, lay her head on my shoulder and ask me to read to her. I learned that reading aloud can melt hardened hearts.

Justification 4

Another sweet foster daughter we had was just a year old. The only book she wanted me to read was “Mama, Do you love me?” I must have read it dozens of times a day as she sat on my lap and twirled my hair in her little fingers. When we lost custody of her – I gave her the book. To this day, I can’t read the book aloud to my daughter or grandkids without sobbing. I learned that books are attached to memories and just the mention of a certain book that was read aloud at a certain time of your life will bring all the emotions of that time flooding back to you.

I remember reading “The Giver” in seventh grade, and I’ve read it to all of my kids. When many Junior High girls want little to do with their Mom, my daughter sat on my bed until two in the morning as I read it – we simply had to keep reading. One of my students came to me crying one day. She been assigned  “The GIver” by her English teacher. The content so upset her and she hated the book. I learned that the content of the book, the emotional maturity of the reader must be considered alongside the reading level. I also learned that heavy subject books are often better as read alouds – even with older students – because some books must be dissected  and discussed.

My eighteen year old just confessed that he has no clue how “Where the Red Fern Grows” ends – because I was crying so hard at the end of the book that he couldn’t understand a word I read. I told him he could read it himself. “No thanks – Iḿ not into dog books.” I learned one person’s favorite book is not another’s.

Inside the binding of a read-aloud lies not just a story but a Pandora box of memories.

Hereś a few of my favorite read alouds. They are not listed by subject. This is not the end all list. This will not be your list. This is my list of go to read- alouds. This is my list of books I love.

*Are my don’t miss books – my favorites.

1 Book  to read aloud to a One-Year-Old

  1. Doggies by Sandra Boynton (forget this is about numbers – but please make different sounds for each dog – promised to make your child laugh and say “Again! Again!”)

2 Books  to read aloud to a Two-Year-Old

  1. Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown
  2. But Not the Hippopotamus  by Sandra Boynton

3 Books  to read aloud to the Three-Year-Old

  1. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  2. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes Mem Fox*
  3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle

4 Books  to read aloud to to the Four-Year-Old

  1. Curious George by H.A. Ray
  2. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  3. Weŕe Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  4. The Spooky Old Tree by  Stan and Jan Berenstain
Dragon 15

In my opinion, the BEST chapter book to read aloud

5 books to read aloud to Five-Year-Old

  1. The Story of the Root Children Sibylle von Olfers
  2. Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow
  3. King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood*
  4. My Fatherś Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (in my opinion the BEST first read-aloud chapter book)
  5. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne





6 Books  to read aloud to a Six-Year-Old

  1. Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter
  2. Old Mother West Wind by Thornton Burgess
  3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Ericsson*
  4. The Velveteen Rabbit  by Margery Williams*
  5. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  6. Owls in the Family  by Farley Mowat
alice in wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

7 Books  to read aloud to a Seven-Year-Old

  1. Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis*
  2. The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka
  3. Charlotteś Web by E.B. White
  4. One Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  5. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  6. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  7. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll





wind in willows

Wind in Willows

8 Books  to read aloud to a Eight-Year-Old

  1. Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  2. Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
  3. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
  4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  5. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
  6. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry
  7. Frindle by Andrew Clements
  8. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame*





9 Books  to read aloud to a Nine-Year-Old

  1. Cricket in Time Square by George Selden
  2. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
  3. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  4. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
  5. Gentle Ben by Walt Morey
  6. BFG by by Roald Dahl
  7. From the Mixed-Up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by  E. L. Konigsburg
  8. Stuart Little by E.B. White
  9. The Railway Children by E Nesbit

10 Books  to read aloud to a Ten-Year-Old

  1. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
  2. The Twenty One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
  3. Little Britches by Ralph Moody
  4. Caddy Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
  5. The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
  6. The Courage of Sarah Noble  by Alice Dalgliesh
  7. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  8. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
  9. Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
  10. Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
secret garde

The Secret Garden

11 Books  to read aloud to  a Eleven-Year-Old

  1. The Great Brain by John Fitzgerald*
  2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls*
  3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  4. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  5. The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
  6. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  7. Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Gray Vining
  8. Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
  9. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowlings
  10. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  11. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

12 Books  to read aloud to a Twelve-Year-Old

  1. The Hobbit by  J. R. R. Tolkien*
  2. The Cay by Theodore Taylor*
  3. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.*
  4. Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare*
  5. Door in the Wall  by Marguerite de Angeli
  6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  7. Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
  8. Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  9. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  10. Cheaper by the Dozen by Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
  11. A Wrinkle in TIme by Madeleine L’Engle
  12. The Phantom Tollbooth  by Norton Juster
lettle women

Little Women

10 Books  to read aloud to a Junior Higher

  1. The Lord of the RIngs by  J. R. R. Tolkien*
  2. And Then There were None by Agatha Christie
  3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne*
  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  5. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  6. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  7. Shane  by Jack Schaefer
  8. Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Beowulf
  10. Godś Smuggler by Brother Andrew*




10 Books  to read aloud to  a Senior Higher (all lead to excellent discussion)

  1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
  2. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton*
  3. My Sisterś Keeper by Jodi Picoult*
  4. The Giver  by Lois Lowry*
  5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  6. Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals*
  7. Freedom Writers  by Erin Gruwell and Freedom Writers
  8. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  9. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  10. Lord of the Flies  by William Golding



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