I grew up with a mom who read to us every day. Some of my favorite memories are from those nights when my sisters and I would all pile into my parents room and paint our nails while she read Harry Potter to us, or laying on the couch with just my mom and me reading The Picture of Dorian Gray or Tarzan.
It’s one of the things I most looked forward to when I became a parent, and it’s been every bit as magical as I hoped.
I wanted to share our favorite books, and a few tips for reading aloud to your kids.
Our Favorite Read Aloud Books for Boys
My mom read this to us when we were little, but I couldn’t remember the premise at all, so I was in for a fun surprise when I re-read it to my kids. Mrs. Frisby is a little mouse with a few small mice children and she needs to relocate her home in the farmer’s field before the plowing season begins. She enlists the help of the Rats of Nihm, who are a strangely highly intelligent and secretive group. My boys loved this story, and to be honest I loved it probably more than they did.
You’re probably familiar with this story because it just came out as a movie a few months ago. It’s about a little boy who was born with facial deformities, and his journey as he attends public school for the first time in his life and finds friends, enemies, and strength he didn’t know he had. I think every child who goes to school needs to hear this story and be reminded to be kind to everyone, even those who look different.
This is a fun story about four children who find a magic coin, but discover that it only grants half of their wish. They have to learn how to use it, and of course they’re always getting themselves into a tangle mess. I love reading stories to my boys about children who have good manners, are kind and thoughtful, and are just good kids. This is definitely one of those books. We’re currently reading Magic By The Lake by the same author and we’re loving it too!
This is one of my dad’s very favorite books, and although he read it to me when I was little, I couldn’t remember really any of the story. It’s a very clever book, and my older son who’s seven understood much more of the puns and play on words than my five-year-old. But my 5-year-old still loved listening to the story!
I love Roald Dahl, but I don’t love all of his books and stories. Here are a few that we’ve read and loved.
- James and the Giant Peach
- George’s Marvelous Medicine
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- The BFG
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
This is a really sweet series about a boy and his adventures with the stray dog he finds and takes in and their adventures in their little town. He has a paper route, enters his dog in the town dog show, buys a pair of guppies that lay eggs and suddenly he has thousands of guppies, collects worms to earn money, and other simple and lighthearted stories that my boys love.
A magic cupboard that turns anything plastic into real life? My boys were instantly hooked. This is such a fun story!
This story feels similar to Henry Huggins — just a regular little boy, doing regular things, and it makes for a really sweet story. It took us a few pages to get into it, but it ended up being so funny as the little boy fills his house with pets he’s found, including two large owls, Wol and Weeps.
This was the first series I read aloud to B when he was four or five years old. The first 19 books in the series are written by the original author and are chronological, and then after she died they went on to write many more.
It’s about four children who lose both of their parents and then run away because they’re afraid their mean grandfather will find them and take them away. They find an old boxcar train in the woods and make it their home until their Grandfather (who turns out to be extremely kind) locates them and invites them to live with him. They solve exciting mysteries, and I love that the children are so kind and obedient and respectful, not to mention hard working, innovative, and smart! All things I want to instill in my children.
This is about a mouse who lives in the walls of an old hotel, and when a little boy checks into the hotel with his parents and has a little toy motorcycle, Ralph the mouse ventures out into the hotel room to go for a joy ride.
Written by the same author as Pippi Longstocking (which I haven’t read for years, but remember loving), this book is about six children who live in group of farmhouses in the countryside. It’s another book just about their everyday lives, going to school, losing their baby teeth, getting new siblings, and visiting grandfather to hear his wonderful stories. Some of the stories are absolutely hilarious and we were all rolling!
Another amazing book about a good, hard working boy. This is the very first book I read aloud to B, when he was only three years old! It’s part of the Little House on the Prairie series, but instead of being about Laura Ingalls Wilder, it’s about her husband, Almanzo. It’s his story of growing up on a farm and deciding what he wants to be when he grows up. You learn about his relationship with his father, how hard Almanzo had to work on the farm, the lessons he learned, and his decision to move to the city or take over the farm for his father.
Tips for Reading Aloud to Your Kids
- Choose a book that YOU will love too. I refuse to read aloud a book that I don’t like — like anything LEGO Ninjago. It’s torture for me. I want to love this time with my kids, so I find books I know will interest me.
- It’s ok to quit a book. We’ve started plenty of books that we could not get into, and I could tell my kids were totally uninterested. You want them to love reading, so skip it and move to a better book that will keep everyone interested.
- Be an interesting reader. Both my parents are really good at this, using voice inflections, different pitches for different characters, and emphasizing where things should be emphasized. It’s more fun to read that way, and way more fun to listen. It’s the reason we laugh our way through books, or cry when parts are sad, because we really feel the story.
- Read at night before bed. This works the best for us because everyone is ready for bed, and the house is quiet and we’re ready to wind down. Philip puts the baby to sleep and I read a chapter to the boys. If you try during the afternoon or the morning, friends will come over, your phone will ring, or your kids will want to do other things.
If you have favorite books you can recommend, leave a comment below!
I also shared our favorite audiobooks in this post!