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Terry

Reading Aloud: Sharing Books with Audiences of Mixed Ages

Posted by Terry on August 23, 2010 at 10:32 AM in Chapter BooksPicture Books
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family reading togetherWhen it comes to sharing a book with young kids, reading aloud seems the natural thing to do. They can't read the words on the page, so you do it for them. Once young readers become independent, though, we sometimes forget that they still enjoy - and can also benefit from - listening to you read.

That said, picking the right book can get tricky. The 9-year-old doesn't want to hear "baby" books, and the preschooler isn't ready for some of the subjects nor can they sit still that long! Finding books that interest your 4-year-old AND your preteen may be easier than it sounds.

bozeman public libraryDon't give up on picture books. As Pam points out in her post Reading Aloud: Picture Books Rule! (MotherReader, March 2009) sometimes those pre-teen protests are a surface reaction. After the requisite "that's for babies" teens will still sit and listen to a picture book. They may even surprise themselves with how much they enjoy their little brother's reactions. The secret bonus: you are modeling reading for them so they can read to their brother later!

Chapter books need pictures, too. Illustrated chapter books are helpful because young audiences often need the images which engage their interest while you read pages with a lot more text. In general, the chapters in these books are short, making it easy to read in small spurts and over consecutive nights.

Mix up the formats. Sometimes you have enough time - and the kids' temperaments are in sync - to read something that each child likes, and you can share a picture book and a chapter or two from a longer story. On those days when your energy is low, just pick one. That quiet time reading will probably help you feel better!

Regularly sharing a book as a family will not only let you reconnect and renew a love of stories and books. Who knows, as everyone becomes readers, maybe everyone will want a turn!

Next week: Genres that are good choices for family read-alouds.

Image credit
Toes and a book: Public photo on Flicker.com. Copyright All rights reserved by Tina Cockburn Photography, tcockburn2002.

Picture Books in the library: Bozeman Public Library by JSemenza on Flicker. Copyright All rights reserved.

Pam

Thursday THIRTY: Summer Books, Tot to Tween

Posted by Pam on July 22, 2010 at 3:39 PM in Chapter BooksRecommendations
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THIRTY?! Well, if you add the Thirteen Summer Picture Books and Thirteen Summer Chapter Books to today's Four Special Summer Books, you do indeed get thirty books about summer from tot to tween.

The four I am highlighting today have a little more weight to them than the chapter books I showcased last week. (Okay, with the exception of the deeper One Crazy Summer, but I couldn't resist that great title.) These certainly aren't the darker books of Young Adult, but each has it's own serious aspect. And they are also all spectacular books.

Seaglass Summer
by Anjali Banerjee

Seaglass SummerWhen eleven year old Poppy skips a trip with her parents to India, she makes the decision with a goal to be a vet like her Uncle Sanjay. What she finds is that it working with animals can be difficult, gross, and heart-breaking. Over the summer Poppy also adjusts to the slow-pace island lifestyle, makes new friends, and learns more about herself. She even comes to handle the animals in emergencies and in passing. This book is a lovely read, but the sections on animals suffering or dying are emotionally intense - especially if you've been through it personally. The author handles the topic with grace, but be fairly warned.

Free Baseball
by Sue Corbett

Free BaseballFelix knows baseball. As the son of a Cuban superstar, some might say that the eleven year old was born to it. Even if his mom won't talk about his father now. Mistaken for a batboy by a local Cuban team, Felix takes the opportunity to hang out with the ballplayers - and maybe find out something about his dad. Certainly a book that features the game well, but also the complexity of relationships and secrets.

The Liberation of Gabriel King
by K. L. Going

The Liberation of Gabriel KingGabriel King is afraid of everything - spiders, robbers, cows - but his biggest fear is moving up to the next grade, where he'll be in the same school as the bullies who pick on him. His best friend Frita decides to take the summer to liberate Gabriel from his fears one by one. She's rarely afraid, but one of her biggest fears is about to confront the pair head on. Set in the deep south in 1976, this book is a drama, comedy, and historical fiction. It tackles fear, hatred, racism, but ultimately is about courage. And friendship. Wonderful book.

Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer L. Holm

Turtle in ParadiseTurtle and her mom have always gotten through tough times together, but now that mom is employed as a live-in maid for a woman who doesn't like kids, Turtle is send to live with relatives in Key West. It's the middle of the depression, and many folks don't have much, but Turtle is still surprised by the poverty on this little stretch of land. Almost as surprised as she is by finding all of her long-lost relations. With the sea and the trees to provide, the families get by - even if shoes are a rarity - and there is even some fun to be had in seeking payment of sweets for babysitting. There are also literal treasures to be found, for those crazy, brave and bored enough to seek them. And along with her cousins, Turtle finds herself right in the middle of all of the adventures. Some frightening stuff in a hurricane, and Turtle's family situation give weight to the lighter side. Enjoyable read that exposes a lost place in time.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three Thirteen: Summer Chapter Books

Posted by Pam on July 15, 2010 at 2:01 PM in Chapter BooksRecommendations
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Last week I shared thirteen of my favorite Summer Picture Books. Now it's time to grow up a little with thirteen books for the elementary school crowd. This week I listed the books in roughly in order of the target age of the reader, starting with youngest to oldest. That said, many of the books would be great to read aloud to younger readers as I've made up this collection of mostly lighter summer books.

 Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown
by Jarrett Krosoczka
A new addition to younger graphic novels is this series featuring a Lunch Lady with astonishing abilities to fight crime and serve tater tots. With the Breakfast Bunch kids, she tackles a new enemy at summer camp. Silly fun!

Camp Babymouse
by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm
The fabulous Babymouse graphic novel series brings us a trip to summer camp that can't help but go wrong. Oh, Babymouse, I love you so. (Also look for Babymouse: Beach Babe).

The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis
by Barbara O'Connor
Feeling bored in his small Southern town, Popeye befriends a newcomer named Elvis who finds adventure in everything. A great book for seeing the wonders in the everyday world.

 Moxy Maxwell does not Love Stuart Little Moxy Maxwell does not Love Stuart Little
by Peggy Gifford
Someone has been putting off her summer reading - and continues to find ways to do so in amazingly elaborate ways. The photographs and the clever section titles add to this amusing book. (Also, one of my favorite covers of all time.)

Summer Reading is Killing Me
by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
Summer reading doesn't work out well for the Time Warp Trio either as the boys put their booklist in "The Book" and end up caught in a world of good and bad characters from children's literature. Mayhem ensues.

Lowji Disovers America
by Candice Fleming
When Lowji arrives from India, he comes with wishes for new friends and pets. But summer vacation makes it hard find kids in his neighborhood, and his landlady is not fond of animals. No matter, as Lowji's positive attitude and clever solutions get him results in amusing ways.

 Summer According to Humphrey Summer According to Humphrey
by Betty Birney
The little hamster with the big series of adventures gets to go to Camp Happy Hollow where he meets a wild mouse, visits the lake, and helps the kids adjust to the outdoor life and each other. There's always fun to be had with Humphrey.

Minn and Jake's Almost Terrible Summer
by Janet Wong, illustrated by Genevieve Cote
Jake returns to his home for a visit, but didn't expect his camp-free summer to be ruined by his Halmoni's plans and his little brother's annoyances. When his best friend Minn makes a visit, even that causes conflict. Can this summer be saved?

The Lemonade War
by Jacqueline Davis
When Evan finds out that his younger sister Jessie is going to skip a grade right into his class, he channels his anger into a challenge to who can make the most money with competing lemonade stands. An interesting and often amusing story of marketing strategies, sibling rivalry, and making lemonade.

 Any Which Wall Any Which Wall
by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
"Common magic" takes a four kids out of their boring summer doldrums when a magical wall transports them into different worlds of adventures, including a pirate ship and Camelot. Delightful story with a timeless tone.

Lawn Boy (and Lawn Boy Returns)
by Gary Paulsen
A lesson in business and the free-market economy is contained in this story of a boy who starts with a old riding law mower and ends up as a young tycoon. Funny and yet highly educational.

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

by Jeanne Birdsall
After their father rents a guest house for a few weeks in the summer, four sisters explore the large estate grounds making friends and having adventures along the way. An old-fashioned story with a contemporary feel makes this a perfect summer story.

