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Q&A: Any tips for reading aloud to my children or recommended chapter books?

Want to read aloud to your children more often? These 5 tips are SO helpful -- especially if you have children of various ages!


This summer I really want to start reading chapter books out loud to my children. I have 4 children: ages 7, 5, almost 3, and 10 months. We read books a lot, but I’ve never read chapter books to all of them at one time.

My goal is to read for 20 minutes each morning. I was wondering if you had any tips and what your top recommendations are for chapter books. I’m finding it difficult to find ones I think all of my children would find engaging!  -Jayne

1. Read At the Level Of Your Oldest Child

Children can understand a lot more than we give them credit for. While I’m a big fan of reading fun picture books, I think it’s also good to read books that are a little bit above a child’s level to help them think, learn to analyze, and expand their vocabulary.

When I’m reading to my children, I always read books that are geared for Kathrynne’s level. And you know what I’ve found? Kaitlynn and Silas understand much of what I read and get into the story, too.

2. Gradually Increase Your Reading Time

If you’ve never done much read-aloud time before, I’d recommend starting with just five or ten minutes and working up from there. For those who have young children, starting them on chapter books by reading while they are eating breakfast or lunch is a great way to introduce them to good read-alouds while their hands are already occupied and their bodies are still.

With some practice, you’ll probably find that your children are engaged for longer stretches and they may even be begging for more after you’ve already read two or three chapters.

3. Don’t Expect Your Children to All Sit Quietly

While I know some people expect that read-aloud time means everyone sits with their hands in their lap while mom reads, that’s not at all what happens at our house. In fact, I’ve found that often my children listen better when their hands are busy.

So I encourage my children to play with Legos, or draw, or color, or do some other quiet activity while I’m reading. They seem to enjoy it a lot more — and the time flies!

4. Make Sure Your Oldest Children Are Engaged

Foster a love of good books in your children by making sure that they are staying engaged when you are reading. Not all school subjects are always going to be fascinating and captivating, but I try to pick chapter books that Kathrynne and Kaitlynn are going to really get into.

If things seem a little dry in portions of a book, I’ll sometimes use funny accents or totally dramatize things just to make it fun and exciting. If the girls are intently listening and then beg for more when it’s time to stop, I know that I’m accomplishing my goal of making read-aloud time something they love.

5. Don’t Forget the Picture Books!

If your read-aloud time is geared toward your older children, make sure that you also include a regular diet of picture books for the younger ones, too. We often start out our read aloud time with one or two picture books that everyone crowds around to listen to and then we pick up our chapter book once I’ve finished reading the picture books.

In this way, we’re making sure that read aloud time offers a little bit of something for everyone — and it helps provide some variety, too.

Some Of Our Favorite Chapter Book Series

For other good chapter book recommendations, check out Honey for a Child’s Heart, Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Read For the Heart, and Educating the Whole-Hearted Child.

What about the rest of you? What advice and book suggestions do you have for Jayne?

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  • Michelle says:

    We enjoyed “Young Pilgrim’s Progress” with our girls this past winter (7, 5 and 2) and they all begged for more! Even our youngest understood that Little Christian was on his way to heaven 🙂

  • Glory says:

    We have similar aged children and the eldest often takes a turn reading too! This helps him stay engaged when we pick a book that might be a little bit below his reading level. I think it also helps if there are projects or activities that come out of the book. For example, we recently have read books on different artists and then made paintings in the style of that artist. It generated a lot of discussion and they were able to share what they liked about the artist.

  • Jen says:

    My older daughter loved loved loved reading The Fairy Realm series aloud when she was 7. Each chapter ends with a “cliffhanger” so she couldn’t stand to wait to continue reading — and neither could I! I can’t wait to start reading them again with my younger daughter.

    • Rebecca says:

      There is a set of Disney fairy books that I am reading with my 4 year old (Rani and the Mermaid Lagoon is the one we are on now) and she loves them. They have ten short chapters so they don’t take that long and we have had plenty of discussions about the different characters and what type of perosn she would ratehr be (there isn’t anything inappropriate but Vidia isn’t known for being nice). We have also read a Cam Jansen mystery that she loved and will move to Wind in the Willows next.

  • Melissa says:

    I remember when I was a child, my mom read to me from a book called “Classic Myths to Read Aloud”. Imagine my surprise when, 20+ years later, I find that it’s still available on Amazon! The thing that I really like about this book in particular is that it divides stories up into different listening levels, and also gives a summary of each story and an approximate time for each one, as well as a pronunciation guide for the more difficult names and places.
    The best general advice that I can give is to read the story beforehand so that you know where the good stopping places are, and so that you know it’s going to be appropriate for your child’s age and comprehension level. Also, if you’re reading a story over the course of multiple sittings or days, it can be helpful to summarize what happened last time (or with older kids ask one of them to summarize) as this will help make the story more coherent.
    And finally, Do The Voices!!!!! The best part about story time when I was kid was when my mom would do the voice of Zeus and Hera. I can still remember Zeus’s big, booming voice and the strong, regal sound of Hera’s ^_^ Don’t worry about sounding silly or ridiculous, kids are surprisingly nonjudgmental when it comes to story time.

  • Stephanie says:

    I teach Kindergarten and I read the series, Junie B. Jones. My kids love these books! The first one I read to them is ususally a little difficult to get through. However, by the end of the year they are begging for me to read another one. Junie B. is a precocious little girl in Kindergarten and the series follows her into 1st grade. It is written from her point of view, which the kids really enjoy. Sometimes I have to stop and clarify certain things and remind them that sometimes she doesn’t make the right choices. These are great teachable moments not only for vocabulary but life lessons in making good choices. These are great starter chapter books since they are written in a child’s language but they are usually fairly short (8-10 chapters, 60-80 pages). The 1st grade ones are a bit longer.

    • amy says:

      Junie B. Jones are great! We’ve read them all and my daughters loved them…as did I 🙂 For girls who didn’t particularly want to sit still to read to me….these books were great!

  • Staci says:

    Do you have any series that would be good for my 21 month old son?

    • PAULA C. says:

      I bought books from readers digest that are based on the alphabet. Each book in the series is a different letter of the alphabet and te sesame street characters are in the books. My son has loved these books since he was about 2 and still reads them now (he’s 7). Once you have all the books they make a giant puzzle!

