My son’s homework is to read books for 30 minutes a day.
While he enjoys reading books, 30 minutes is a long time for him, especially when he is tired after a long day at school. Luckily, my son’s teacher allows parents to read books aloud to their children as part of their homework. Even though my son is nearly ten years old and can read on his own, he still really enjoys when I read to him. My daughter usually listens as well. Reading aloud is a great family activity. Here are some of my favorite books to read aloud to my children.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I bought a boxed set of the entire Harry Potter series. For anyone who doesn’t already know, Harry Potter is a boy who attends Hogwarts, a wizardry boarding school. The series is action-packed as it follows Harry throughout his school career. Just be warned that these are very long books and they will take some time to read aloud. However, my son loves these books and it’s worth the time investment for me. As a motivation, my family watches each Harry Potter movie after we finish each book. Harry Potter is still very popular among kids these days. My son often has discussions about the books and movies with his classmates at school and there are often Harry Potter-themed events at local libraries and bookstores.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden was my favorite book as a child and I couldn’t wait to share it with my own children. The main character is a little girl named Mary. After her parents die, she goes to live with her reclusive uncle and invalid cousin in the English countryside. Mary and her cousin find hope and happiness after coaxing an old, abandoned garden back to life. This book is filled with beautiful imagery and there is also a movie version available. In fourth grade, I made a beautiful diorama of the secret garden for a school project. Keep this in mind the next time your child tells you about a project the night before it is due!
The City of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau
This is a four-book series about a post-apocalyptic civilization. The main characters are two children who are determined to save their city. My son read the first book in the series at school and asked me to read the rest of the series to him. I liked that these books are a nice introduction to the post-apocalyptic genre without too much explicit violence. There is a movie about the first book in the series, The City of Ember. The first book was definitely my favorite, but the rest of them were worth reading, too.
The Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy
This trilogy follows a little girl who discovers a secret world full of talking animals. This series is a good introduction to the fantasy genre and will be appreciated by fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. A fun fact is that the author of The Wildwood Chronicles is the lead singer of the Decemberists. Also, the books are filled with adorable illustrations by Carson Ellis. Pick up the first book, Wildwood, soon!
Matilda by Roald Dahl
This book is a classic. Everyone roots for Matilda to succeed. She must use her intelligence and patience to overcome the machinations of her diabolical principal, Miss Trunchbull. There is also a musical called Matilda, which would be fun to see either before or after reading the book. My other favorite Roald Dahl book to read aloud is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I loved the movie as a child and I would still love to visit a magical chocolate factory!
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Opal is a little girl who finds a dog at her local grocery store and names it Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie gives Opal the courage and strength to make new friends and ask the hard questions about her life. This book will appeal to any dog-lover. It’s also a fun book to read aloud to your dog! If your children like this book, look for other books by Kate DiCamillo. I love them all!