Here are my top four ‘read aloud’ books that I think are perfect at any age.
There are a lot of important-sounding studies that tell us that reading to young children promotes early literacy, increases receptive vocabularies and feeds their imagination. All good stuff, of course, but to me these aren’t the most important reason.
The most important reason is that reading with your children is an absolute joy. For us, it’s a gorgeous ritual that helps my children surrender the day before bedtime. We started with picture books when they were mere babes and we quickly moved up the ranks to the chapter books we’re currently reading. Take time to talk about the book as you go and you’ll be amazed at the insights into life that books provide for your children, and the insights into your children that books provide for you.
by Astrid Lindgren
We have the Lauren Child illustrated version and it’s such a treat. I have read this book aloud to my children at least five times at various ages. These days I’m also reading it aloud to 30 first graders on Wednesday afternoons. There is not a single child in that room that isn’t mesmerised by this classic tale of nine-year-old, super-strong, little-bit-crazy Pippi.
The Faraway Tree
by Enid Blyton
Not many illustrations, but Enid Blyton paints pictures with words so beautifully that even when very young, my children didn’t even notice. Moonface and Silky became a part of their friendship circle and one day I may or may not have threatened them with a visit from the Angry Pixie if they didn’t behave.
By the way, you can still find vintage versions with Dick and Fanny along for the ride, but most modern ones take Rick and Franny. I don’t know if that’s sad or not…
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy
by Lynley Dodd
The rhythm and rhyme of Lynley Dodd’s writing is so fresh that reading this book aloud is like singing. Within three reads, the children were all chanting the words along with me. Such fun and the illustrations are gorgeous. I’ve read this book to my children again as recently as last Tuesday.
by Anthony Browne
I reckon every mother in Australia has a copy of this book, most likely given to her on one Mother’s Day or another. It’s absolutely charming and, of course, a complete joy to read over and over as we celebrate the brilliance, the delight, the complete awesomeness that is Mum.