Read alouds are my absolute favorite. Ask any of my kids what they love to do most in the media center and I guarantee you they’ll say it is listening to me read aloud. I promise I’m not tooting my own horn. All of us have strengths we bring to the table no matter our chosen field. One of my best strengths is reading aloud with expression. In that moment, when I hold the book in my hand before twenty-four or so little faces I am no longer an introvert. I create unique voices for each character and I BECOME the story. The characters breathe to life right before the eyes and ears of my kiddos.
In an earlier post I talked about the advantages of reading aloud to your children. I can not emphasize this enough. Not only will your kids get the chance to hear a master reader present a story to them, they will also love the bonding time of sharing an intimate moment with you. No matter if you are a teacher or a parent, sharing a story is one of the best ways to share a small part of the human experience with your child. It’s not about the words; it’s about the moment!
World Read Aloud day is February 16, 2017. What a great time to share a book with a child! In preparation for that day, I would like to share seven of my current favorite read alouds:
A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems
You can never go wrong with Elephant and Piggie. Gerald (Elephant) and Piggie are best friends. Their stories are simple and fast paced with lots of over-the-top emotional outbursts that make read alouds so much fun! In A Big Guy Took My Ball, Piggie is distressed that a big guy took the ball she found. She goes to her best friend Gerald to seek his help in getting the ball back. Little does Gerald know that getting the ball back will be a MUCH LARGER task than he realizes. The book is hilarious and a great way to teach kids the importance of not jumping to conclusions.Whether you pick this title in the series or one of the many others, you can’t have made a better choice for a read aloud.
Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems
Can you tell how much I love Mo Willems? Nanette’s Baguette is a feast for the ears. A frog name Nanette must go to bakery to purchase a baguette for her mother. Will Nanette get the baguette? YOU BET! But not without some hiccups along the way. The story has a definitively French feel to it, so I like to read it with my overly exaggerated French accent. The kids love it!
The Adventures of Beekle The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
For many children having an imaginary best friend can be a godsend. But where are these imaginary friends born? How do they find their human companions? Beekle wants to find his friend, but no one has imagined him yet. So he goes on an adventure to find the one child who desperately needs him. This story will touch your heart and make you remember the joys of having a child-like imagination.
Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border
Peanut Butter wants to play with a friend, but since he’s new in town he doesn’t know anybody. His mother suggests that he venture out into the neighborhood to meet new people At each stop he repeats the same poetic phrase that ends with “I’ll make you chuckle deep down in your belly; And we’ll go together like peanut butter and ……….” French Fry? Hamburger? Egg? Will peanut butter ever find his best friend? Your kids will laugh each time peanut butter asks to play with one of the other foods. Of course, they can probably guess who his best friend will turn out to be!
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Sam and Dave are bored. Sam and Dave need adventure, to find something SPECTACULAR!. So Sam and Dave dig a hole. That’s the story. The weird part is that while they dig they never find anything spectacular. The readers, however, will find LOTS of SPECTACULAR things in this story and will probably yell at Sam and Dave to open their eyes a bit more. This story catches kids’ attention like no other. Fans of the Twilight Zone will enjoy the trippy ending.
Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery by David Gordon
This is a book with a long title that makes you laugh before you even open a page! The cute little animals want to play in peace and quiet, but a group of bullies have other plans. When all else fails, the cute animals put on their construction hats to make a fun an exciting place that is bully-free. Can the animals learn to get along? This book has a wonderful message about the importance of perseverance and the power of forgiveness.
A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Pictures by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson
Snowy Day is a classic of children’s literature. The book stands as a paragon of diversity from a time when diversity wasn’t a priority. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s words flow like melodies from the pages, bringing Peter and his creator, Ezra Jack Keats, to life for a new generation of readers. We learn Ezra’s story and the reason why he created Peter. Written by one of America’s most prominent and celebrated poets of the modern era, Pinkney’s poetry celebrates the wonders of a powerful book that changed the face of children’s literature for better. I recommend this book as a read aloud for slightly older readers because the text is more complex and longer than the other suggestions I made here.
Fewer things in life give me greater pleasure than reading a good book. My children and I cherish the times we can sit together and share a story. My kiddos at school come to the reading carpet calling out the titles they want to hear that day. I know I am making a difference in their lives by sharing with them these power stories. World Read Aloud Day is just a few days away. Take a few moments from your day and share a story with someone you love. You won’t regret it!