Sometimes our family priorities get pushed to the back burner duirng the end of the school year craziness. So summer is a time for a us to press reset and once more do the things we really value as a family.
This summer I have made it a point to have more leisurely family dinners and have my children be outside more (at least before it gets too stifling in Dallas!). I purposely didn’t sign my girls up for many scheduled activities/camps this summer because as a family we really value unstructured time for children to be, well, children. Granted my girls are homebodies and can play for hours on end with their toys and vivid imaginations (which I consider to be a great blessing because I know not all children are like this!), but it does benefit me, too, because I like to have the freedom to do things on a whim like spend a random moring exploring a blueberry farm like we did yesterday.
Another family thing that got pushed to the backburner this past spring: reading aloud to our children every night. It’s something that’s so important to us and such a special time in which my husband or I reads to our three girls (yes, often the same book to all three!).
I have written before about the educational benefits of reading aloud to children – even to those who can already read – but we do it mostly because it’s such a sweet bonding time for our family. Sometimes everyone is piled on the couch, sometimes they are coloring quietly on the floor, other times they are snuggled up in each other’s beds.
Our nightly reading winds the day down and often brings about laughs or great conversation. We like to read our children children’s literature from different time periods so they have lots of questions and remarks (which I think is a good thing!).
Now I know some of you don’t think that your child or grandchild will enjoy a classic chapter book with few illustrations, but I beg to differ! You will be amazed at what even the youngest child can comprehend. I remember reading Little House on the Prairie to my six year old and was amazed at what my then almost four year old would tell me abuot Laura and Mary. Even if your todllers are in their own lala land while you read to your older children, they will still benefit from hearing the Engligh language read to them.
So here’s a challenge for you this summer. Try reading one classic book below aloud to your children. What do you have to lose? There’s no homework to worry about and they can stay up a bit laer if needed. Just try it and see what your children think. Read one chapter, even a half of a chapter, a night. Although I bet your children will beg you for more! Then give me some feedback about what worked for your family. (Reading on the couch? On the porch? While they are playing quietly on the floor?)
Except for the last category of picture books, the books below are great for ages 5 or 6 through 12. Please know, however, that I am NOT a reading specialist or expert, just someone who has read a lot to my children, so definitely read ahead if you want to make sure something is appropriate for your child. Your pre-school children will soak up some benefits, too, but I also listed some great picture book recomemndations for them, too.
You can find most of these at your local library (see if you can reserve online beforehand!) or on Amazon.
** Note: always look for the unbabridged versions of these books. The abridged ones often lose the rich language that children benefit from hearing.**
Peter Pan (warning, and who knew, but there is some bad langauge in this you might have to edit!)
Sweet Period Books (lots of good life lessons!):
Happy Little Family (my absolute favorite read aloud and it’s follow up!)
The Boxcar Children (series)
The Happy Hollisters (series)
The Chronicles of Narnia (probably need to be 6-7 years old)
Longer Picture Books (for ages 2-3 and up!):
(See a lot more wonderful picture here.)
We just started reading All of Kind Family for the second time (about an Upper East Side Jewish family with five little girls at the turn of the last century – and honestly I forgot how much motherly wisdom is in that book for me!).
I have all of our classic book favorites listed under this SHOP tab, divied by girl and boy favorites, board books, picture books, and read alouds. Any of these would make a lovely gift for a child, especially paired with the darling personalized Well Bowed bookmarks above. (Or just give the bookmark – only $8 each!). To order, just comment under the facebook photo you want or Facebook message them.
Share your reading aloud tips or favorites below. Or feel free to ask me or other readers for specific recommendations.
I’ll be posting all the books we read this summer on Snapchat. Username: DoSayGive.
Personalized Bookmarks from Well Bowed