Summer Read . . . Alouds?

Summers are long and thick and lazy and sticky and beachy and full of water-gun, sunshine-y, read aloud fun.

“Read aloud fun?” you ask. “That’s a little random.”

Yep and . . . yeah, I guess, a little.

We are a read-aloud sort-of-family. I’ve read aloud to each of my four kids since they couldn’t even lift up their heads and I’d have to hold a burp-cloth under their little baby chins. While my husband romps on the trampoline (Mama’s stomach doesn’t do the trampoline) and shoots hockey pucks in our basement (good bye drywall), my special thing with them has always been reading. I’ve even begun to read aloud to my husband and myself while he sits at the kitchen table and ties his flies for his fly-fishing adventures. It’s a shared sort-of magic that we have together.

And there’s no better time than in the lazy summer heat, during an afternoon thunderstorm, or on cool summer evenings to pick up a book and start to read . . . aloud.

So, I’m going to give you some of my favorite—and my kids favorite—read-alouds. And since I’m a middle grade author and middle grade books tend to be the very best read aloud books for the widest audience around, that’s what I’m going to give you. I’ve also tested each of these on my four chickens and they agree. So without further ado…

Summer . . . (and Fall and Winter and Spring) . . . Read Alouds:

            Matilda by Roald Dahl (and pretty much all of his books: The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc): Well, ever since I was in fifth grade, this book had been my all-time favorite book around. It’s perfect in so many ways and if you could’ve seen the look on my kids face when they found out The Trunchbull was Ms. Honey’s aunt, well, it would bring tears to your eyes and a lump to your throat. The power of story…whew!

Harry Potter by JK Rowling…all 7 of them…yes, all 7 of them: I just finished reading the very last one to my kids about a week ago. Wow. Ummm . . . yeah, there isn’t much else that I can say without sounding like the Potter-crazy-34-year-old-mom that I am. So just read them aloud . . . all 7 of them. (I LOVE you, RONALD WEASLEY)

            Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech: This book, in and of itself, is beautiful, but read aloud it is even more magical. My kids loved it and of course, I cried and blubbered through the end.

            The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo: For those of you who haven’t read this book, I have a mixture of feelings towards you. It’s between pity that you haven’t experienced it’s magic yet, and jealousy that you get to read the magic for the first time. This is a beautiful story and is probably one of the most perfect read-aloud books on the planet.

            Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry: this is perfect for anyone who loves adventure, humor, mystery, and magic. The chapters are short, the plot is complex, and it’s just all-around fun, fun, fun. I adore this book so much and it’s perfect with all the different voices.

            Wait Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn: Okay, so I haven’t actually read this one aloud to my kids. The only reason being that they wouldn’t sleep for a month…or probably a year. But I still remember sitting on the carpet in fifth grade listening to Mrs. Baughman read this book and even today, I still can’t walk by an old pond and not imagine Helen emerging from the depths and waving (insert creepy chills). It’s so deliciously eerie…perfect for a girl or boy or adult who likes ghost stories.

So as July bounces along like a big multi-colored beach ball, grab a lemonade, cuddle up on the couch, clear that throat and enjoy some of your very own shared-summer-magic.

What are some of your favorites?




6 thoughts on “Summer Read . . . Alouds?

  1. What a good mom!! I read the first Harry Potter book to each of my boys when they got to about third grade. And then, by the time I was done with the first book, they were ready to take over the series themselves as I couldn’t read fast enough for them… we sure owe JK Rowling a debt for those books that made readers out of so many kids, don’t we?

    I also read The Giver aloud to one of my sons and I remember crying at the end. And as they got older, I read The Little Prince. So many good ones. Great post, Lindsay :-). – J

  2. Winnie the Pooh, and House at Pooh Corner. My mom read this aloud to my brother and me, often that now, in our 50s, we can still quote large passages. And when we discovered that my sister-in-law had never read them we decided, that she not only had to read them, she had to HEAR them. So when my brother and sister-in-law were ready for bed–they were living downstairs then–I’d lay down beside them and read a chapter. And we discovered that there’s a whole layer of adult humor under those simple children’s stories. I’d be reading along, and the matress would start to shake as my brother began to laugh. And his wife would say, “Are you sure this is a children’s book?” And a few lines later my voice would begin to quiver, because I’d be trying not to laugh, and the mattress is shaking harder, and she’s saying, “Are you SURE this is a CHILDREN’S book?” And it loses a lot of its magic if it’s not read aloud.

  3. Ahhh, I’m reading the Harry Potter books to my kids right now 🙂 We are almost finished with book 2. We read a chapter every night before bed 🙂 It’s always been our special time as well 🙂 My mom used to read the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books to us so we’ll probably do those next 😀

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