Read-Aloud Books for Families

“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:

  1. Vocabulary Practice. Discuss challenging vocabulary and give examples.
  2. Vocabulary Definitions. Model thinking aloud through the process of figuring out what an unfamiliar word might mean. Ask your child to try it.
  3. Find Similarities. Make connections between the book and your own life. Ask your child to do the same.
  4. What Happens Next? Make predictions with your child about what will happen next.
  5. Analysis. Analyze decisions made by the characters with your child. What would you do differently?
  6. Summarize. When you start reading, take turns summarizing what has happened in the book so far with your child.
  7. Author Study. Learn about the author together by searching online for interviews and biographies.
  8. 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.
  9. Compare and Contrast. Compare the book to other books you have read. Ask your child to do the same.
  10. 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.

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