For a brief semester or two in college, I thought I wanted to be a public school teacher and took a class on how to read books to children. Oh, it was embarrassing! But, it was also very fun. I learned techniques for bringing books alive and found that my favorite books to read aloud were the ones that needed silly voices.
Now that I have children, they love when we sit together and read. Voices are always required, but I really don’t mind. It makes the books fun for me too.
Which books are the favorites for my young readers (listeners)?
1. Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Kevin Lewis has been a favorite for all of our children. The book has been taped together many times. I love that I can us a variety of volumes and emphases as I tell the story, but wind it down at the end to prepare the children for bedtime.
2. Duck on a Bike by David Shannon is probably my personal favorite to read out loud. I love making the animal voices and involving the children by asking what noises the animals make. I also love that the book has a pause where the children have to think about what is happening… or rather what is about to happen.
3. Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer was just a natural selection for our family since my husband in a band director. The book is filled with opportunities to insert sounds and music. I love the voice I created for Olivia too. She is a little nasal-sounding but I think it is because she is a pig.
4. Counting Kisses by Karen Katz was Lira’s favorite bedtime book when she was a toddler. We had to read it every night. While there is nothing special about how we read the book, the soft, loving voice I use lulls the children to rest. We, of course, enjoy acting out the book and counting along too.
5. God Made You Special! by Eric Metaxas is probably the most challenging book I read out loud to the children. Since the characters already have voices, I have to mimic the existing tones. But… I have to admit that it is a ton of fun! The children must think I do a pretty decent job because it has been loved beyond repair and I need to get it for our Kindle.
6. Good Night, Sweet Butterflies: A Color Dreamland by Dawn Bentley is another bedtime favorite. The lovely phrasing is soft and gentle. The children enjoy saying goodnight to each butterfly before we turn the page.
7. Why Can’t I Fly? by Ken Brown has been in my personal library since that class I took in college. The story of friendship and determination just touches my heart and I love giving the ostrich a whiny, nasal voice. If you find it in a thrift store or yard sale, do not pass it by!
8. On Top Of Spaghetti by Paul Brett Johnson puts me in touch with my country-side. Yodeler has a great Southern twange… more than my normal Southern lilt… and loves to sing. The children enjoy singing along as we chase Yodeler’s meatball through town.
9. When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Briach is a fun, imaginative tale of a day when dinosaurs were a complimentary gift with every purchase. My favorite character in the book is the mother… because I can just imagine what is going through her head and she is my hero for creating a solution for a difficult situation.
10. Too Many Toys by David Shannon could be the story of my life. No kidding. Spencer’s toys are driving his mother over the edge and I can empathize with her so well. When her frustration boils over, I allow myself to feel her pain.
What are some of your favorite books to read aloud?
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