I was reading aloud with one of my students the other day and thought, “I need to write about this.” Even my elementary age students and daughter have books that they love to hear read aloud. Here are my top-five picks that your elementary-age child will love to hear:
First, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl is a favorite for its imaginative nature and elements of surprise. Dahl’s characters are funny and of course what child does not want to imagine sampling tasty treats in a chocolate factory. Even if your kiddos have seen the movie, all of you will enjoy the innuendos missing from the movie when you read aloud the book.
My kids love hearing Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White for many reasons. First, it is about animals – a relationship between a pig and a spider. But what intrigues them most is the friendship between these two unlikely creatures and how their friendship helps them to both grow on the inside and outside.
The stories in Grimm’s Fairy Tales have a bit of a dark side to them but that is what the kids enjoy most. For example, “the ash maiden” – essentially what the modern day Cinderella story is based on- has a darker ending than Disney portrays. For example in this story, the birds poke out the eyes of the stepsisters for their cruel and evil ways. A great set of tales that teach moral lessons.
For more about reading fairy tales aloud, read Einstein on Fairy Tales and Education by Maria Popova.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is short but great to read aloud. The book is poetic. So when you read it aloud, you and your child will feel the words. In the story, a tree loves a boy and gives to him until there is nothing physically left to give. It is a story of how love grows and evolves over time.
Finally, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is appropriate for your older child (second grade and older) due to its length (331 pages). An orphaned girl is forced to live on her Uncle’s estate where she discovers a secret garden. It is a story of her emotional growth as she transforms the garden into a thing of beauty and discovers some deep hidden secrets along the way. Time will fly as your imagination takes you to the mysterious, magical garden.
These are my top five favorite books to read aloud to elementary-age kids.
What are some of your kid’s favorite books to have read aloud?