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Today I’m sharing my fourth and final book list from what I read in 2021! It might be a bit of a stretch to call this list my favorite, because I’ve thouroughly enjoyed all of the books that I’ve recommended so far; however, these books really do hold a special place in my heart because they are books that I’ve read aloud to my girls.
If you’ve never made it a habit to read out loud, this might seem like a bizzare or outdated concept, but it truly is one of my FAVORITE things to do. And not just when it comes to reading to my kiddos–I also throughly enjoy reading aloud with my husband and anyone else who will spend the time. In fact, if you read my post https://christinegustin.com/2021/10/22/the-books-that-shaped-me/ you might remember that it was almost exactly a year ago that I was reading out loud to my dad as he spent his final days on earth in hospice. Reading aloud is such a gift!
As weird as this concept might seem to some of us now, reading to each other actually used to be a normal part of spending time together. In fact, having the ability to read aloud or tell stories was once a highly valued skill. Unfortunately, in the days of digital streaming, smart phones and video games, reading outloud (or reading at all) has become a bit of a lost art.
Whether you’re already sold-out on reading aloud or you are feeling like a deer in headlights and just want to know where to begin, here are some quick and simple tips for starting a read aloud habit with your family:
- Set realistic expectations. If reading aloud is new for your family, then make it your goal to just read for 10 minutes each day. Reading aloud takes practice, so start small and just be consistent.
- Find books that your kids enjoy, but don’t get discouraged if they aren’t begging you to read for hours on end. Reading and listening are both muscles that develop with practice.
- Read things that YOU enjoy! If you are dreading reading aloud, then you are far less likely to do it.
- Audiobooks are an awesome option (especially if you have lots of time in the car or want to just cuddle while you all listen).
- Be preparred for ebbs and flows. You will have seasons when you don’t want to put the books down and you will also have seasons when you skip more days than you’d like. It’s normal.
- Create a fun enviroment for reading. Whether it’s blankets and popcorn, sitting in hammocks outside, making tea and cocoa or reading in a pillow fort with flash lights, creating a fun enviroment makes reading that much more fun and memorable.
Recommended Books to Read Aloud
Who Should Read This Book: ALL PEOPLES ON EARTH
You know I woun’t let these lists slip by without at least ONE book by my boy, C.S. Lewis! I’ve been reading and re-reading this book aloud to my kiddos every year since they were little, just like my dad read it to me! I’ve probably said it a thousand times, but this book (and the whole Narnia series) is GOLD. This book is an especially great because it’s fun to read out loud (the words roll nicely) and it’s also a very managable length, so even if you just read a few pages each day, you will finish it before too long.
Who Should Read This Book: Kids (and parents) who love mystery stories
I had never heard of Kate Milford before last year, so we were all pleasantly surprised by this book! It was fun, suspensful and endearing. Definintely geared towards upper elementary and middle grade kids (and their parents), so I would not recommend this as a first read aloud for little kiddos.
Who Should Read This Book: Girls--especially ages 6-13, also every adult woman who has never read it
This is one of my heart-books. It’s fun, timeless and absolutely beautiful. I especially recommend this book for girls who are very creative or tend to be outside of the box thinkers. I grew up reading this book and read it aloud to my girls for the first time this past year. It is now one of their absolute favorites and I hear them quoting lines from this book all the time.
Who Should Read This Book: Everyone (especially adults who have never read any Tolkien and older kiddos who love fantasy and strong character role models)
This book is easily my favorite of all of Tolkien’s books (and don’t worry, it’s SO MUCH better than the awful movie verions). Tolkien isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I was thrilled when both my kids loved this book. It’s got action, adventure, life lessons, laughter and tear-worthy moments. Highly recommend.
Who Should Read This Book: Anyone looking for a first read aloud
This sweet little book is so much fun to read aloud! Great for little kids or anyone that is just looking for a fun and easy book with great illistrations.
This concludes my lists recommended books from 2021! Have you read any of the books that I’ve recommended? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought!
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