“A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade,” says Jim Trelease in his article about reading to children. (See the article here.) Reading books together as a family allows time for bonding, talking, and sharing experiences. This is a list of a few of my favorite series for reading aloud with children:
- Oz: The Complete Collection by L. Frank Baum
- Beverly Cleary books
- Roald Dahl books
- The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
- American Girl Collection
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Parents, do these things:
- Vocabulary Practice. Discuss challenging vocabulary and give examples.
- Vocabulary Definitions. Model thinking aloud through the process of figuring out what an unfamiliar word might mean. Ask your child to try it.
- Find Similarities. Make connections between the book and your own life. Ask your child to do the same.
- What Happens Next? Make predictions with your child about what will happen next.
- Analysis. Analyze decisions made by the characters with your child. What would you do differently?
- Summarize. When you start reading, take turns summarizing what has happened in the book so far with your child.
- Author Study. Learn about the author together by searching online for interviews and biographies.
- Extend the Learning. If applicable, learn about the time period in the book. Find recipes or games from that time period and try them out as a family.
- Compare and Contrast. Compare the book to other books you have read. Ask your child to do the same.
- Recommend. With your child, practice recommending the book by giving a brief summary and stating why you like the story. Then, find a friend or grandparent and share your recommendation.