Required Reading, On Reading Aloud

required reading, on reading aloud.

I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before, dear readers, but reading aloud is one of the best things you can do for any child, whether or not that child belongs to you.  Yes, giving children uninterrupted time to read is important.  So is playing outside, limiting screen-time and making sure at least some green items on a plate are consumed before you get to the reason you got to the table in the first place.  Much like music is magic beyond all that’s done at Hogwarts, reading aloud is magic beyond anything I understand.  I know a thing or two about it from various experiences, and I can tell you for sure that I will someday be that sucker whose kid stays up way too late because she kept asking for “one more page/chapter/story.”

Anyway, if you want more than my dreamy ode to reading aloud, then you should know a couple of things.  It’s natural to read to kids when they’re too little to read on their own.  As they grow up, it’s easy to think that you should just let them read on their own.  That independent reading is a skill they have to build.  And that’s also a fact.  But that independent reading has to be balanced with listening to stories as well.  A child’s reading comprehension always lags behind her listening comprehension.  Which means she can understand complex stories better when she doesn’t have to read all those words on the page.  You’re reading them for her.  All she has to do is sit back and listen. And maybe follow along with a copy of her own.

You’re also modeling fluent reading for her.  When you read with inflection, when you take a slight pause after a comma, and when you add voices to each character (I do such a mean Hermione Granger), you are showing her what good readers do.  Rather than sitting and listening to her stumble over words, and harassing her to reread sentences that sounded too choppy for your liking, you can just read.  Read without ceasing, and let her hear how it sounds.

This list is arranged roughly by the age of the child you’d want to read to, from younger to older.

Helen Oxenbury: Google Image Result for

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (source)

The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes

The Saturdays, by Elzabeth Enright

Everything on a Waffle, by Polly Horvath

The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Jester

The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket

The Witches, by Roald Dahl

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, by Julie Andrews Edwards (yes, her!)

Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar

The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by JK Rowling

Every Living Thing, by Cynthia Rylant

Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry

Love that Dog, by Sharon Creech

Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle (not so much because it serves as a good read aloud, because there are places in the middle where it drags, but because you have to read it before you can get to…)

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

The Wave, by Todd Strasser

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck


One thought on “Required Reading, On Reading Aloud

  1. Excellent entry! Thank you so much 🙂 A friend of mine gave me “Oh, Baby, the places you’ll go!” a book to be read in utero adapted by Tish Rabe from the works of Dr Seuss. It is brilliant!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s