Reading to your children is a bonding experience, even from a young age. There is no need to convince you to read to your little one, because it’s an activity that most likely comes naturally to most parents. The question is, how long do we continue to read to our kids? Do we cease once they learn how to read? Do we send them off to their room with an easy reader or chapter book and wish them the best?
Well, there is a time for independent reading once we are confident that their comprehension level is above 90% for their level, but we should always strive to see them reach a higher reading level. This can be achieved by continuing to read to our children, even in the upper elementary grades, junior high years, and beyond.
I still remember listening to my seventh grade teacher excitingly share with our English class, “Where the Red Fern Grows.” At the beginning of class, we would be on the edge of our seats caught up in this adventurous story. Some of my most vivid memories from school are the times when my teachers read aloud to the class. This environment provides for risk-free learning, where children aren’t intimidated but simply absorb the information presented. The images from the story are created in their mind, not formulated for them like in a movie or television show. They are challenged with higher level vocabulary words, in context, which can help them become familiar with new terms in a unique format. They even can receive more from a book when the teacher reads with different inflections and tones, drawing the children more deeply into the story.
Don’t be afraid that the book is over their head.. Allow time to present new words while you are reading and provide opportunities for your children to ask questions if they don’t understand what is presented. So far, in our homeschool, we have read many quality books as a family. We’ve successfully pressed through the entire Little House on The Prairie Series. When they were younger we read stories such as A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. My boys enjoyed Last of the Mohicans and my daughter is loving our current book, Black Beauty.
In addition to the titles mentioned above, here are some more titles that could be shared as a read aloud with your family:
- Woodsong by Gary Paulsen
- Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
- Sounder by William H. Armstrong
- The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
- Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Spear
- Old Yeller by Fred Gibson
- Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
- The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
- Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt