We’ve all heard the studies telling us how important it is to read aloud to young children. The benefits are numerous and span a lifetime. Not to mention, most preschoolers love to be read to. They might ask you to read them their favorite book over and over again and its hard to say no when you’ve already heard how it is helping their little brains grow.
But it seems that once these little readers learn to read we have a tendency to either have them read aloud to us or leave them to read on their own. And while both of these options are good ones there is some great literacy skills that come from reading aloud with older children. While a child may be reading at an appropriate age/grade level, their listening level may be different. For most children their reading level does not catch up with their listening level until close to 8th grade. That means that you can read appropriate 7th grade level books to your 4th or 5th grader and they should be able to follow along. This can help grow their vocabulary to levels it would not have gotten to on their own. It also is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with them. With this shared experience, you can look forward to the next chapter of the book together or talk about what just happened. Its a great way to some quality conversation that might not have happened otherwise.
Here are a few suggestions for books that would be good to read with older children:
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- The BFG by Roald Dahl
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
- Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
- Schooled by Gordon Korman
- Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
- A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
- Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
- The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
The Iowa Children’s Choice Awards List is a great place to start and can be found here.