Top Ten Read-Aloud Books for Families


These books are the ones that stand the test of time, of age, of interest. They are the true classics of children’s literature that have shaped my own childhood, and have become as dear as friends to my children.

Any of these books would be the perfect place to start with reading aloud to your children. It doesn’t have to be a long reading session. Just a few pages, or a chapter, every single day. I guarantee as you build the habit with your children, and establish the tradition, they will begin to BEG for “just one more page” and “just one more chapter.”

1. The Winnie the Pooh Collection, by A.A. Milne 

2. The Real Mother Goose 

3. The Complete Peter Rabbit Collection, by Beatrix Potter

4. Make Way for McCloskey: A Complete Treasury, by Robert McCloskey

5. Thornton Burgess Books (All of them are fantastic!)

6. A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Lewis Stevenson

7. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

8.Little House on the Prairie Series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

9. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Graham

10. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis

I have two ways I fit in read-aloud time with my children. The first is to read aloud at the table while they are eating breakfast and/or lunch. It keeps everyone quiet, focused and well-behaved at the table, and it’s actually prime listening time for them – I find their comprehension and memory of what we read at the table is often the best! Just a chapter, a poem, a short story. Not a long reading by any means, just a little bit.

The other tradition we have kept through the years, even as my children get older, is what we call “Apple Story Time.” I think a lot of homeschool families call this “afternoon tea and poetry” or something similar, but for us, it’s apples and stories.

I slice a mountain of apples on a plate and either put it on the coffee table in the family room, or spread a blanket and put it in the middle of the blanket. Everyone comes running and sits right down, and I read a chapter of a story book or a chapter from a longer book. I try to do this around 10:30 in the morning, half way between breakfast and lunchtime.

Do you have a read-aloud tradition with your children? Or a favorite read-aloud story? Please share below I’d love to hear!

Love, Steph

5 thoughts on “Top Ten Read-Aloud Books for Families

  1. We always read a chapter book at lunch, sometimes picked by the kids, sometimes by me. Our library started a family book club, so we have started reading that one in the evenings so dad can participate. We do school-related read alouds at morning time. Reading aloud is one of the only ways I feel like I’m really nailing parenting!


  2. My parents weren’t into reading aloud very much, so the first chapter book I remember having read aloud to me was “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” when I was in fourth grade. It became such a favorite that I’ll still pick it up and re-read it every few years. Other favorites:

    —E.B. White’s children’s novels, especially “Charlotte’s Web”
    —Beverly Cleary’s books (especially “Socks” and the Ramona Quimby series—boys would enjoy the Henry Huggins series)
    —I loved Judy Blume’s Fudge series, but that one probably requires parental discretion
    —Nancy Drew series and the Hardy Boys series (the originals are classics for a reason)
    —”From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E. L. Konigsburg (you may have to spell out the conclusion to young children, explaining to them that Mrs. Frankweiler has been writing to Claudia and Jamie’s grandfather, who also happened to be her lawyer—I didn’t “get” this until I was an adult)


  3. Oh, and a couple of additional suggestions: I loved reading Aesop’s fables and the Greek and Roman myths, even as a very young child. You may have to be a bit careful with the myths but the fables should be child friendly.


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