a year reading aloud to little boys

Last year, during Christmas holidays, Nate and I started reading A Christmas Carol. Most of it was over his head, though he liked the fact that it was a ghost story. We didn't make it to the end of the book, but it got me thinking about beginning to read chapter books aloud to the boys. I always loved having chapter books read aloud to me as a kid. The earliest I remember were the Little House books and The Chronicles of Narnia. Some of my favorites were my teacher reading The Great Brain series to us in 4th grade and my 5th grade teacher reading various Gary Paulsen books after lunch.

(As a sidenote, I am rarely sad that I have only boys, but I will miss having a girl to share my love of Madeline L'Engle. I read those on my own and loved every single one of them. They are just so female-centric, except perhaps A Wrinkle in Time, which is the best one, and which I will encourage my boys to read. But, I can't wait for them to be old enough to read Paulsen's Hatchet and Woodsong.)

I started a bookshelf on Goodreads for books I have read, am currently reading, or am planning to read to the boys. The ones we have finished are reviewed!

I mostly read books in the public domain, free downloads for the Kindle, and that's where I started with the boys. We worked it into our bedtime routine. We still read picture books (fewer than we used to) and a Bible story every night, then I read our chapter book.

We have read 6 and a half books so far this year and are planning to read 2 more by the end of the year. Here's our reading list:

  • The Wind in the Willows. It was a bit too much for a 2 and a half year old, but ok for a just-turned 4 year old.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Great for the 4 year old, ok for the 2 year old (or maybe he was getting used to chapter books?). Perfect chapter length for us. Good action!
  • Black Beauty. It was easy to read aloud, and a good reading (listening) level for their age.
  • Rikki Tikki Tavi. Very short (it's one ~30 minute chapter from The Jungle Book). The 4 year old and almost 3 year old both loved it.
  • Captain's Courageous. The boys seemed to like it (though the 3 year old kept asking if we could read Rikki Tikki Tavi again), but I don't know how much of the plot they got. This one would be better around age 8.
  • Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. For Ben's birthday, his uncle sent him these on the Kindle! They are perfect for this age group (3 and 4 year olds). The chapters are short, interesting, funny, and there is even a picture every so often. 

After The House at Pooh Corner, we will probably read The Jungle Book. Then, it should be time to try A Christmas Carol again. I love that one myself and want to start a family tradition of reading it every year. Charlotte's Web, The Borrowers, and Stuart Little are also on my list for the future, but none of them are public domain.


  1. A big YES! to Hatchet and Woodsong! I guess I should start something with Ryan. Lauren is loving the Narnia series. :-)


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