      • Staci says:

        Thanks Paula! I will look these up. My son is really great with books, so I want to start incorporating them more into his daily routine!

  • Amy f;) says:

    THIS is really helpful! Thanks!!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    We read Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy, but skipped Little House on the Prairie for now because it is so racist. I had to edit Farmer Boy a little bit (like the part where the big kids killed their teacher) but my 4 year old really liked both of them.

    • Catherine says:

      We just finished little house on the prairie and I don’t recall any racist parts – might be worth revisiting.

    • Emily says:

      Can you clarify, I have read those books at least twice and don’t remember anything racist- what are you referring to?

      • Heather says:

        Possibly how Ma Ingalls is afraid of the Indians? And some of the other characters don’t like them either, and then at the end the Indians are planning on attacking the whites (but don’t).
        But I don’t consider it a “racist book”. Rather there may be some people in the book with racist attitudes. There’s a big difference.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I don’t think that LHotP is a book for young children. “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” (said at least 5 times in the book). Indians are “wild men with red skins” and “terrible smells.” Ma’s sneering superiority over Indians? Pa’s identifying Soldat du Chêne as “not common trash” because he speaks French? Mrs. Scott’s “common sense and justice” that the land belongs to those who farm it? The worst part of the book, IMO, is the fact that the Ingalls knew that they were illegally encroaching on Indian Territory but didn’t care because they were white people and the country belonged to them. “When white settlers come into a country, the Indians have to move on. The government is going to move these Indians farther west, any time now. That’s why we’re here, Laura. White people are going to settle this country, and we get the best land because we get here first and take our pick.”

      I think this is a great book for mid- to late-elementary school children to read and discuss with their parents, because it paints a nuanced picture of a child trying to reconcile the racist opinions of others into their own innocent world view. But not a book for children who are too young to read it on their own. Young children see the world in black and white, and good and bad. And the picture this book paints on the surface is that Indians are bad, dangerous people.

      • Ami says:

        I mildly disagree. Yes, that stuff is in there, but I love to take these natural opportunities to talk about how sad it was. How our nation was beautifully formed, but also tainted with sin. How God would never have wanted His people to be treated this way. I’ve had this discussion with my 4 & 6 yo old, toddler in tow, with tears in my eyes.

        We’ve talked about the holocaust and 9/11 in the same manner. And how Jesus came to heal these hurts, forgive and save us, and teach us how to love others above ourselves.

        I’ve heard the argument that little kids shouldn’t be exposed to such gruesome sin. As a general rule, I agree. But I have time with them to see the conversation through (we homeschool) and I can tailor their exposure. The Little House books, for example, tell about the atmosphere during westward expansion, but aren’t really graphic. It also gives the white man’s side of the story too, and although they were usually in the wrong, they lived through TERRIFYING and frustrating experiences.

  • Jill says:

    We are working our way through the Magic Treehouse series right now. Before that we read Mouse and the Motorcycle. Next, we plan on doing the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Enjoy every minute 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      I totally agree. My kids loved the Magic Treehouse series. We have also read aloud the whole Chronicles of Narnia series. They are still some of my kids favorite books! Ramona Quimby books and Henry Huggins books also make our list.

  • Dee Wolters says:

    Chronicles of Narnia! Read well above the kids reading level! Legos, dollies, etc for the younger children to keep them busy. My kids are all in high school and college, but I miss the hours of reading out loud to them.

    • We just started these with our 7-year-old twins (they aren’t quite reading well enough to read them themselves) and they are begging us to keep going! I never thought I’d say to my children “No we can’t read anymore, you need to go to bed!”


  • Janet says:

    Crystal, those are great tips! I really liked the tip about how you encourage the children to do a quiet activity while you are reading…I would have never thought of that. Your children are blessed to have a mommy like you!

  • Selma says:

    Cam Jansen, Henry and Mudge, Boxcar children, Bobsey Twins, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Paddington the Bear, the Little Bear series, Gerinomo Stilton, and Encyclopedia Brown. Also Owen Foote series.
    For Christian series — Culdesac Kids and the Sugarcreek Gang

    We are HUGE readers in our house!

  • I’d check out a homeschool curriculum, like Sonlight, that is literature-based and look through the books they choose. You don’t have to buy the whole curriculum, but can at least consider the books they choose, read summaries of the books at Amazon, then check them out from the library for free. There are so many great books out there that I’d never heard of that I learned about through homeschool curriculum websites/catalogs.

  • jan says:

    Sometimes if both of the oldest ones have the same interests, you can have them both go to the library to pick them out. Try the longer easy books before a chapter book. You might lose them if you try a chapter book. Start slow and work your way up. Don’t worry if the book is easy.good luck!

  • Carrie L says:

    I have five kids (14, 12, 11, 6, 3). I’ve read aloud off and on over the years. Currently, I start with one or two picture books for the younger two and then, like Crystal suggested, have them draw, color, etc. while I read a chapter or two to the older ones. There are some great reading suggestions here –

    and here they are divided by age level –

  • Jen says:

    A favorite of mine growing up was Mrs. PiggleWiggle. The series stars Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle who lives in a neighborhood with a bunch of kids who have bad habits. It’s a really cute series that will make you and the kids laugh!

  • Denise says:

    I loved the Boxcar Children books! I plan to read those to my kids someday!

  • NaDell says:

    My husband has read all of Lord of the Rings and the whole Narnia series twice with our kids (ages 9, 6 1/2, and 4). They liked it. They have also read Alice in Wonderland, Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, and condensed versions of Peter Pan, Swiss Family Robinson, and many, many more.
    I read the Ramona books and most of the rest of Beverly Cleary with the older two and just started the Judy Blume Fudge series. Anne of Green Gables might be fun for older kids. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is a fun book too. We also enjoyed Encyclopedia Brown, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Harriet the Spy, and Nancy Drew.
    We just read in the evenings before they go to bed.

  • Sarah says:

    Grandma’s Attic Series for young girls!!!!

  • Lilianne says:

    Boxcar Children and Harry Potter are fun series. Skippy Jon Jones aren’t chapter books, but are a fun read aloud for elementary kiddos.

