Reading aloud is a big part of our daily homeschool life. Our children love to be read to, and we love reading to them. Through the stories we read, they encounter epic themes, gain cultural literacy, witness heroic and dastardly deeds, and learn empathy. They also gain access to books which are above their own reading level, which enhances their vocabulary and deepens their love of reading.
Last year our eldest turned six years old so we have had a lot of fun beginning to explore longer stories, alongside our existing diet of picture books. Our four year old also joins in with listening, and his grasp and understanding of the story frequently surprises me!
I try to select books that present ideas to their minds, rather than being merely entertaining. The 19th-century educationalist Charlotte Mason called these ‘living books’ – books which spread a feast of ideas and invite an encounter with truth, goodness, and beauty. Sadly this criterion rules out a lot of the books on the shelves in our local library… Happily there are plenty of lists of such living books to be found on the internet. I have found these invaluable as starting points for choosing what to include in our read-aloud time.
Our read alouds in 2018 included:
- Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder (actually in 2017, but this was the first ‘chapter book’ I read to the children, so it warrants a special mention!)
- The Oxford Treasury of Fairy Tales, Geraldine McCaughrean
- Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
- Sophie’s Tom, Dick King-Smith
- Sophie Hits Six, Dick King-Smith
- The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
- Stories from Around the World, Heather Amery
- A Bear Called Paddington, Michael Bond
- The Impressionists, Rosie Dickens
- The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis
- Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis
- The Hundred Dresses, Eleanor Estes
- The Borrowers, Mary Norton
- Many, many picture books!
I am looking forward to even more reading aloud in 2019!