Did you know that reading aloud to children is the BEST way to give them a solid literacy foundation and later reading success?
Even better, it’s not complicated. And anyone can do it.
You don’t need a fancy degree or specialized skills. Just the ability to read a book.
Here’s another thing that makes reading out loud to children so accessible –ANY book is a good book to read aloud!
Clearly there are some books that kids like better. But there is not one magic book that all kids love equally because all kids are different.
That being said, there are many books that most kids love and so do their adults.
Those books will be on the read-aloud book lists below for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kids in elementary and middle school.
Finally, whenever possible, let your child choose the book to read or the order in which you read the books. You might give them some options but let the child have the final say-so. This builds ownership and buy-in.
Picture books are for reading aloud for almost all ages — and I like to keep them in the mix until the end of elementary school. The vocabulary in most picture books is more complex than you might think, too.
Introduce chapter books when you feel your children are ready for longer books whose story spans over several days. Can your child remember the storyline from one day to the next? That’s when they are ready.
Personally, I prefer to wait reading chapter books to kids until age 5 or 6 because I don’t want them to miss the richness picture books.
How to Pick a Good Read Aloud Book
You’ll see many amazing books on my lists. Let me share with you some ways to decide what to read.
For Pre-Readers Ages 0 – 5
For young kids, you want to expose them to the world of books — all the books you possibly can! From counting to humor to nonfiction, there is no picture book that isn’t valuable to read aloud in some way. See what they like, keep introducing them to new authors, genres, and illustrators, and just keep reading!
Don’t forget, rereading is a goldmine for growing readers. It builds familiarity with so many important literacy concepts including story structure, prediction, illustrations making meaning, and more.
For Readers Ages 6 to 13
Of course, read the review first so you know the gist of the story as well as the topics and themes.
- Pick a Book with a Slightly Harder Reading Level Than Your Reader Can Read Independently
A child’s listening comprehension is generally higher than their own reading comprehension abilities. Listening to you read them a challenging text introduces new vocabulary words that build background knowledge for their growing success as a reader and writer.
2. Introduce a New Book Series They Can Read Independently
If you parent or teach kids who aren’t finding a good book to read, use the read-aloud book to hook them on a new series. You can just read the first chapter of a book OR read the entire first book in a series
First Chapter Friday is one way to do this — so you’re not reading the entire book, simply introducing it. Honestly, I like this so much! Only reading one chapter gives kids a taste of the book as well as the opportunity for a child to read a book on their own.
3. The Book Covers a Topic, Theme, or Genre That You Want Your Reader to Be Exposed To
Read Aloud Book Lists for Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers
Get in the habit of reading books to your children as soon as you can. It’s so beneficial long term to share stories with our kids and makes a wonderful time of bonding.
Read Aloud Book Lists for Elementary Grades
Find a good book to read aloud to your elementary readers whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, or librarian.
Read Aloud Books for Middle School
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