I have an insane amount of bookshelves in my home. Even one back hallway is lined with skinny shelves to house my ever-growing collection. When I find bookshelves in a friend's home, I have a irresistible desire to peruse what lies on their shelves. Therefore I thought it would be fun to give you a guided tour of my
best friends I mean favorite reads.
One of my favorite categories of books is family read alouds. These are books that the whole family reads together and treasures. The stories become a common language between us and deepen and enrich our conversations. Here are 10 of our favorite family read alouds, but if you want the full list, check out the Strauss Family Read Aloud history.
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1. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
The first time I picked up this book was at an antique store that we stopped at on a road trip. We read the book all the way home. I was so surprised at how wonderful all of the characters were and how funny they were! We have read this book several times since that trip. Most recently, we used it as a family read aloud - reader's theater style. Each person was assigned a couple of characters, and as their part came up, they read the lines. Everyone stayed engaged, and it gave us great practice on our voices.
2. Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen Taylor
For a read aloud, this book is wonderful for a couple of reasons. First, the chapters are super short. You can read a couple of chapters and really feel like you're accomplishing a lot! Additionally, this story has been simplified in such a way that the wonderful truths from the original version are retained, however, little ears and hearts can grasp them easily. It is another book that we have chosen to read aloud several times. I think it's on my list next for my youngest, because she doesn't remember much from the last time we read it!
3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
We just read this gem last summer for the first time. I grew up on the TV miniseries, but somehow never read the books. While on vacation with my husband, I brought this book along to read. I couldn't put it down. When I made it back home, I had to read it to my kids and I have to say I had so much fun with all of Anne's dramatics!
4. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
I love animal stories, but this one is even more compelling as it is written from the perspective of the horse. My girls love this story and have since read it on their own a couple of times.
5. Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater
This is another quick and zany read that our whole family enjoys. The surprising gift of penguins draws a family together in an unexpected way. When we read it, I especially enjoy making the penguin noises.
6. Faerie Gold by Kathryn Lindskoog
I found this book at a used bookstore, and it has been a surprising source of wonderful night-time reads. Faerie tales in this collection target the nourishment of the souls of children. With a stunning collection of masterful writers, you'll want to read these with or without the kids!
7. The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
The crazy antics in this autobiographical tale captivated my family. Set in the early 1900s, the memories of a young boy with big ideas creates trouble in his hometown.
8. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
We read Where the Red Fern Grows in Challenge B this year, and loved it, but the story was so sad. A good friend recommended another title from Rawls' works. The setting and characters are very similar in this book, but the monkeys add a funny twist that will keep everyone laughing.
9. The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz
This is a sweet and easy historical fiction to read aloud. I especially like the interactions with General George Washington. Jean Fritz is by far one of my favorite historical fiction writers for children. This is just one of her fabulous works.
10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
So this one can be kinda controversial. Twain captures a time period so brilliantly that both its strengths and weaknesses are revealed to the reader. Huckleberry Finn's journey down the Mississippi fascinated and amused the whole family.
So there's 10 of my favorite read-alouds. I'm sure this is not the complete and authoritative list as we have not read everything out there...but it's a good start!
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.