Kaden (12), Blue (10 now, but 9 while reading these), and I still read children’s literature out loud. I started it because Kaden isn’t a strong reader but was ready for older kid stories. Without the support of our read-alouds, he still couldn’t access these books. Although I do the majority of the reading, their turns help with fluency/practice at reading with expression, my chance to correct their mispronunciations, my chance to correct Blue’s habit of speed reading that causes him to make up words. It also allows for occasional vocabulary explanations. (Of funny things—I realized that my boys had no idea what it was talking about in Harry Potter when it mentioned a “four-poster.” They couldn’t even guess it from context clues.)
Here are the books we covered in 2016:
From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
I couldn't remember if I'd read this as a kid or not, so I wanted to. Alone in a museum at night. Stuff doesn't have to come alive for that to be awesome.
Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems by Janet and Geoff Benge
Back when we finished this I made Blue give me a quote for goodreads and he said, "Any kid who likes nonfiction and wants to be inspired to help people will love this book.”
Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur
We picked this because Ms LaFleur was slated to be at the April is for Authors event in West Palm and I wanted the boys to be familiar with the works of as many of the authors before we went.
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Another April is for Authors speaker. Natalie tells kids, "Your words are magic," and "your life is the best story you'll ever write." She is a lovely positive role model with a very adorable dog named Biscuit. If you haven't already, check out her books for sure.
Teslas’s Attic by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman
Shusterman was April is for Authors keynote speaker. The boys attended this as well as a session that Shusterman and Elfman did together about how they collaborated. They loved this book AND that session!
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Had to read it before the movie came out.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling
We have done the first three as read alouds in year’s past. The boys aren’t allowed to watch the movie until we’ve read the book together.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
I picked it before I ever knew about the movie that’s in the works.
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd
There was enough buzz around this book that I bought it on release day. It was compared to The Secret Garden and… that’s all it takes apparently for me to say, “Take my money!’
And for our final book—which we’re starting today:
The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
The kids went to Birmingham for Thanksgiving but all we did was hang out with family, see Fantastic Beasts, and visit a botanical garden. I’m eager for them to read some history about a place that, for them, is just about visiting cousins.
There is not one dud in this list, and I’m proud that I took them through nine books with a range that included two 1960s classics through a book released in October of 2016. I’m thinking we can do better than only one non-fiction in our 2017 picks, but other than that, I think we came up with a nicely eclectic list for 2016. We bought all of these books, and I love seeing the boys going back through them once we’re done. Blue, especially, is a big re-reader.
I recommend all of them, but of these books Blue says he liked Tesla’s Attic the best because of the crazy inventions. Kaden says he liked The BFG best because of the silly words, giant world and how the bad giants get trapped by the military.
Upcoming for 2017: We might still be finishing The Watsons Go to Birmingham. After that I think we’ll do R.J. Palacio’s Wonder, and then after that I’ll probably look to the April is for Authors line up to choose a book or three.
Do you read aloud with your older kids? What have been your kids’ favorites?