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Sound It Out

Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

What we're reading aloud at home

August 1, 2007

I thought I'd share our summer family read alouds...maybe you're looking for a good chapter book to share with your kids?

I have two basic criteria for our read alouds: (1) I pick books that are just beyond Molly's reading level. That way, I'm reading books that expand her vocabulary and thinking while exposing her to books that would be too much for her to tackle on her own, and (2) I pick books I have recently read (or re-read) and am excited about. I know my enthusiasm is contagious — once we start a book we have a tough time putting it down!

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy was a great way to start off the summer. A fun story of a family vacation to a Berkshire cottage. We immediately fell in love with the girls in the story; their personalities were smart, exciting, and fun.

The Magician's Boy was a terrific step into the fantasy genre. The book is about a magician's apprentice who finds himself intimately involved in a puppet show of "Saint George and the Dragon" and The Land of Story. I won't write any more, but your kids are sure to recognize some characters along the way.

Thanks to our local librarian, we have also read Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit. A fun story of Ernest the pig, Gabby the bird, Milly the cat, and a new, not-so-welcomed visitor at Grandpa's boarding house for animals. My girls LOVED Milly, who was quite silly and who loved to sing!

There are a handful of others, but these ones really stood out. And there's still more on the nightstand: The Lighthouse Family, The Secret Garden, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and a recommendation from Maria to read almost anything by Dick King-Smith. Clearly, we need a longer summer!

There are lots of good resources for finding read aloud titles. Jim Trelease, author of the Read Aloud Handbook, has a liston his site, and we've got good tips on reading aloud. There are literally hundreds of suggestions for read alouds; everyone seems to have their own criteria. Whatever you read, don't forget...have fun!

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"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges