Top Ten Read-Aloud Books for Kids

The best read aloud books for children

By the time your child is around four, he is ready for longer stories than picture books can offer. This is a great time to start offering your child read-aloud books. Reading these longer books to your child, a little every day, does two very important things. First of all, it encourages your child to carry a story idea from one day to a next. This is a very important skill that will serve your child well in school, where he will be required to build one concept on another. Secondly, reading aloud requires your child to imagine what the author describes in a book. This is something that many children miss today. Let’s face it, most of children’s entertainment is visual. They don’t just see their favorite characters on TV, but they see them in books, on pajamas, on posters and even dancing on ice. Teaching your child to visualize helps them develop critical logic and problem-solving skills. So, set aside fifteen minutes to read aloud to your child every day.

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

This is a wonderful book to begin reading aloud to your child. The chapters are very short and each one is a complete short story. But they all work together to create a complete and satisfying ending. The entire book is about Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, a beloved character in a small town. Even though she has no children of her own, she knows how to cure every type of bad behavior that parents deal with. Additionally, if your child enjoys the book, there are four more books in the series.

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The 13 Story Treehouse

This book, which won the Australian Book Award, follows the semi-autobiographical adventures of the author and illustrator Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. Andy and Terry are just a couple of normal, average guys who are writing a book and happen to live in a 13-story treehouse complete with a see-through swimming pool and an automatic marshmallow machine that shoots them candy whenever they need it. A variety of distractions, including mermaids, and giant bubbles all conspire to make the pair miss their deadline.

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Appleblossom the Possum

Little Appleblossom is a young possum trained in her acting skills. When she falls down the chimney of a house, she is amazed to find that these giant people aren’t as scary as they looked from the yard. Her brothers launch a daring rescue mission to save their sister. This book looks at family and loyalty with a truly dramatic flair.

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The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

This is one book that has stood the test of time. It follows the adventures of four children, two sisters and two brothers who find their way into a magical land through an old wardrobe. There, they discover that they might be the children destined to undo a great evil and save the land. Along the way, the children learn to deal with temptation, fear and uncertainty. They even learn the value of sacrifice and forgiveness. If you and your child enjoy this book, there are six more books in the series, so you can visit Narnia again and again.

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

While there have been several film versions of this book, none fully do it justice. The chapters are short and jam-packed with beautiful descriptions of fantastic inventions and some incredibly bratty children.

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Wonder

In this beautiful book by R. J. Palacio, Auggie Pullman must confront the world. Born with a congenital defect that has cause serious face deformities. For most of his life, Auggie has been homeschooled, but, he feels ready to try a “real” school with other children. Some of the kids accept him, while others are frightened. Auggie has to face fear, anger and ignorance as he learns to navigate the perils of school.

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Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

This blockbuster is surprising easy for young children to follow and enjoy. While there are moments of danger, they are far enough from your child’s sphere of experience that she can feel safe. (After all, when was the last time you asked your child to tramp through the forbidden forest in search of an injured unicorn?) However, the story gives your child great scope for imagination and can be the beginning of a wonderful literary relationship.

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Anne of Green Gables

When Mathew Cuthbert arrived at the train station and found an orphan girl instead of the boy he had requested to help around the farm, he had a decision to make. When he took young Anne home, he set into motion a series of adventures that children love to this day. Anne, a poor, neglected child, thrives and adds a healthy measure of hilarity to the otherwise stuffy town of Avonlea. Like several other books in this list, you don’t have to leave this character at the end of the book. There are several other books in the series that follow Anne into adulthood and even follow her children.

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The Hobbit

While many people see this book as written for adults, the original story was actually developed by Tolkien as bedtime story for his young boys. Like Harry Potter the book does have moments of danger and fear, but are presented in such an unrealistic way, that even young children feel safe. The themes of going on a trip with friends and becoming more than you were are ideas that children deal with every day.

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The Purloining Prince of Oleomargarine

This book is a unique blend of old and new. In 1879, a harried author tried to soothe his daughters with a humorous story about a young boy with magical seeds. He jotted down a couple of notes, but set them aside. This author went on to write Huck Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. More than a hundred years later, Philip and Erin Stead, the author and illustrator of A Sick Day for Amos McGee found the notes and finished the book in Twain’s absence. The result is a fairytale with a classic feel and modern tone.

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