    I agree with Crystal, start with smaller amounts of time and work your way up and don’t expect them to sit still the whole time. Especially the younger ones….letting them draw a picture of what you are reading about or play with block, it will help them to focus better. You may think they aren’t listening, but they are!

  • My favorite family memory is when my husband read The Princess Bride out loud over one summer. My girls were 11 & 9 at the time. We all just loved it.

  • Amy says:

    My girls are 4 and 6. We have been reading chapter books for a few years. We also listen to books on tape in the car. Right now we are listening to Chronicles of Narnia. They like American Girl books, Ivy & Bean, the Ramona series, Junie B series (which would be too young for your oldest).

  • Lisa says:

    My couple of suggestions are to find books that they enjoy and to allow them to move around, if needed. My boys loved the Boxcar Children series, so we’ve read 16 of them in the past 18 months. We’ve also started several that haven’t held their interest, so we’ve set them aside for the time being. I also will allow the boys to color or play quietly with legos while I read. As long as they are quiet, they can continue. I’ll even ask occasional questions to make sure they are still engaged. We’ve found many great books through the Sonlight curriculum we used for a couple of years ( We are going to try to mix things up by introducing audio books.

  • Llama Momma says:

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with M & Ms was a big hit at my house! 🙂

  • Carrie says:

    My four year old and three year old LOVE the Boxcar Children! We read it over and over. We’ve read a few of the Magic Tree House. Some are a little bit scary at times. Beverly Cleary is also a fantastic author. Winnie the Pooh has also been fun- although we’ve mostly listened to it on tape- they do the voices better!
    This is such a wonderful question… loved reading everyone’s answers,.

  • samantha says:

    I have all boys the exact ages of your children. We have been reading the Little House books. Starting the last one this week. They love it. My husband thought they were for girls only but funny how he listens also! The kids love to hear about how life used to be. We read at bedtime. The little ones fall asleep but get enough of the story to know whats going on. My oldest stays up longer to hear the rest of the chapter and it helps calm him down to go to sleep. So much fun to read books that I loved as a kid, and they still make me cry!

  • Dee says:

    My twins are 4.5 and we just started with chapter books and I wish we would have done them so much sooner. We started with Magic Treehouse series as suggested by a friend and they love it. We also picked up Wizard of Oz in the Target dollar aisle recently. We read 2 chapters per night and they can’t wait to see what happens next. I want to look into some classics too.

  • Dana Ticknor says:

    One of our very favorite read alouds for this age is the All Of A Kind series. It’s about a Jewish family of 5 girls (and then a baby boy). It’s a great glimpse into the Jewish lifestyle (informative not proselytizing). We LOVE these – all but first book (were/are) out of print, but you can usually find the others on ebay.
    We also enjoy the Borrowers; about a family of ‘little’ people and how they believe that the ‘bigs’ are there to borrow what they need from. (the girl is a little defiant)
    My girls liked the Gramma’s Attic series about a little girl growing up with her best friend (she grows older as the series progresses) in the country. (christian bent)
    For boys, we too really like the Sugar Creek Gang (ORIGINAL series by the dad, not the redos by his daughter…). 🙂

    • Dana Ticknor says:

      Sorry, it should be All Of A Kind FAMILY series 😉

    • Ami says:

      Yes, All of a Kind Family is so wonderful! I love learning about the Jewish traditions, and I love books about big families who work together. Plus, the series is nearly 100 years old now which makes it even more fascinating to me!

  • Joy says:

    Judy Moody books, Stink books (Judy’s brother) and Ready Freddy books are all great read out loud books for this age range. Plus, they have some humor in them that will keep your children engaged. And, the chapters are short easy reads.

  • Caroline says:

    I have two boys, almost 6 and 4. We’re working our way through the Magic Treehouse series. We’re on #40 and I’m pretty sure we didn’t start until about this time last year. We read one or two chapters a night and my 5 year old begs for more. My 3 year old isn’t as into it and will sometimes get Daddy to read him a picture book while I’m reading but he still knows what’s going on. Since they go so many cool places, it’s fun when one of my boys mentions that they remember such and such from Jack and Annie! We’ve also read Charlotte’s Web aloud and their reward at the end was to watch the movie. My oldest has asked if I could start reading Harry Potter out loud this summer.

  • Nicole says:

    My mother actually found The Bobbsey Twins series, which I read as a child and LOVED. I have borrowed one at a time to read out loud to my 5 and 2.5 year old boys. They love them! And, I find that my 2.5 year old comprehends much more than I thought he might! I actually read to them while they eat their breakfast and lunch. They are busy eating and listening. I often find that when I close the book when they are done eating, they both ask me to continue reading while they just sit at the table and listen! Each chapter ends with a cliff hanger, so they always want me to read on!

  • Jay says:

    Our school has a summer reading program that requires reading 4 chapter books out loud, so we’ve done a bunch over the years. I use this time to read thoughtful, well-written books that my kids probably wouldn’t pick up on their own. There are tons of classics out there, including the Little House series and the Chronicles of Narnia which have already been mentioned. Some of our other favorites, more or less younger to older (my kids are now 11 & 14 and we started this when they were 5 & 8):

    The Mouse and the Motorcycle trilogy by Beverly Cleary – I think even the youngest of kids would enjoy these

    The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla – only about 100 pages

    The Trumpet of the Swan, Charlotte’s Web, or others by E. B. White

    The Paddington books by Michael Bond

    Paddle to the Sea & other books by Holling Clancy Holling – gorgeous pictures, kind of an cross between a chapter and a picture book

    Mr. Popper’s Penguins by R. & F. Atwater (haven’t seen the movie, but the book is funny!)

    Sarah, Plain and Tall and sequels by Patricia MacLachlan – short and thoughtful, our family also has a “Queen of Questions”

    The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

    Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang by Ian Fleming – I remember finishing this one sitting on a blanket waiting for fireworks to start

    Homer Price & sequel by Robert McCloskey – hilarious!! (he’s got great picture books too!)

