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Reading aloud to kids is great -- even after they're old enough to read to themselves.

Here are some of our favorite read aloud books for kids -- and ideas about what to talk about and do after reading. (prices are paperback list but these are all available on Amazon for less)


Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak. $4.95

"In January it's so nice... to sip hot chicken soup with rice." And so it goes through the months of the year, each with its very own reason for drinking chicken soup.

The book introduces children to the calendar and to memorable rhymes that help develop a love of language.

  • With your child, make up your own rhymes for the months of the year.

  • Make a pot of chicken soup with rice. (Or buy some at the store). Have a chicken soup party for the month you are in.

  • Together find the month when your child and each family member was born. Imagine what you would do at a chicken soup birthday party.

Winter Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown, Pictures by Charles G. Shaw.
(This terrific book is out of print -- but you can probably get it at the library)

The author of the beloved Good Night Moon captivates readers by encouraging them to think about what can be heard (someone eating celery) and what is silent (a sleeping elephant. ) Question for parents -- Why are such good books out of print??? Is there anything we can do about it?

The book gets readers to use their ears to listen and their imaginations to invent sounds.

  • Encourage your child to create the sounds heard and unheard in the story.

  • Together listen to the sounds around you, close your eyes and see if you can each identify them.

  • Create sounds to go with objects. If the table could talk; If the chair could sing What would they say?

Six to Ten (or any age that can appreciate)

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne. $4.99. Decorations by Ernest H. Shepard.

The author of Winnie- the -Pooh offers a book of poems that captures what it's like being young. Milne understood the fantasies, hopes and diversions of childhood. He also understood how absurd adults sometimes seem to kids.

  • Pick a few poems to read (there are 35 in the book!) and discuss their themes -- imaginary friends ("Binker") or rainy day activities ("The Engineer") or creating suspense to make things exciting ("Waiting by the Window," my personal favorite)

  • Encourage your child to make up her own rhymes about something meaningful -- greeting a new baby or moving to a different house, or staying home with the flu. Help him write down the words

Stuart Little by E.B. White. Pictures by Garth Williams. $5.95.

Children love this story about a mouse born to a New York (human) family. By the author of Charlotte's Web, the story combines resourcefulness with love, adventure and heroism on the part of its even-smaller-than- the -youngest child protagonist.

  • Ask your child what he would do if he were as small as Stuart. Where would he travel inside your home and outside that he can't fit in now?

  • Talk about how Stuart conducts the class when he acts as a substitute teacher. What would your child do if he were the teacher?

  • Stuart is resourceful about using small items. What are some of the everyday objects could he use for his own purposes?

  • Go see the Stuart Little movie and see how it was adapted from the book.

What were some of your favorite book when you were growing up? Let us know.

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