When I started talking to people about doing this blog, this topic was my first request. My friend was looking for books she could read to her granddaughter and she wanted recommendations. There are so many wonderful books out there. Here’s a collection — some of them tried and true, others just highly recommended.
First, before recommending any read-aloud book, I have to put in a plug for a book.
Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook is an inspiration and will make you want to keep reading to your kids, even when they’re teenagers. I read to my students right up through 8th grade, and we all loved it. There is nothing to replace reading aloud when it comes to experiencing a story together. This book is chock full of reading recommendations — so take a look if you need more.
1. Laura Ingalls Wilder The Little House series. I read these to my oldest when he was in kindergarten and he loved them. There were just enough pictures so that one popped up just when his attention was beginning to wane. Of course, reading them aloud somewhat spoiled them for when he was older and ready to read them on his own, but by then he wouldn’t have been much interested in them anyway. The entire series kept us going for quite awhile and the images are so powerful! I’ll never forget the locust storm or the “Injuns” coming to the homestead. Good solid reading!
2. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham — The language is what makes this book so completely rich and enjoyable. It can also make it a little bit hard to follow for a really little one. A little bit of animation provided by the reader, lots of inflection, pauses for comments, and even replacing the really difficult words if necessary can turn this into a book that is not to be missed! When my children were really little we had an abridged version with beautiful pictures that they all loved. Now we savor the deliciousness of the complete original.
3. The Borrowers by Mary Norton — What a fun little book about a teeny tiny family that lives under the floor in a house that they share with an elderly shut-in we only know as “Her.” It took awhile for my children to imagine that we had borrowers living in our house, too, but ever since we discovered them we’re finding more and more things missing that they must have found use for.
4. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White — There’s a reason this book is on every list. It is wonderful. We read it twice back to back. Read it, even if your child has seen the movie. (If your little one hasn’t seen the movie, please, read, don’t watch.)
5. Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson — Okay, we haven’t actually read this one yet, but I can’t imagine why it shouldn’t be on this list. Everyone should have their “Old Yeller” story, and how much more wonderful to be able to share yours with your child!
6. (Because I have to mention one more) The Five Little Peppers And How They Grew, by Margaret Sidney — This was another one that had all three of my children sitting by the couch listening. It is such a simple little story, but quite nice, and the children are so polite and thoughtful throughout — great modelling!
There are so many other wonderful books out there, this list is by no means exhaustive. Please, comment with your suggestions!