    The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

    The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong – I thought this was too long and a little dry, but when I asked our 11 year old what books we had read together, this is one of the first she remembered

    The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg – I remember my 3rd grade teacher reading this to our class

    The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli

    The Great Brain series by John Fitzgerald

    The Hobbit by Tolkien

    A Christmas Carol – Dickens – short but have a dictionary on hand, we still talk about one man’s “pendulous excrescence”

    The Sign of the Beaver & other books by Elizabeth George Speare – excellent for older elementary ages

    The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

    The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – also older elementary, one of my very favorite books growing up (I love puzzles)

    A Wrinkle in Time (& sequels) by Madeline L’Engle

    Meet the Austins by Madeline L’Engle (first book is good for elementary kids, but save the others for middle and high school)

    • Ami says:

      Homer Price was hilarious!

      21 Balloons is totally different from that, but it reminded me of it for some reason. That book was really fascinating and unpredictable.

      Did you notice that the Railway Children was a bit socialist? That really caught me off guard.

  • shannon says:

    I have just discovered Youth With a Mission biographies and love them. Just recently finished Nate Saint and now on Hudson Taylor. They have close to 40 and considering ordering quite a few of them…..

  • Amy H. says:

    We’ve started playing audio books during lunch time. The kids are out of school for the summer and had started a habit of picking at each other during lunch – listening to books has kept the bickering down during that time of the day and also is keeping their brains engaged through the summer months.

    • MH says:

      I love this suggestion! I have read at mealtimes a few times, but we mostly do audio books in the car.
      Also this discussion is mostly around fiction books – and I do love good fiction and read a lot to my 6.5 yr old twin boys – but don’t forget non-fiction. This year my boys expressed interests in Amelia Earhart and Australian animals so we checked out books on those topics from the library and read them together.

  • Lori says:

    All of the above suggestions esp. Boxcar Children, the Ramona books, Narnia, Junie B. Jones, Judy Moodie, Magic Treehouse, A-Z Mysteries are all popular. A new Series, “The Penderwicks” – lovely stories about 4 sisters. Old classics – Understood Betsy, Caddie Woodlawn, Johnny Tremain are all good. My son loved the Sideways School stories by Louis Sacher. Also The Wind in the Willows, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mrs West Wind’s Neighbors, Rabbit Hill – all good! (I work in an elem. school & our local library – just love books!)

  • Sara Z. says:

    Thought my 6 year old daughter loves to read (and be read to), I could never get her to allow me to read a chapter book to her until last week. I’m so excited that we are working our way through a book together finally! The book that caught her attention was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! I hope she will let me continue with reading aloud 🙂

  • Allison says:

    I definitely agree that children can often understand books well beyond their reading level. When I was a first grader, my dad read me Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” and while I’m sure I missed some things, I understood the basic story and enjoyed it.

  • PaigeP says:

    We’ve read MANY of the above-mentioned books ( my dc are 11, 9, 7 and 3, and we love read-alouds!). Another series that was a huge hit and a great attention-grabber was The Doll People by Ann Martin and the next two in the series. My kids never wanted me to stop reading those books; they desparately wanted to know what was going to happen next.

  • Dee Dee says:

    We have read many books a day since birth, but haven’t begun chapter books yet. My daughter just turned 4 and I had just decided to start this summer, so this very helpful! Thank you, as well as the comment suggestions.

  • Terry says:

    We also did the Narina chronicles and the librarian pointed us to abridged versions of Oliver Twist and other classics.

  • Kristen says:

    I’d also add the Boxcar children books – I loved those growing up! Since my two are younger (2.5 and 9 months) we read a lot of Dr. Suess (particularly the longer ones like The Cat in the Hat Comes Back and Fox in Socks)

  • Courtney says:

    Beverly Cleary’s books are huge favorites in our house, especially the Ramona books.

  • Dana says:

    We started with the Little House books when my son was in kindergarten. We also read the Beverly Cleary Ramona books, which were great. The Hank the Cowdog books by John Erickson are good, as are the Humphrey books by Betty Birney. I don’t really care for the Boxcar Children books…I don’t think they’re very well written. We also tried Hardy Boys since I was a big Nancy Drew fan as a kid, but I couldn’t really get into them; perhaps he’ll read them by himself. He also read a lot of the Magic Treehouse books on his own. We are just now reading Chronicles of Narnia and my son is almost 9. Love this post, though, because we’re always looking for good series to enjoy together, too!

  • Cate says:

    I love these tips, Crystal! My daughter just turned 3, and I’ve always read books to her that are way above her age level. We read less advanced stuff, too—she still loves board books!—but lots of fairly advanced picture books and even some nonfiction (she’s passionate about animals so we check out lots of books about them). She even went through a phase where, don’t ask me why, but she wanted me to read Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own to her!

    I second many of the books and series mentioned already, but wanted to tell you about a woman named Mary Leonhardt, who has written some of my favorite books about kids and reading. The first is called Parents Who Love Reading, Kids Who Don’t and the second is Keeping Kids Reading. I’ve found these really useful even as the mom of a little girl who, so far, loves to read.

  • Judy says:

    My husband just finished reading aloud The Wizard of Oz to my boys and I was shocked at how into my 5 year old was! He would beg for more and I loved hearing their interactions.

    Right now we are reading the classic Winnie the Pooh books which my son adores and they are written so humorously that I really enjoy them too.

  • Virginia says:

    My boys (7, 6, &3) love the Boxcar Children but also have really enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure books that I remember reading as a child. They are harder to find, but definitely worth it!

  • PAULA C. says:

    My son and I enjoy reading Horrible Harry books. We can’t get enough of them!

  • I’m going to second the Romana Quimby books, the Boxcar Children, and Narnia series. We also read the Little House series and several classic books – the orignals of Peter Pan and Bambi included. We’re starting the Nancy Drew Mysteries (the 1940s and 50s originals that my mom and aunts owned) next. My kids love mysteries so these are great and they aren’t as dark as some of the newer ones.

    Love reading all the suggestions here!

  • Tara G. says:

    I don’t have time to go through the comments, so I’ll assume someone has mentioned simply considering Sonlight’s books lists. Often times the kids write book review and post them as part of assignments and they always list a read aloud and a read alone level.

  • Sarah S. says:

    My kids (4, 6, & 8) love The Boxcar Children and The Chronicles of Narnia.

  • Stephanie says:

    There is a fantastic series my family read together when I was younger called the Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. Geared a little more toward boys, but I enjoyed it as much as my brother did.

