Although I’m glad my kids (ages 14 and 11) are such avid readers, sometimes I miss reading out loud to them. When they were younger, my husband and I took turns reading stories to them before bedtime. Most of the time, I enjoyed it as much as the kids did – snuggling beside them on the bed, getting into a story, acting out the various voices. Sure, I’ll admit that the endless Berenstein Bears books wore a little thin. Given the chance, I’d usually suggest one of Marc Brown’s Arthur books, with their cast of humorous characters: Arthur, DW, Binky Barnes, Buster Baxter, Muffy, and so on.
As my kids got older, I had even more fun reading to them from chapter books. Although they never enjoyed the Oz or the Narnia series the way I did, they both loved the MG series Gregor the Overlander (written by Suzanne Collins, pre-Hunger Games). Other favorites were Road Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Fantastic Mr. Fox) and the Harry Potter books. Sometimes I found it hard to stop, especially if the chapter ended on a cliff-hanger, and I’d keep reading, long after I should have turned out the lights. (And sometimes, after the kids went to sleep, I’d sneak peeks ahead in the books, because I couldn’t stand to wait until the following night to find out how they turned out!).
Although it’s not the same as reading out loud, our family has discovered that books on CD are great for road trips. Last summer, when we undertook a daunting 20-hour drive to Montana, we listened to The Hunger Games on CD. My husband and son, both of whom hadn’t read the book, were riveted. And even though I’d read it twice, I was so caught up in the great narration that the miles just flew by. We’re already planning ahead for this summer’s road trip (a 24 hour drive to Utah) by thinking of what books we might want to listen to.
In the meantime, in honor of Read Aloud day, I’m going to dredge up some of our favorite picture books from the box in the basement and share a few Arthur stories with the kids tonight. The hard part is deciding which ones to pick!