We have a traditional in our family of reading a book together at bedtime. Of course, my kids love to read on their own, but there is something about sharing a story together. And I'm not just talking about short little children's books (though I have many that I absolutely adore!). We love to read longer stories aloud-- a chapter or two a night-- and enjoy the journey together.
Here are some of our family's favorites so far:
The Boxcar Children (series) by Gertrude Chandler Warner
These books were a childhood favorite of mine, and now I love reading them with my kids. They are so sweet and fun, and somehow each mystery the children solve is just as good as the one before. There are well over a hundred books to choose from in this series- you'll never get tired of Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny's adventures!
The Little House on the Prairie (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This is another of my childhood favorites, but I didn't start reading them until I was close to middle school age. I really wanted to share the magic of Laura Ingalls Wilder's stories with my kids, but I wasn't sure if the stories would be too long or slow for my kids. I am pleased to report that not only did my children engage with her books, they always begged me to keep reading. "One more chapter, please!!" There is something about the way Laura tells the stories of her childhood. She captures the wonder and beauty of growing up in the American frontier in a way that we can all relate to, even some 150 years later.
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
This is such a sweet story. My kids and I loved every word of it! E.B. White has a handful of other imaginative children's books featuring animal characters, but Charlotte's Web is our favorite.
The Forgotten Carols by Michael McLain
I had to throw in a holiday story. We mostly love reading shorter picture books at Christmastime, but this longer story is delightful. We are also a musical family, so we love singing and listening to the original songs that go with this story, too.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I have to admit, I did not read the original version of this story to my children. That is a little too long for their ages. My daughter brought home an abridged/shortened version of this classic from school, and my children loved it. What good life lessons are contained in this beautiful story. I want to find more shortened, children-friendly versions of longer classics.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
We actually listened to this story on a road trip last summer, and my kids just loved it, even my 8 year old boy. This story is not just for girls! Ella Enchanted is probably my favorite version of the Cinderella story. It is so clever, unique, and well-crafted.
Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling
We have not read the entire series yet. I told my kids that we would read books 1-4 and save 5-7 for when they are a little older. That was just my personal policy. Not that the later books in the series are inappropriate, but I just feel that the storyline and content matures as the characters grow older, and I want my children to be old enough to understand the depth of the story enough to fully appreciate it. So for us, books 1-4 were perfect to start with, and we are looking forward to finishing the series in a couple of years.
There are many more books we have enjoyed reading at bedtime, but these are our favorites. I also have a few specific books that we are looking forward to reading next:
Our "To Read" list:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis
The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
These are only the few books I chose to highlight-- there are so many more great books out there to discover!I really liked the list I found on this website, if you want a good launch point: https://teachbesideme.com/read-aloud-classics/
I would love to hear your favorite stories to read aloud as a family. Share in the comments below!
Have a good week, and happy reading!