  • Jl Johnson says:

    I’m a teacher and that sounds like a pretty broad range. The 3 year old may have a difficult time sitting for a chapter book since it’s not really developmentally appropriate for them to be able to do so. Perhaps some picture books that are a little bit longer in text to also engage the older kiddos. Bill Peet has some great ones – you could also do the more unknown Dr. Seuss books. The play on words would be interesting for the younger child and the plot would be interesting for the older ones.

    When they get a bit older, the Clementine books by Pennypacker are great. Think of Junie B. Jones but much better language. Also the BFG and other Roald Dahl books are hits with the 1st grade – 3rd grade range.

    • Kim says:

      My children are 9,7,7,4; we are currently reading The BFG, we’ve read the Little House series, Sarah Plain and Tall, and quite a few others.
      I read to them for 20-30 minutes every night before bed. My 4 yr old rocks with me while I read and loves listening just as much as the older ones do.
      I agree toddlers don’t have the attention span to sit still for that long. But when they’ve grown up with it they enjoy the routine and are usually happy to cuddle mom while she reads!

  • Donna says:

    Here’s a list from Charlotte Mason’s early read alouds:

    I don’t know whether you have boys are girls, but some old (available free online on Gutenberg and other places) and very good books for boys are: Tom Swift series, The Rover Boys, 5 Little Peppers, Aesop’s Fables, The Tuck Me In Tales by Arthur Scott Bailey, books by Horatio Alger…

    Happy reading!

    • Alicia Hart says:

      I was just curious to know if you used the online curriculum plan for Simply Charlotte Mason. We used it last year and really enjoyed it.


      • Donna says:

        Our primary ‘curriculum’ for years has been the Robinson Curriculum. However, once we get through those, I look to CM and a few other sources for ‘good books’ that I can get from the library. (The RC books are all printable…and now that I’ve printed them once- all the children can use them. 🙂

        But my children have very much enjoyed most of the books on CM’s suggested lists. They are VERY good. I love that I can go to their site and type in a subject and pull up books in the grade levels that I need!
        It helps me to ‘fill in the gaps’ -without feeling like I have to read everything first. 😉

  • Particularly, if your eldest is a girl, a good way to start is with the lovely Milly Molly Mandy series. This is ideal as whilst it is a chapter book, each chapter is complete in itself. Milly Molly Mandy is set in England in the 1920s in a family who live in a “little white cottage with a thatched roof.”

  • Sara says:

    My kids are 2,3, and 8. A great time to start reading chapter books is nap time. My little ones know to stay on their bed quietly looking at books while I read to my older daughter. They have picture books to look at but I am always amazed at how much they retain from the books, my three year old son often asks questions about what we’re reading. Don’t assume that because they are young they are unable to follow the story line. Allow the little ones to keep their hands busy (legos, play dough) and you will find that they listen.

    • karen r says:

      My kids are 19, 16, 8, and 6 and we have always read aloud as a family, and always at a range of reading levels including novels for adults. The little ones don’t always act like they’re focusing (or even aware that I’m reading) but then they’ll mention something in the story at a later time and I’ll realize they had followed along. The key really is to allow them to play. Or draw quietly during story time.

      We’re reading The Princess Bride right now and they all love it.

  • Angela says:

    I’ve seen a few of these mentioned:

    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
    The 39 Clues Series
    The Ramona Series
    The Anne of Green Gables Series
    The Harry Potter Series

  • MK Jorgenson says:

    My daughter’s not quite two, but I’ve always read chapter books aloud to her at lunch. Sure, she doesn’t understand, but she’s learning to enjoy read-aloud time. And once we started reading Little House in the Big Woods, she latched onto the book cover, pointing out all the characters every day and repeating words or names she knew as I read.

    Recently, we’ve added audiobook time in the afternoon: I put in an audiobook CD (currently Strawberry Hill), set my daughter up with coloring or something quiet, and we listen for about 15 minutes. It’s good daily practice for quiet church sitting with a fun story.

    Of course, the hard part about introducing all these stories so young is that I’ll have to read them again when she’s older. Oh the sacrifices we make for our children 😉

  • Amy says:

    Beverly Cleary’s books are great read-alouds. I would suggest Ramona, Henry Huggins, and the Mouse & the Motorcycle series. Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little are also fun read-alouds. Your family can celebrate the completetion of a book by watching the movie together. Make comparisons between the book and the movie. My children often preferred the book’s storyline over the movie.

    The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease would be a great a great resource for any parent interested in reading aloud to their children. The first half of the book explains all the whys and hows. The last half lists Jim’s book suggestions by age and topic. Read reviews on Amazon and then check your local library for a copy.

    • Rachel says:

      I was just skimming comments before I was going to recommend The Read-Aloud Handbook as well:) There are at least 6 editions, so my guess is that if you don’t mind missing more recent book recommendations, a good deal could be had on ebay.

  • jamie says:

    One of my favorite books growing up was Island of the Blue Dolphins. James Herriot has some wonderful animal stories for children as well.

  • Erin says:

    My kids and I have just stumbled across two great series by Arleta Richardson — the Grandma’s Attic series and Orphan Train series. Very engaging, good writing and a solid Christian message. I don’t want to stop reading any more than my kids do!

    • Diana says:

      I was going to mention Grandma’s Attic, too–those were some of my favorites when I was a kid. Also, there’s a series about a lady named Mrs. Piggle Wiggle that I loved. Like Grandma’s Attic, each chapter is one story, but they’re such fun to read–Mrs. Piggle Wiggle “helps” kids who are struggling with an area (not listening, not wanting to take a bath, etc.) by suggesting something hilarious that ends up helping the kid see the importance of that action.

  • Danielle Hull says:

    We’ve used coloring sheets that go with the story to help keep the little ones busy. There are a lot of freebies online, and Dover has many reproducible books. Just keep the books put up, or the kids will color in them!

  • Melissa says:

    Magic Tree House hands down!

    • Joyce says:

      I totally agree, and was going to post this until I saw you did it first! My son (7) LOVES the Magic Treehouse books, and he even got his own library card this year so we can go to the library and check them out together. They really stimulate his imagination and curiosity!