One  Crazy Summer
One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia
Three sisters from Brooklyn spend a month with their mother in California. Sent out to stay out of mom's way, the girls spent this summer in 1968 among the Black Panthers learning about revolution, identity, and personal responsibility. A deeper book, for certain, but with its own lightness and humor.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Terry

Summer Reading Ideas: Double Your Fun with a Reading Partner

Posted by Terry on July 12, 2010 at 10:30 AM in Chapter BooksEasy ReadersLibrariescreative literacy
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reading in the hammockMea culpa! The heat swallowed this one last week. It "published" but no one could see it, so it's a double bonus this week ...

Picking up on Pam's themes of enjoying the summer by trying new things, I thought I would share some of those magical, unplanned moments we've had this year.

Like many of you, we get our book fix at the library, and LOVE the summer reading program. This has always been "our" time, but this year, we've been taking my daughter's BFF with us. Her friend (a rising second grader) is an avid reader, but had not visited our local library. [She has 5 older siblings ... need I say more?]

The two girls have had a wonderful time, and all three of us really look forward to our weekly "date." During our three visits to date, the girls have (without fail)

    ... picked up picture books left lying around and read them aloud to each other.
    ... recommended books to each other;
    ... searched the online catalog for books with their names; and
    ... looked for books with two copies so they can read it at the same time.
.

gardenvale.JPGIt is the last point I find most fascinating. Like many short chapter books for the early elementary audience, the stories rely heavily on dialogue. The girls are instantly drawn to these books and use them as scripts. They decide who is going to be which character, and then read their "parts" aloud.

This isn't a new idea, but it may be a new way to keep the kids connected with books this summer. Partner reading - with you, a friend, or siblings - is a great way to keep them engaged with books. The key is to keep the reading fun, so don't fret about the "right" reading levels or vocabulary. Keep them excited about reading and the rest of it will fall into place naturally.

Sharing our library time beyond "just us," has has added some wonderful magic to our summer. My daughter and her BFF are exploring everything the library has to offer and stretching each other's interests. They will have great memories of things they did together, and so will I. Summer can't get much more magical than that!

Image Credits
Clara reading in the hammock again by NMACAVOY on Picasa.com
Gardenvale Two Girls Reading (Close Up) by Jen on Picasa.com

Pam

Thursday Three: From the Top 100 Children's Novels

Posted by Pam on March 4, 2010 at 10:42 AM in Chapter BooksMiddle Grade BooksRecommendations
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The countdown of the Top 100 Children's Novels is on hold as the amazing author of the list, Betsy Bird, gets Internet access at her new apartment, and I am on pins and needles waiting! I don't blame her as she's a nice person, good friend, and deserves some time off to move her earthly belongings from one place in New York City to another, but it's so hard to wait when the results have been so interesting. Sure, a few of my choices have made it on and I expect a few more will before this show is over, but the real fun is seeing what other people thought of as their favorite books. Fascinating.

As I've gone through the countdown, I've seen many other titles that I could have chosen, but here are three books that I listed that have made it so far. What do you think?

All-of-a-Kind-Family
by Sydney Taylor
All of a Kind FamilyAt #79 we find this classic about a poor, immigrant, Jewish family living in New York City in the early 1900's. The book is about the everyday - chores, market trips, make-believe games - mixed with a helpful and healthy dose of Jewish traditions. It's historical fiction at its finest, putting the reader in the world while celebrating the time period. As for why love this book, I must quote myself for what I wrote for the countdown: Because the joy that the girls had in choosing what to spend a nickel on outweighs most of the excitement I could imagine then or now. It made me crave a dill pickle from the barrel, for goodness sakes.

The Bad Beginning
by Lemony Snicket
The Bad BeginningComing in at #71 is the first book in this Series of Unfortunate Events. Here the Baudelaire children first become orphans and are placed with Count Olaf, who will soon become the villain in their long tale of woe. The wit and wordplay in the books bring in the fans, along with the ever-more-complicated mysteries that grow deeper with each title. What I still find interesting about this book over ten years, is that it tends to get a love it or hate it reaction. While the Amazon ratings for The All-of-a-Kind Family were overwhelmingly five stars with a handful of low ratings, the ones for The Bad Beginning come in at about a 6:1 ratio for the book. Unusual for a book of this caliber.

