Snuggling in bed with your children and a nice book is one of those memories that continues to be treasured long after growing old, by both kids and parents alike. You get a chance to unwind from the day you’ve just been through, to spend some quality time with your loved ones, and to dive deep into your imaginations and have a shared experience that can help foster a deep bond.
If you’re not already taking some time from your day to sit with your children and a nice book, it’s never too late to start! No matter the age of your children, there are plenty of exciting tales of adventure and fun stories to dive into, and just as many benefits to the activity.
Why read out loud to your kids?
- It promotes language learning and literacy
Studies have found that reading out loud to young children is the most important activity when it comes to developing language and literacy skills. From teaching kids basic pronunciation and building their vocabulary to fostering important listening skills, reading out loud with your kids – especially before they enter school age – can be tremendously helpful in building the foundation blocks for language and literacy skills that will be used later on in life.
- It helps to develop motivation, curiosity, and memory
Reading books with your children chapter by chapter, slowly day by day, can be helpful in developing their sense of motivation, curiosity, and memory. Children will watch a story slowly unfold before them, and feel motivated to continue exploring the story and seeing where it goes. This motivation will encourage your kids to continue projects they have started, rather than abandoning them halfway as kids are prone to do. Memory will also be exercised as they string together the pieces read aloud each night. You can also help to strengthen their memory by asking questions about the previous chapters before continuing with the next.
- It helps to build confidence
No child will start out in life as a star reader. There are different stages to go through before a child masters the art of reading, from sounding letters aloud to pronouncing words incorrectly. Reading aloud with your children provides them with a safe space from which to explore and develop their reading skills. As they comfortably progress from stage to stage, your child will feel more confident in themselves. They will realise that they can be more expressive, fluent, and effective in any skill – with just a little guidance and practice.
- It fosters a deep connection and bond
Finding the time every night to snuggle up and dive into a story with your kids has tremendous benefits when it comes to fostering a connection between parent and child. According to Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report, 83% of kids aged 6-17 said that reading with their parents was something they either loved or liked a lot. This nightly ritual is something cherished by kids long after they grow old, and can help to deepen the parent-child bond.
If the above four benefits aren’t enough to get you started on reading out loud with your kids, perhaps you’d like to read a little more into it. Check out our article on Why It’s Important to Read Out Loud to Your Kids for a more thorough exploration of the benefits.
13 fun books to read aloud with kids
There’s no discrimination here! From picture books to more complex stories, these are (in our opinion) the most fun books to read out loud with your kids. Some are interactive, some have pretty pictures, some are downright crazy, and others are just plain great stories. Head down to your local library or bookstore, take your kids with you, and prepare for exciting reading time.
1. Press Here by Herve Tullet
You don’t just sit and read this book… follow the instructions and press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and watch the craziness unfold! This fun interactive book will have your kids giggling with madness as they watch the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size. Get imaginations growing and help kids develop their interactive skills at once. Sounds good to us!
2. The Book With No Pictures by B.J Novak
Sounds boring right, a book with no pictures? Wrong! This book is fantastic in helping kids to realise that reading can be just as silly and fun as not reading. Full of crazy words like BLORK and BLUURF, every single thing has to be read aloud by your children. Not only will they learn to pronounce complex and strange words, but they’ll have a whole lot of fun doing so!
3. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
A classic children’s story, Goodnight Moon is the perfect book for soothing your little one and preparing them for bed. Following a sleepy bunny tucked away in bed, the book takes turns to say goodnight to different objects in the room. Great for helping kids to build their vocabulary, the words have matching illustrations to help children make associations in their mind between words and objects. This story is sure to relax both you and your child at night.
4. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A magical tale that’s just as mesmerising and captivating for adults as it is for children, The Little Prince is a classic story about a small boy from another planet. Peppered with important lessons and themes such as growing up and seeing the extraordinary in a world of ordinary, this is a book that will truly be cherished by children old enough to understand it. Perfect for those kids who already know how to read, The Little Prince will reinstill the magic in a life that may have lost a bit of its spark.
5. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This children’s book is one that is appreciated by generation after generation, a fantastic story that’s beautifully illustrated and told. This wonderful tale teaches adventurous children that sometimes the best way to appreciate being home is by leaving it to explore the unknown. Truly poetic and inspiring, you can read the story together with your child and then enjoy the film version afterwards. Have fun and compare the difference between what your child saw in their imagination versus how themes and characters were portrayed in the film.
6. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
A heartbreaking tale that illustrates the beautiful yet oftentimes greedy relationship between humans and nature, The Giving Tree follows the friendship between a boy and an apple tree. Infinitely giving, the tree gives the boy as much as she can, and he evolves to be more and more ‘taking’ as he grows older, eventually only visiting the tree when he wants material possessions. Quite an eye-opening tale, this story can be very sad to read, but very important in teaching kids lessons about sharing and caring for nature.
7. An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo
One for the older kids, this story is an excellent opportunity to introduce your children to the themes of wartime and the struggles other people go through to foster a sense of compassion. In this story, a German family rescues an elephant from a bomb-threatened zoo and tries to bring him to safety. Set during World War II, this story will develop children’s idea of history, empathy, and open their eyes to the world while also encouraging imagination and creativity. Did we mention it’s inspired by a true story? Kids will love that something so outrageous could be real!
8. Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
Endless fun for little kids, this interactive book has plenty of flaps to lift up and fold as your little ones try to look for Spot the dog. Hidden behind the 3D flaps and folds, the book has plenty for the kids to do and touch and feel. Encouraging development of the senses, the story also has simple text that even early readers can easily understand. With plenty of Spot books in the series, if your child gets sick of one, there are lots more to go through!
9. Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
Fancy Nancy is the perfect story for young girls with big personalities. The story follows Nancy, a larger than life little girl with a penchant for all things fancy, including feather boas, glitter and glam, fuzzy slippers, and using fancy French words in her vocabulary. A wonderful story that helps young girls to discover the uniqueness within themselves, Fancy Nancy is a great reading choice for helping kids to develop their vocabulary and empowering young girls.
10. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
This fun story goes through each letter of the alphabet as they climb up a tree and fall back down. One by one, the book notes the injury suffered by each letter of the alphabet, making it perfect for helping younger kids to memorise the alphabet and pick up valuable rhyming and vocabulary skills. Incredibly fun to read, you and your kids can put on voices and pretend to be rappers or jazz musicians while reading out loud.
11. There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! By Dr. Seuss
You can’t go wrong with a Dr. Seuss book. Full of fun and crazy illustrations, plenty of imaginative worlds and creations, and lots of ridiculous rhymes, every Dr. Seuss book is an incredible learning journey for children of all ages. There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! Is the first story by Dr. Seuss, and contains all the life lessons, rhymes, and craziness that he’s known and loved for. This one is just as much fun for you as it is for the kids!
12. Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
Another easy-to-read story that teaches children plenty of life lessons that they will carry on with them forever, this book follows a little boy called Joseph who has lots of little holes in his coat. Nevermind, he turns it into a jacket instead! And from a jacket into something else, and then something else… This story teaches your children the beauty of creativity, of cherishing objects long after they become defective, and of seeing the value in everything.
13. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
Even as kids, many of us dream of living forever. What happens if you get just that? Tuck Everlasting follows a family that drinks from an enchanted spring and are granted everlasting life. The book explores their emotions and feelings as they make sense of this new development in their lives, and teaches children that sometimes you’re better off not wishing for anything at all and just enjoying your life how it is. Another story that’s been turned into a movie, you can first enjoy reading the book together and then some fun nighttime movie watching afterwards!
So there you have it, 13 great reading suggestions to tackle with your kids, and plenty of benefits to enjoy while you’re at it. Perhaps it’s time to set up a nice reading nook for you and your kids to snuggle into with your book!