    • Rebecca says:

      I was going to say Magic Tree House too. My daughter just turned 5 and we have been reading the series since April of this year. We are now on Book #35. They are such good books, and we have both enjoyed them. We often read one every night.

    • SusanR says:

      I have 6 year old twin girls, and one of them loves Magic Tree House. She’s reached the point of being able to read them on her own, which is good, because my other daughter doesn’t like them at all. Since she’s the weaker reader, I have started reading something she’s more interested in at night before bed – Ivy and Bean. I know, not the greatest, but she likes them and she looks forward to it, so that’s what is important. 🙂

    • amy in arizona says:

      I definitely agree about Magic Tree House books.

    • Melissa Evans says:

      YES! Magic tree house is awesome! They are imaginative, informative, and just plain fun! They have research guides to go with the series that help the kids to learn the facts behind the fiction and there are even lesson plan ideas online for free! We also enjoy the Wrinkle in time series, Chronicles of Narnia, Beverly Cleary books, Left Behind Kids, and Roald Dahl.

    • Tricia says:

      Agree! My 3 & 5 yr-old got hooked on these when I picked up the first 4 as audio books with a road trip last year. The (then barely) 3-yr-old feel alseep during some, but they listened to all 4 books twice through. Since then we’ve borrowed most of the first 40 from the library. We use them to discuss fact vs fiction and what parts are based on things that really happened. We usually borrow audio for chapter books. (I have a tendency to get super drowsy when reading aloud.)

  • Cassandra says:

    An oldie, but a goodie, Box Car Children! They used to be some of my favorite books! Also, the Berenstain Bears chapter books are great.

  • Diane says:

    We read a lot of the ones already mentioned, but one of their absolute favorites were “The Incredible World of Wally McDoogle” series by Bill Myers. These are funny and have good morals in them. And most definitely do different voices!

  • Tamara V says:

    My son and I enjoyed reading the whole series of Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, including the Mouse and the Motorcyle and Henry and Ribsy books. He also enjoys Flat Stanley.

  • karen r says:

    Books we’ve enjoyed as a family:

    Chronicles of Narnia
    The Princess Bride
    Harry Potter series
    Winnie the Pooh
    Trumpet of the Swan
    The Hobbit
    Just So Stories

    • Joe Morgan says:

      My girls (6 and 8) are currently enjoying The Hobbit. I’d love to get a copy of Princess Bride too

      They’ve also loved the Magic Tree House books and American Girl stories.

      • Carrie Beth says:

        Although I LOVE The Princess Bride, I would not read it to a younger audience, or if you do, be ready to do selective editing as you read aloud- the book is actually much racier than the movie :)!

  • Kristin says:

    The Magic Tree House is a great series. It’s enough to keep older kids engaged, but not too much that little ones can’t catch on. They are the most popular books in our library at school! My 6 year old son loves them!

  • There is a great on-line search tool for books, especially for your daughters at It’s a family guide to great books for girls. The site includes classic favorites like a lot of the book mentioned here and a few books written in the last few years. You can search by age and reading level.

  • Brenda says:

    A favorite with our boys was the “Mice of the Herring Bone” by Tim Davis ( My husband read this to both of our boys when they were just starting to read & they would just sit there & giggle & laugh, loving every minutes of it. It’s well written from a Christian perspective (published by Bob Jones Press–along with LOTS of other WONDERFULLY written books for all ages from PreK-Adult). There are 5 books in this series & a they are good ones to *hook* them on reading. Others my oldest son has enjoyed reading include The Boxcar Children books, Jigsaw Jones books, & Encyclopedia Brown books. He also really enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia audio book series that Crystal recommended last summer from He said that listening to that series was his favorite part of the school year this last year.

  • T. Graham says:

    10 Tips for Reading Aloud to Children (by Jim Trelease, author of the Read Aloud Handbook):
    1. Remember, the art of listening is acquired
    2. Set aside at least one traditional time each day for a story
    3. Read slowly enough for the child to build mental pictures
    4. Use plenty of expression, change your tone of voice and adjust the pace to fit the story
    5. Encourage involvement (invite the child to turn pages for you)
    6. Ask questions like “What do you think is going to happen next?”
    7. During repeat readings of a predictable book, stop at key phrases and allow the child to provide the words
    8. If you can’t finish a chapter, find a suspenseful spot at which to stop
    9. Vary the length and topic of your readings (both fiction and non-fiction)
    10. Reading aloud comes naturally to very few people. To do it with ease takes practice.
    And, of course, I am going to recommend any title from Usborne Books, especially the (Very) First Reading program.

  • Cara says:

    I would recommend the Bindi Wildlife Adventures Series. My son and daughter, who just turned 5 and 7, really enjoy these! Currently reading the Trumpet of the Swan which has been excellent so far.

  • BethB says:

    Somewhat related, I got Roxaboxen from the library after your recommendation. My almost 6 y/o son is obsessed with it! The first thing he said when he got up this morning was “Can we build Roxaboxen now?” I felt bad telling him he had to go to school. He spent the time before breakfast drawing up plans. I’ve scouted our basement for boxes and other materials to pull out when he gets home. It’s really triggered something in his imagination. Thanks!

  • Anna says:

    My daughters are a in the same age range, and they have loved chapter books. Paddle-to-the-Sea is a chapter/picture book that we are reading right now, and my oldest is enthralled (to my surprise actually). All of mine loved The Trumpet of the Swan (by E.B. White), and it has some science thrown into the very engaging story. We read Little House in The Big Woods (and the next 3 Little House). One thing I’ll do is read a page or two of a new book aloud, and test my kids interest. If they aren’t engaged, then I look for a different book. I want reading to be really fun and interesting, and with so many good books to choose from, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be.

    • katie says:

      It is so great that you are enjoying reading with your two girls! I agree that reading can and should be enjoyable and applaud you for taking the time to give that gift to your children. Can I encourage you to read a chapter or more, perhaps while the girls are engaged in something else fun like a craft or drawing, before deciding whether or not to go on? I only suggest this because my own experience, particularly as a young girl was that the books I hated most and labored through in the beginning always seem to be the ones that engaged me most and became my favorites by the end. You are so right that there are so very many good books out there to choose from – enjoy!!

