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I’ve always been a mom that reads aloud to my children. From the moment my child could sit up, my home library grew and grew. I never tired of reading Moo Baa La La La and always found a calm in the quiet of the night reading Goodnight Moon. My well loved copy of Goodnight Moon is a testament to the joyous moments spent bonding with my children through reading. The jagged edge of its cover, the looseness of its spine, all hold a memory, a feeling, a moment. That last page of Goodnight Moon is so soothing to me. The beautiful stars, the calm of the night, sleeping child, oh the comfort of those memories always bring a softness and a soothing feeling to my heart.
Did you know that if you read to your child for 10 minutes a day, in a year you would have spent over 60 hours going on fun adventures with your child? That is 3,600 minutes (2 1/2 full days of reading) spent making a meaningful connection. That is one of the most interesting things that I learned from Sarah Mackenzie’s The Read Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections With Your Kids book.
I’ve written about the benefits of reading aloud to children 8 years ago and I still adore reading to my kids.
(If you have a young child you have to check out my recommendations for 5 MUST HAVE Books For Toddlers Ages 1-2 .)
Reading has seen us through bedtimes, travel times, curious times, development times, first day of school and even moments when my children needed to feel a connection. When my second child was born, I helped ease my son (first born) through the transition by dedicating reading aloud time just for me and him. Some nights, that reading time would be an hour. But that hour was spent cuddling my son and reminding him that Mama will always be there for him even through this change of having a new baby.
To me, The Read Aloud Family book is not just a book on reading aloud. It is also one of the best parenting books I have ever read. Every parent should read this book.
You know that feeling you get when you find those type of books.. the ones that speak straight to your soul, as if the author really and truly understands how you are feeling. You can’t put it down and stay up late devouring each of its pages, hungrily reading interesting quotes and passages over and over trying to ingrain it into your brain, mind and soul. That’s what reading, “The Read-Aloud Family” has been like for me.
While I wasn’t “reading” per se, I was listening to it with my Audible credit for the month. The Audiobook version is MAGICAL. It allowed me to do boring and monotonous housework and yet I felt so incredibly inspired during that time. I wanted more housework, I may as well have organized a few more drawers, right? Because while my body was actively doing house tasks, my mind was somewhere else. It was having a cup of coffee with what felt like a good friend talking about her love for something that we both shared.
The Audiobook version is definitely going to be listened to over and over when I need a spark of inspiration. I do, however, wish that I also purchased the paperback book. There are so many gems and book ideas in here that I know would feel so satisfying to my highlighter loving fingers. You can get the audiobook for free with your free trial of Audibles. You get 2 free audiobooks with your Audible trial.
The Read Aloud Family book: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections With Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie. Zondervan. 2018.
I recently became a quick fan of Sarah Mackenzie’s Read Aloud Revival podcast. I have always been a book loving mama, if you haven’t noticed by all our favorite book activities and thoughtfully curated book lists. I love the way Sarah Mackenzie talks, with a hint of laughter and a smile seeping through. When I listen to her podcasts, I honestly feel like I am talking to a longtime best friend.
Sarah wrote this book using her experience as a homeschooling mom while trying to make meaningful connections with her children. Since the time my first child was born 11 1/2 years ago, I couldn’t wait to start reading aloud to him. We read every single night and had a great bookshelf (ok, a whole cabinet full!)
Once he began to read on his own, read aloud time with him became less and less until we just stopped reading aloud together.
The normal thought is that once a child has learned to read on their own, we should rather give them their own reading practice to work on their fluency. But that means that children miss the magic of those books that are beyond their reading skill. This is also where many children lose that love for reading because now reading is made to be a chore. Children begin reading books that schools tell them to read so that they can come up with a book report afterwards. That’s not reading for pleasure. That’s also not tied to the warm feeling of reading books with mom.
- Let your child read what they WANT to read. It doesn’t have to be amazing literature. Are you only reading classics and books that advance your language? Or do you merge in some chick lit, romance, fiction and other light reads throughout? Yes, that’s why YOU love reading. If your child wants to read Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, let him read it! My son eagerly awaits each new release in that series and needs no reminder from me to do his 20 minutes of personal reading each day. There are currently 13 books in that series. That means my son has read 13 books! If the book is funny, even better. We recently read this book aloud and my children (ages 11, 9 and 4) were all laughing and glued to the book!)
- Use a variety of reading forms. Paperback books, e-books and audiobooks all count as reading time. It is the act of sharing the story that is important.
- Read Aloud time doesn’t need to be at bedtime. Find a different time of day and get it done early so that you know you’ve accomplished it before fatigue hits.
- Children do not need to sit still while you read aloud to them. They can color, build lego’s, jump, etc. Some children take things in more deeply when their body is being active. This is something that I found challenging with my almost 5 year old. Often times, if I read aloud to her in the day, if its a chapter book without pictures she will be jumping around during reading time.
- Keep reading aloud to your child EVEN if they can read themselves. You can choose books that are higher than their reading level.
- Reading aloud increases a child’s vocabulary. Children are hearing words spoken correctly and in the appropriate context. You don’t need to define hard words, by hearing it they will naturally learn what the words mean.
You can find my favorite read aloud books for kids in my Amazon favorites page.
The book is not without areas I could do without. There were a lot of religious verses and references that had lessons that could be universal, but still felt unnecessary. Many of Sarah’s readers may not share the same religion as her and I felt like those that are not as accepting of differences as I am, may not enjoy the book. I, however, have an open mind and feel that we can learn value through everyone, all religions, all points of views if we try to take in what they are saying rather than viewing it as a “religious verse”. I hope you understand what I mean. If a religion teaches kindness, then I look at the kindness that was taught, not the rest of it.
Books you see in the pictures above:
Should I get The Read Aloud Family book as an audiobook, e-book or paperback?
This was something I faced too. I know for me, audiobooks help you get through a read quickly especially when the narrator is brilliant. My honest opinion is that you should purchase two copies of this book, one as an audiobook and the second as a paperback (or e-book). Sarah recommends a lot of wonderful books throughout each chapter and it was hard to write these down fast enough when listening to it as an audiobook. I also couldn’t highlight my favorite quotes and passages like I would have wanted to. But the audiobook was fun, light and inspiring and I’m glad I chose this format. I have also just purchased the paperback version to keep on hand at home. Although the audiobook comes with a download for the Family Book list, the last few chapters of the book contain a list of books with summaries that you would really need a paperback or e-book copy to fully benefit from. The Kindle version is on a major sale! So definitely check it out.
I purchased the paperback copy and have already read it from start to finish.
If you love this book, you should also check out the Read Aloud Handbook. It is amazing and filled with research, steps, statistics and practical tips too.
Favorite quotes found within the book:
“Their children may not remember the exact stories, plot lines, or characters of the books they shared during these times. Whether they remember the titles of the books they read together doesn’t even really matter. But I am certain of one thing: they will never forget that their momma read to them.”
“When we read with our kids, we step outside the noise, the hustle, the friction, and for just a few minutes, we are completely and totally present with them. That simple act can make even the hardest, most painful season of life just a bit sweeter.”
“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror.” – Dr. Rudine Sims
“A book can’t change the world on its own. But a book can change readers. And readers? They can change the world.”
You can find all Fun With Mama book lists for kids here.
What is your favorite parenting book?