Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home
We started reading to our firstborn the day we brought him home. We didn’t start with Pat the Bunny or Goodnight Moon, although those both played an important part in our story time with all our children. We started with a college textbook, Western Civilization. We just wanted him to hear the sound of our voices and to get a feel for language.
Over the years we have read hundreds of books to our three children, from board books to great classics. Reading aloud comes in two forms in our family: as part of school (we have used Sonlight’s literature-based program for the majority of our years) and before bed.
Beginning at about age 5 with each of our kids, we moved from a diet of picture books and short easy readers to serious chapter books. Don’t worry about your child not “getting” a book that is “meant” for older kids. They will.
Around age 12 or 13 the evening reading aloud ended, followed shortly by the end of our school-time read-alouds. We are down to just one child who gets all of our reading attention now, and we are determined to have lots of reading time together until he, too, prefers his own voice in his head.
Below is a list of our Top 25 favorite family read-alouds. They are in no particular order, except that I listed a few series at the end. Why did these books make the list when dozens of others didn’t quite qualify? These are the books the kids remember with almost a tender fondness and sometimes almost awe. These were books we lived in, the ones that do, indeed, seem like part of our family.