  • Alicia Hart says:

    Great article!

    We love excellent literature in our home! We believe that reading aloud to our children for a minimum of 1-2 hours per day (not all at one time of course) is one of the best things that you can do as a parent. Research has shown that it increases vocabulary and actually helps them to learn to read or to become better readers.

    We get many good book reccommendations from the book, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Ambleside Onlline, and as mentioned before, the Simply Charlotte Mason website.

    Some of our favorites have been:

    Anne of Green Gables (the first one)
    Swiss Family Robinson
    Alice in Wonderland
    Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
    Peter Pan

    Some of these books were a little over the heads of some of my kids but they were able to catch the jist of the story and still enjoyed them very much.

  • Mrs. R. says:

    Thanks so much, everyone, including Crystal!

    We’re saving this post and Comments for our precious wee ones’ benefit (and ours)!

  • Alicia Hart says:

    Oh and I almost forgot –

    Charlotte’s Web was sooooo good. A beautiful story of self-sacrifice and true friendship.
    Heidi is a wonderful story too. We always read the unabridged versions. They are truly the best.

  • Toni says:

    Begin with 10 minutes and increase a few minutes at a time. At your children’s ages, ours enjoyed:
    -The Tales of Winnie the Pooh
    -The Boxcar Children
    -Tom Sawyer
    -Patricia St. John books (can’t say enough good things)

  • Christine says:

    If you’re a Christian I recommend The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories. It’s easy to read with brightly illustrations. My 7yo reads 1 or 2 chapters nightly, anywhere from 15-20minutes total. I’m guessing by August we’ll have completed it. After that thinking of kid’s daily devotional or series about specific events/people in the Bible.
    Check out children’s section. They have incredible sales and great selection of kids ebooks valued $0- $1.

  • Carrie Beth says:

    Check out Sonlight homeschool curriculum’s website. Their read aloud lists are absolutely excellent. They challenge the children, excite them, and motivate them to learn. Some of the books are not available through a library, and would have to be ordered through Sonlight (books about missionaries, etc.), but I have read these lists to my children each year, and my oldest is a rising fifth grader, and we have always had a very good experience with them. I am loving re-reading the lists to my younger son now- all of us love these books!

  • Kate E. says:

    This might have already been mentioned, but I don’t have time to read through all of the previous comments so I don’t know. (Although I’m bookmarking this for future reference!) When I was little, my mom and grandma would read to my sister and I from Ralph Moody’s books. “Little Britches” is the best known of his books, but there is a whole series of them. I re-read all of them a few years ago, and I enjoyed them just as much as an adult as I did as a child.

  • Nicole Taylor says:

    I haven’t read all the posts, so I apologize if this is redundant. I love to create an activity after a read aloud that corresponds to what we have read. For example, in Little House in the Big Woods, Ma (if I remember correctly) churns butter. After we read that chapter, we make butter using heavy cream in a glass jar. Just shake like crazy and let the kids help. You will see it become whipped cream and then butter. Then sample the butter on crackers or fresh bread. I try to find something to connect to as often as possible. I am a teacher and used to have summer reading groups so we would do these activities to make the reading more enjoyable and not feel like doing “work” during summer vacation.

  • jerilyn says:

    The Chronicles of Narnia for sure! My almost 5-year-old loves them! My almost 3-year-old is just learning to sit and be quiet- he probably isn’t following the story but that’s okay.
    My 3/4th grade teacher would always read to us after recess. I remember the Redwall series the most- your kids might like those by Brian Jaques. She would give us some play wax that could help engage our hands while we focused on the story.

  • Katie says:

    Great post, Crystal!

    I had to laugh though when you wrote: “…Reading while they are eating breakfast or lunch is a great way to introduce them to good read-alouds while their hands are already occupied and their bodies are still.” Maybe, you can do a post just for me on how to make that happen! Right now my 3 yo boy thinks that eating is a full-body sport 🙁

    Anyway, I saw that you recommended “Hand that Rocks the Cradle” by Nathaniel Bluedorn. This is SUCH A GREAT RESOURCE!! I wanted to mention too that his sister, Ava Bluedorn, wrote a pamphlet in a similar vein called “Lives in Print” which contains only biographies and auto-biographies. Find it on Amazon or search for the title to find it on their family-website (Trivium Pursuit). I just finished “Allen Pinkerton: Master Detective” by Arthur Orrmont which was recommended in “Lives in Print. What a great grade-school reading level book about the founder of the American Secret Service!!

    I highly recommend reading plenty of biographies as I think they help kids to transition from novels and easy-readers to higher-level literature later on in their teens. For Christian biographies I recommend Faith Cook. Many of her books contain several shorter biographies which would be appropriate for read aloud time, though her longer bios are excellent as well. One of my favorites is “In Trouble and in Joy” about 4 Christian women from the 1600s – 1800s and how they served Christ cheerfully in varying circumstances. Soooo encouraging! And because each short biography is broken into parts (Historical Setting, Letters & Diary entries, Early Life, etc.), you can easily choose to read a bit at a time.

    Enjoy your journey into reading aloud, Jayne!

  • Katie says:

    All the Beatrix Potter’s are great “bridge books” when your oldest is unable to sit through a chapter book yet but isn’t interested in “baby books” anymore. The ones with the original illustrations are exciting, have great vocabulary, are funny, and only have one (fantastic) watercolor illustration for each open page. Some have more text per page than others. There are so many fantastic ones, but I highly recommend “The Roly Poly Pudding” if you can get your hands on it. My son thinks it’s hilarious.

    • Ami says:

      I was going to recommend these for the same thing. Beautiful vocabulary and artwork…so fun to read in an English accent!

    • Alicia Hart says:

      My kids love Roly Poly Pudding as well!

      We have read nearly all the Beatrix Potter books. They are high quality literature for kids. FYI, if you read Squirrel Nutkin carefully you will see that there are several riddles in the story with the answer sort of hidden in the following lines of the story.

      • katie says:

        Amy – Yes!! KIds love when you read in an accent and I think it also helps me to “lose face” and loosen up as an adult!

