Some of my favorite ( or rather most nostalgia inducing ) children's novels are the ones that my mother read to me and my siblings as we fidgeted and giggled together on the big comfy couch in our bonus room. Starting when I was five years old, reading time was just a normal part of our home school schedule. As we grew a little older, my mother continued to read to us. Not only did this encourage us to strike out on the reading journey for ourselves, it also proved to be a strong and memorable bonding time for me, my mom, and my sisters. I remember reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and Understood Betsy right before bed time. I remember laughing about the stories together, and discussing the themes afterwards. Reading together is such a win win situation. I could probably ramble on about this for another ten paragraphs, but I don't have to. Yesterday I found a babble.com article that summarizes (some) of the benefits of reading aloud to your children. Read it. It may very well help to convince you to carve out an extra sliver of time and start reading to your children. Believe me, as a child who has experienced being read to aloud, I can testify that it both important and extremely enjoyable.
In honor of the above discussion, I have composed a starting list for parents who would like to read aloud to children. I have chosen these simple novels based on the following criteria:
1. They have just the right balance of dialog to description that makes for a fun ( but not overwhelming) read aloud. Too many different characters talking can be an overwhelming task for mother reader, but long paragraphs of description can become very boring very fast to the children fidgeting on the couch.
2. Universal Appeal. These books can be read and enjoyed by all different ages - mom, dad, big sister, little sister, big brother, etc...
Best Family Read-Aloud Books -
1. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
2. Winnie The Pooh - A.A. Milne
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -Roald Dahl
4. Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein
5. Mr. Poppers Penguins - Richard and Florence Atwater
6. The Twenty-One Balloons - William Pene Du-Bois
7. Ginger Pye - Eleanore Estes
8. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham
9. The Wheel On the School - Mendert De Jong
10. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - Robert C. Obrien
Note: These are family books. Hopefully everyone will enjoy them. Make sure to cater your read aloud sessions to the children your reading to. If you are reading to your daughters for example, it may be sweeter to try girlier books like The Middle Moffat or The Witch of Blackbird Pond (books you can giggle over and be girls about together). If you are reading to older elementary, reading time may afford a perfect opportunity to begin introducing the wonders of classic literature: Gulliver's Travels, David Copperfield, Huckleberry Finn, etc... Just some things to think about.