Friday, August 9, 2013

Establishing A Read Aloud Tradition Early

Echo flipping the pages of her current favorite book, 100 First Words. It won't be long before she is reading out load to us!
My memories of my early childhood are almost entirely made up of 3 things. Cooking, doing crafts and being read to. I guess it's no wonder that cooking, art and reading are three of my favorite grown up activities as well. I can recall countless days where my mom spent hours reading out loud to my brother and I. If it was nice out we would read on a blanket under the trees. If it was cold we would read in the living room and I would draw the characters from the story while I listened. We had certain books we would read while my dad was at work and certain books we would read all together when he got home. I remember waiting anxiously for him to arrive so we could find out what happened next in the story.

I always knew that I wanted to give my kids that same special gift of reading together as a family. Eric and I are both big readers but he didn't start reading out loud to me until I was pregnant. I loved listening to him read so much, it took me back to my childhood. After Echo was born he would read to me while I nursed her to keep me entertained. We now continue to read as a family every night. Usually Echo just crawls around and plays while we read and I'm sure she's not really listening (she also tries to steal Eric's glasses, steal the book, or turn the lights out on us) but I like to think it's good for her to be read to in any case. As she gets older we will keep reading to her every night (and day) and while it doesn't matter too much what we read right now we will have to pay more attention to our book selection as she gets old enough to listen. Right now we try to stick to things that are somewhat kid friendly (meaning no foul language mostly) but soon we will need to find things that are engaging to her that we also will enjoy.

Here is a list of suggestions for those of you who are interested in reading as a family. Most of these are better for older kids but they are all great because they appeal to kids and adults at the same time. They are also (mostly) gender neutral and would be great for boys or girls to read. Some are ones that I remember from my childhood and some are new discoveries that I have made in more recent years.

Coraline - Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling 

Odd and the Frost Giants - Neil Gaiman 

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

Redwall - Brian Jacques

East - Edith Pattou

The Golden Compass - Phillip Pullman

The Book of Three - Lloyd Alexander

Dealing With Dragons - Patricia C. Wrede

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl 

Fantastic Mr. Fox - Roald Dahl 

Matilda - Roald Dahl 

James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl 

Peter Pan and Wendy - J. M. Barrie

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum

The Magical Monarch of Mo - L. Frank Baum

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 

The Princess Bride - William Goldman

The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket and Bret Helquist

I'm sure there are so many more that I am just not remembering but this should get you started. All of theses are fantastic to read aloud and will keep the whole family glued to their seats. If you have any favorite read aloud books I would love to hear about them and file them away for future reference  Please feel free to leave comments with your favorites!

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