Love in Action: Read Aloud


Love in Action Day 11

Today’s loving action is a sacrifice of time and often personal preferences for the love of your children.  It’s also a real crowd-pleaser.  If they don’t already, your children will grow to love this. It’s just one more reason to refocus on the simple priorities of life.


Read aloud to your children.

It doesn’t matter how old your children are. Reading aloud to them takes you on a shared adventure, a journey of togetherness.

Baby steps.

If your children are not accustomed to listening to you read aloud, don’t start with Homer’s Iliad.  Some children will sit through two hours of straight reading.  Others are better off with five- or ten-minute sessions, such as during your morning snuggle, after lunch, and before bed.

Stop reading for the day while they are still interested. (Oh, sweet torture!)  When they’re caught up in a story, they’ll be begging you to read more.

Let them wiggle!

Allow children to build with blocks, color, knit, stand on their heads, or sketch while they’re listening.  I like to teach my crew a new skill, such as knitting, and then read while they make my birthday presents.  (I don’t peek, naturally.)  Often I will find a coloring book or paper dolls that coincide with the book, or I will make photocopies of the book’s illustrations for them to color.  (It’s legal — personal use!)

What should you read?

Give them some say in the books you choose, within your family’s guidelines, of course.  It’s quite exciting for all involved if you introduce some of your childhood favorites or hit the library to hunt down new treasures together.  Eventually you will want to seek out higher quality books and weed out some of the chaff, but for now, just read.

Read whatever good books you have on hand. As you search for great books to read in the future, check out the following:

You’re in for some great adventures!

Together you’ll travel to Narnia and Treasure Island. You’ll be shipwrecked on an island and make your home in the trees. You’ll discover a noothbrush on your toothbrush and climb to the top of a tree to party with the dogs. You’ll meet the Moffats and Pippi Longstocking and watch the five little Peppers grow. You’ll tame the mighty black stallion, cry through Black Beauty’s losses, and ride along with Marguerite Henry and the great horses of history. You’ll memorize Prayer for a Child and Dr. Seuss’ ABC. You’ll flee Egyptian priests from Bubastes and sail the seas with Odysseus.

You’ll meet the real Mary Poppins. You’ll help Charlotte save Wilbur, help Christopher unstick Pooh (again), and tag along on vet visits with Dr. Herriot. You’ll make friends with Patricia St. John and Louisa May Alcott. You’ll empathize with Beezus and root for Henry. You’ll cheer through Understood Betsy and bake through The Little House series. You’ll give a moose a muffin, a mouse a cookie, and a pig a pancake. And you’ll do all of it, together. Why, I’m almost envious!

You may have tangible wealth untold.
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a mother who read to me.

~Strickland Gillilan

Are you curious about some of the reading adventures to which I alluded?  Click here, my curious friend, and be enlightened.

What are your family’s favorite read-alouds?

Helpful Tools: Our family is currently reading through the Little House series.  Much like other great series (Anne of Green Gables, Chronicles of Narnia), there are many add-ons available to make the experience even richer.  Check out some of the many extras that go along with the Little House books:

Read to Your Children: Little House Paper Dolls

And, of course, you can always retrace the Ingalls family’s steps, including a stop in Pepin, Wisconsin for Laura Ingalls Wilder Days.

14 thoughts on “Love in Action: Read Aloud”

  1. Beautiful post – and great advice! I have the best memories of reading aloud with my children all the way through their teenage years. We also loved listening to books on tape together in the car. Makes me smile just to think of all our happy times spent reading and listening together. I’m your newest follower!

  2. So true. Many times I am reading to the littles and my older boys will come out from wherever and sit by me and listen. Then the requests from them come. Love it!

  3. I’ve been reading to Wyatt since before he was born. I started out reading the bible out loud during my devotional times. Since birth I’ve been reading his Jesus Story Book Bible to him every night at bedtime as well as a variety of other easy books.
    Since his bible is paper pages I keep it out of reach and he actually points to it at night.
    We currently like 10 Tiny Puppies and Good Night Little One (free from memory reciting available upon request!)

    1. Your Wyatt is a blessed little man to have such an attentive and devoted mama. 🙂

      I’ve been enjoying your comments throughout this series. By the way, I’ll trade you a recitation of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish and Go Dog Go for your recitation of 10 Tiny Puppies and Good Night Little One. 😉

  4. I homeschooled my kids so we read aloud a LOT! We used to have what we called “reading marathons”. When they were little, I’d grab all our library books and we’d sit until we read them all. When they were older, we’d read chapter books for at least an hour at a time. Usually they both sat on the couch with a pad and pencil and drew while I read. They LOVED it when I read aloud – even after they were perfectly capable of reading to themselves. We pretty much read aloud, at least a little bit, every day. I loved it, too.

    Now that they’re grown and gone, I really miss reading those children’s books.

    1. I love the idea of reading marathons…but my voice doesn’t. Sometimes I grab a mug of throat coat tea and plow through it anyway. It’s such a precious time with our kiddos, whatever the age! 🙂

  5. I have made many mistakes as a parent, but one of my successes has been to consistently read to my seven kids from the beginning. They all love reading because of it! Some of our favorites are the Little House series, 100 Cupboard series by N.D. Wilson, The Hobbit, Heidy, Little Women, and Prince and the Pauper. For little ones we love Frog and Toad, Little Bear, Is Your Mama a Llama?, and Winnie the Pooh.

    1. I have never heard of the 100 Cupboard series. I’ll have to check that one out, too. Thanks for sharing. The others we also know and love, but I’ve yet to read The Prince and The Pauper to the family. I should dust that one off. Thank you! 🙂

  6. Read alouds are such priceless times with our children! Such wonderful memories and cozy times! 🙂 We have been VERY big Little House fans and even did the Prairie Primer to accompany the books, we visited the sites in SD and MN. My daughter was even in the fiddle contest and Laura Look – a -Like contest in Pepin. Much, much fun! Little House is a great series for the whole family. We are reading aloud, now, the Terrestria Chronicles series. But I have older kids (10 and 13), although read alouds are for all ages and I hope we never grow out of them! 🙂 Enjoy reading with your family!

  7. WE read aloud every day, and it’s the highlight of *my* day too! We’ve gone through almost all the Little House books and are now on These Happy Golden Years…. we feel like Laura is ‘family’!

    Like you, I would urge *every* mum to spend a little time reading aloud to the children. It is such a precious time, and is making wonderful memories for me, never mind for them 🙂

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