        Alicia – My son likes roll up in blanket, meow at me and tell me he’s pudding 🙂 And I love Squirrel Nutkin! Those riddles are so fun – only I really don’t get the one about the Nettle!! Was “Hitty Pitty” and old phrase for a nettle? It’s so lost on me, even with the explanation in the riddle!

  • jenn says:

    My fathers dragon
    The iron giant
    The just so stories
    When my name was keoko

  • Janet says:

    The Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series. I was read these as a child and always looked forward to it and so did my father – they are great for children and entertaining for parents. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle has cures for all sorts of childhood bad habits (each chapter being a story about a different child and their bad habit, so chapters are great stopping points). Mrs Piggle Wiggles Magic is my favorite book and included some of the funnest “cures” like the Thought-You-Saiders Cure and the Bad-Table-Manners Cure. You and your children, boys or girls, will enjoy these stories!

  • Ami says:

    The Boxcar Children, at least all the ones published before 2000. These are awesome because it’s about 4 children who always get along and find ways to work together and help people. The first few were written in the ’40’s, I think. Older ones have the grandfather saying things like, “A boy should only have to be told something once,” but the newer ones have the grandfather repeatedly giving instructions…sounds like a reflection of the flaws in our modern parenting trends! I like the older ones because the kids are given so much responsibility.

    Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is hilarious!

    And A.A. Milne – SO MUCH better than the new Pooh stuff – I can’t even tolerate that stuff. The old Pooh charactars are surprisingly naughty. (Once they take Tigger for a walk and try to intentionally lose him because he’s obnoxious. They get lost instead and he finds them!)

    I started reading chapter books when my oldest was 3. Our first was Charlotte’s Web. (All of E.B. White are great, too!) I realized my boy was “getting it” when I read the passage about the barn swing and I could see how his face was lit up with imagination.

    I’ve been surprised that my 3 kids (oldest is 8) do NOT like to keep their hands busy while we read. Their bodies typically freeze while I read; I don’t know why.

    • katie says:

      I loved the early Boxcar children – all in the same vein as Robinson Crusoe, Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain – taking responsibility and creating your own corner of the world with your bare hands – with the added delight of good company.

      A.A. Milne’s poetry is also delightful and good for beginning read-aloud time when your kids are just barely moving beyond baby-type picture books. Short quirky poems with an illustration each – Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young. My favorite poem (growing up) was “Forgiven”, and my son’s is “The Train”. I read my son the same copy of “Now We Are Six” that my mom inscribed for me on my own sixth birthday 🙂

      Another poetry collection that fits this bill is “A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Louis Stevenson. There’s a lovely one illustrated by Tasha Tudor as well as an abridged edition edited by Cooper Edens in Board Book format.

  • Clara Auty says:

    Don’t forget that your local children’s librarian can often help you out in a bind.

    3 year olds vary so much in what they are able to tolerate. Give it time and come back to some of the books later if there isn’t interest right away.

    For early chapter books, we liked anything by Cynthia Rylant: Mr. Putter and Tabby, Poppleton, and Henry and Mudge. You might have to read the whole book to fill 20 minutes, though.

  • Wendy B says:

    I so recommend Magic Tree House Books / Mary Pope Osbourne

  • Shelby says:

    My daughter is 5, and we just read our first chapter book aloud together over Christmas break. We started with “My Father’s Dragon” and I would recommend it for anyone looking for a book to start with. It was so fun and imaginative and caught us both up into another world. There are 2 more books in the series that we ended up reading the same week. We loved them.

  • Linda Maddox says:

    Cutting Tiny Bites has some great chapter book lists.

  • Jen says:

    Thanks so much for this post!! One of my goals for this year is to read 3 books aloud to my kids. I’ve been feeling frustrated because my 3 year old boy is not all that interested in sitting quietly and listening…but your ideas are very helpful. Thank you for the great suggestions. 🙂

  • Kelsey says:

    My oldest daughter is 9 yrs old and I am looking to get some self development or self confidence books. Does anyone have any good suggestions?

  • Jessica says:

    Love tips from Money Saving Mom. Also, check out the read aloud revival podcast. Its all about this topic!…/ That said, you’d be suprised what your kids will love! We started out with Charlotte’s web, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins and other books that we could then watch the movies after we finished. We also keep an audiobook in the car, even just for short errands. any time we are in there, its on! We just finished The Castle in the Attic that way! It and its sequel, the battle for the castle, were GREAT!

  • Tricia says:

    Some parents would love to read together but feel they can’t for various reasons. Maybe the family is too busy, English is not the parent’s primary language, or there are health or speech impediments that make it hard to read aloud for long.

    While we do a lot of traditional reading aloud, we also love audio books. Libraries usually have a decent selection, especially in Overdrive collections (digital checkout). When I’m willing to spend some money I go for whispersync books through Amazon Kindle. I use the free apps (no Kindle device necessary) and add on the audio to the Kindle version. It’s usually cheaper than just the audio, and you can switch between reading and listening or do both at the same time.

    Favorites: Ella Enchanted. Get the audio. The book is OK, but my brothers (yes, this has a girl for the main character yet all 3 of my brothers like it) fell in love with the story because of the audio version. The actress who reads it really brings it to life in a way simply reading it can’t. (And don’t discount it because the movie was lame. They are vastly different.)

    Tuesdays at the Castle

    Mr Poppers Penguins

    The Witch of Blackbird Pond (for older kids- set around the time of the Salem witch trials and is about misunderstandings, not witchcraft)

    Mercy Watson- early chapter books with lots of fun illustrations

    Many of the titles listed by others are also favorites. My kids (3 & 5) fell in love with Magic Tree House (or as they call them, The Jack and Annie books) after listening to the 1st 8 on a car trip… several times over. We’ve found more from the library and the older one always asks to do the passport questions on their website. These have also helped with conversations about fact vs fiction vs legend as we talk through what parts were based on history, what is made up, and what is based on an unverified kernel of possibility.

  • Will says:

    I’m more of the fantasy guy, so we are reading the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson right now, and my love it. We’ve also read the entire series of The Chronicles of Narnia.

    My wife has read Little House on Prairie and Anne of Green Gables to them.

  • Sarah Wh says:

    Your public library is a great place to get reading recommendations! Speak with the Youth Services librarians. They can tailor reading suggestions for your kids ages and likes/dislikes.

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