Little House on the Prairie
by Laura Ingalls Wilders
Little House on the PrairieI'm actually surprised that this book is already making its appearance at #42, making me wonder if any other books in the series will show up later. While this title is not actually the first book in the series - that would be Little House in the Big Woods - this is the one that really kicks it off, letting the reader get to know Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa as they travel and set up a homestead on the prairie through difficult times. When I was a kid I loved the first books in the series, finding the other ones boring, but as an adult, I think that the later books are better written, with stronger characterization and plotting. I used The Long Winter in my mother/daughter bookclub and the girls there all thought the book was too slow, and most of them had given up on the series earlier because they were bored by the books with their extensive descriptions of scenery, food, and house-building. In fact, while my generation loved these books, personally I've yet to find a kid who also adores them - which may explain the lackluster place on the countdown.


If you click on the links in the reviews, you can read the extensive write-up done at Fuse#8 at School Library Journal. To be totally upfront, I also selected Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin which made the list at #81, but if I extol the virtues of that book one more time I going to be suspected of getting some kickbacks. Also, you might wonder where Harry Potter is, to which I guess Top Ten. Right?

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Susan

A Tangled Web

Posted by Susan on February 10, 2010 at 12:00 AM in Chapter BooksClassics
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When should you read Charlotte's Web to your children?

It's a beautifully crafted book. The characters are vivid and easy for children to connect to. It's a wonderful combination of reality and fantasy. It does a "terrific" job of explaining friendship. Charlotte's Web.jpgIt's a perfect chapter-a-night book, the chapters aren't too long and there are enough pictures to keep a child's interest. Also, a surprising number of the chapters end with a description of someone going to sleep, which makes it a great book to read at bedtime.

But, but but... Charlotte dies at the end. There's no way to get around that fact or sugarcoat it. You can explain to your children that death is part of the natural cycle of things and that Charlotte's children live on. No matter what you say, though, I guarantee your kids will be sad at the end of the book. I know I am every time I read it.

Many people read Charlotte's Web as a first read aloud. As a librarian, I frequently get asked what age the book is appropriate for. My answer is always that it depends on your child. Will they be able to handle it?

I recently asked myself this same question when I was deciding whether I should read it to my son. Stuart Little and My Father's Dragon had both been big hits for him. Was he ready for Charlotte's Web?

We talked about it for a while. He loved the cover and wanted to see more. I let him look through the book, taking in the pictures. I asked if he wanted to read the book, even if something very, very sad happens in it. He said yes... and we plunged ahead.

Reading Charlotte's WebIt was a wonderful experience. He savored each chapter and always begged for another one when we were done reading. He adored the goose, goose, goose and the gander, gander, gander. He fell wholeheartedly in love with Wilbur. He was studying spiders in his science class and he soaked in all the facts about spiders presented in the book. Since he was on the cusp of learning to read, he was delighted to learn how to spell "pig" and "Charlotte" and then find those words throughout the book.

Then came Chapter 21: The Last Day. You know the one. It ends like this:

"Next day, as the Ferris wheel was being taken apart and the race horses were being loaded into vans and the entertainers were packing up their belongings and driving away in their trailers, Charlotte died. The Fair Grounds were soon deserted. The sheds and buildings were empty and forlorn. The infield was littered with bottles and trash. Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died." (Excerpt from Charlotte's Web by E.B. White)

Before we read the chapter, we talked about the fact that there was something really sad about Charlotte was coming up. I told him that she was going to die and asked him if he still wanted me to read it. He said yes, and he snuggled into my lap and I held him very tight while we read the paragraph above. And then we both cried and talked about it. But then we moved onto Chapter 22 where we met Charlotte's children... and there was hope in the story again. And we were both okay again.

I asked him recently about the book (we read it a few months ago). He said it was one of his favorite books and he loved it. I'm planning to read it together again in a year or two.

eb-white-award-final-emboss.gifJen mentioned that there is now an award in honor of E.B. White. Did you know that the Association of Booksellers for Children sponsors the E.B. White Read Aloud Awards each year?

When did you read Charlotte's Web to your children? Would you do it again at that age level? Did you decide not to read the book to their kids? When did they read it to themselves? When did you read it to yourself? What was their reaction? What was yours?

