My husband and I are both voracious readers. He prefers nonfiction, while I’ll take a good novel anyday. Sometimes, our interests overlap which is fun for discussion. And sometimes one of us will give the other’s favorite a go. Like when he started to read Pride and Prejudice this past winter. He didn’t get very far, but my heart was touched that he would even try.
Since we love to read, it’s become a favorite family pasttime to read together aloud. It started when a friend long, long ago gave me a book entitled, Honey for a Child’s Heart. It’s a great book for instilling a love for reading in your kids. Not only does it talk about reading aloud as a family, but it also contains a very in-depth catalog of recommended books for children of all age groups. (Another good book in the same vein is called The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. It is considered a classic among educators.)
I am a book-worm by nature, but family read alouds weren’t what we did in my family when I was a child. Instead, to each his own. So, this has been a new practice for me as I walk through it with my kids. And although the two older ones are very independent readers, they still love to listen. They just get impatient and sneak the book when I’m not looking in order to read ahead.
Currently, we’re working our way through CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. (A definite reread at our house.) Other books that we’ve really enjoyed are Old Yeller, The Cricket in Times Square, and The Little House on the Prairie.
If you’ve never tackled this before, it’s not too late. Choose a book that would interest the range of ages residing under your roof and cuddle up on the couch and start reading. (The above recommendations work for everybody.) You’ll be surprised how everyone gets sucked into the story. The kids and I have read while FishPapa was painting the living room, and eventually he put his brush down to sit and listen better. If you’ve got a dramatic nature, vary the voices and sound effects for fun.
Keep in mind that little ones may or may not be ready to listen to a chapter book. My boys’ ages have really varied. One was attentive to all the above books at age 3, while my current four year old can take it or leave it. Just pay attention and adjust accordingly. A stack of picture books may be more appropriate than a novel.