I'd love to hear about your experiences with this timeless classic.

Ann

As the Frost Starts Showing Up on Pumpkins!

Posted by Ann on November 1, 2009 at 1:15 PM in Chapter BooksEasy ReadersNonfiction BooksPicture BooksRecommendations
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October was certainly an action-packed month for those at Booklights! In addition to Pam making great suggestions of Halloween books, she organized and led an excellent meeting of children's book bloggers gathering in Washington, D.C. It was a pleasure to get to meet colleagues who constantly read and think about how important quality literature is for children and their families.

Susan T. recommended good books for children who have developed a passion for volcanoes. One suggestion was Magic Tree House #13: Vacation Under the Volcano, by Mary Pope Osborne. Parents should also know about Ancient Rome and Pompeii, the non-fiction companion Magic Treehouse Research Guide #14. 51AM8JX16JL._SL500_AA240_.jpg5130GADDHHL-1.jpgSteven Bush may also want to be sure to share this before heading out with his son in February to see a real volcano!

The non-fiction companions provide fascinating information that supports the travels of Jack and Annie in the Magic Treehouse fantasies. Boys, in particular, love knowing the real facts and I have never failed to learn new, accurate, scientific information when reviewing these guides as well.

Terry's posting Reading from Afar brought back so many fun memories. When my own niece was about three-years-old, she overheard her dad say he needed to be sure to pack a book for a very long international flight. When he went back to finish packing his suitcase, he found that Sarah had placed in his bag her favorite picture book! While Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse was surely not the novel he anticipated reading on the flight, it provided a wonderful thing for him to read to her when he called to check in back home.

It also reminded me of a community service project that one of my college students implemented. While volunteering in a Nashville women's prison, she noticed that incarcerated mothers had very little to talk about with their children after the first few minutes of a visit. She was able to take children's picture books to the prison for the mothers to read and record. Mothers then had a set of books and tapes to give their children during visits, and wonderful topics of conversation for subsequent visits.

Jen ended last week's posting talking about the importance of knowing your child's independent reading level. In addition to being sure your child is able to read the text with around 95% accuracy, also check out comprehension every now and then. And having lots of picture books around helps, as illustration often aids in comprehension.

Finally, Gina asked what readers' opinions have been about the movie Where the Wild Things Are.Where the Wild Things Are.jpg She asked if true fans should avoid it or give it a try. I can only report the words of a 10-year-old friend as he left the movie, "Max has anger issues!" Not a movie for young viewers, for sure! But we can all continue to love the book.

Happy Reading.....Ann

Ann

International literature for children

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As I mentioned at the end of last month's posting, I traveled to Glasgow, Scotland in September to attend an international symposium on picturebook research. What a thought-provoking meeting it was! I want to share some of what I learned as it relates to the September postings on Booklights.

One very interesting presentation dealt with the end papers of picture books. As you are reading to your children, be sure to talk about the entire book....the cover, the title page, but also notice the end papers. More and more frequently, illustrators are using the inside of the front/back covers to tell part of the story.

cover missing sheep.jpghands end page.jpgFor example, in Mircea Catusanu's new picture book The Strange Case of the Missing Sheep, Catusanu includes hands for counting sheep.This serves as a preface to the actual story. A book created for children ages three and up, the humorous text and illustrations will also keep the adult reader entertained

chicken .jpgchicken papers.jpegYou may remember that Susan T. included in her introduction her latest favorite book, The Chicken - Chasing Queen of Lamar County, by Janice N. Harrington, pictures by Shelley Jackson.The end pages of this book cleverly lead the reader to know that feathers will fly as the chickens are being chased.

Another picture book with fabulous end papers is Peter Sis' Madlenka's Dog. Madlenka's neighborhood is "in the universe, on a planet, on a continent, in a country, in a city, in a house on a block where everyone is walking a dog." The end papers start narrowing the story in by showing the view of the universe, with the planet. Sis then zooms in closer on the page opposite the book's title page. So the end papers actually start to establish the book's setting.madlenka end page.jpeg

When reading this book with your child, also be sure to remove the cover and look at the front and back illustrations. Sis has even used the covers to help describe the setting for Madlenka's search for a dog.madlenka cover01.jpg

another world.jpgThis month's postings have provided many great suggestions for books to read aloud to older children. A book by Brazilian author Ana Maria Machado that would be an ideal read aloud for sixth/seventh graders is From Another World. The book won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2000. It reminds us all that the horrors of slavery were not limited to the United States. Brazil shared many of the same brutalities toward African slaves that our own history includes.

big spill.jpgFinally, I can't help but add a penguin book from South Africa to Pam's September 3rd Thursday Three. Peter, Pamela and Percy in the Big Spill relates the oil slick off of Cape Town that harmed many sea birds in 2000. I think that reader Terry who posted a comment and must enjoy nonfiction will also like this link that supports the story told in picture book format.

Happy Reading, Ann

P.S. It is not only our nation's capitol with a fabulous fall book festival; Nashville has many of the same authors visiting us the weekend of October 9-11. I hope that all of you in the area will come visit us for the Southern Festival of Books! And like Pam, I'd love to host you.

Susan T.

Miss Annie Sez

Posted by Susan T. on September 22, 2009 at 12:27 PM in Chapter BooksLibrariesPicture Books
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In my town, Miss Annie has a following. A big following--of babies, chess players, chapter-book readers, and parents who can chant "Alligator Pie" along with her.

Miss Annie (her real name is Annie Reuter) works in the children's department at the Westport (CT) Library. Some years back, my son and I took part in many of her toddler story times. A fifth grader now, he stops by to chat with her. So do I.

Recently, after she finished up supervising the Wednesday junior chess club, I asked Miss Annie for her latest read-aloud recommendations. Here's her list. Each book works for a group or one-on-one.

For first and second graders: Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers 

For kindergartners: The Moonglow Roll-O-Rama, by Dav Pilkey 

For three and four year olds: Preschool to the Rescue, written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand 

Miss Annie is one of a fabulous staff of book lovers in the children's section of our library. They all know information like this!

What are your local librarians recommending these days? Stop by and ask. You'll get lots of good ideas.

P.S. The full text of Dennis Lee's poem "Alligator Pie" is online at the University of Toronto Library. Click here to read it.

Pam

Thursday Three: Classic Chapters

Posted by Pam on September 17, 2009 at 10:03 AM in Chapter BooksClassics
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Thinking about Susan's post on reading to a wiggly preschooler, reminded me that there's an easier time ahead in reading to a snuggly elementary schooler. After a long day at school being a big kid, there's nothing better that getting book time with mom or dad. Picture books remain wonderful choices, but now chapter books become a healthy part of the reading menu. Certainly any book is fine. But there are some that practically beg to be read aloud, especially those where the reading level is a bit high for the intended audience. Here are a few of those classics:

Winnie-the-Pooh
by A. A. Milne
Winnie-the-PoohI still hold onto a memory from fifth grade where a teacher saw me reading House at Pooh Corner and complimented me on choosing such a challenging book. These days we think of Winnie-the-Pooh as a preschooler thing, an idea pushed forward by the whole Disneyfication of the characters. It's a crying shame. The watered-down versions of the classic books ruin our appetites for the real thing. Fight back by reading aloud the true version with it's melodious language, gentle illustrations, and sophisticated story-telling.

Jenny and the Cat Club
by Ester Averill
Jenny and the Cat ClubWhen New York Review Children's Collection republished this book among other classics, I felt like I had found an old friend. I can't say that I had been searching dusty old bookshops for a copy. To be honest, I had forgotten all about this book until I saw the cover. And there was Jenny, the shy black cat with the red scarf. Oh, how I had missed her! The story follows a shy, little cat who wants to be part of the Cat Club and finds friends, adventure, and courage in their world. This book and the other Jenny books are perfect read-alouds for the younger set because the language and plot are simply - yet wonderfully - done.

Paddington Treasury
by Michael Bond
Paddington TreasuryPaddington Bear has also received the Winnie-the-Pooh treatment in recent years (what is it about bears?) with a ton of simplified boardbooks and adaptations. Again, you need to go back to the original to capture the heart of these stories of a bear found at a train station who goes on to make every day into exciting adventures as he bumbles along. The tales are wonderful for elementary school children, but the old-fashioned language and references can make reading the books a struggle. As a read-aloud, however, it's magical.

What are your favorite read-aloud books?

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