20 Best Tips
Teaching Textbooks

We’ve Fallen Off the Read-Aloud Wagon

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy .

Mysterious Benedict and the Perilous Journey

For the first half of our school year we did a great job {i.e. were consistent} in reading out loud together as a family. Over the last few months we read {and read and read} The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. The kids loved it {and so did the adults}, but it was a long book. Long.

Did I mention there are a few more books in that series that are equally as long? I tend to forget how quickly I can read to myself until I see how little of a dent we’ve put in a book reading it out loud.

But – reading out loud is a whole lot of fun. Really.

Since Christmas though, our reading together has dwindled, which seems strange since the nights are cold and curling up together with a good story seems that it would be the perfect thing to do.  The truth is, we managed to get out of the habit and need to put ourselves back into it.

{It may also be that the next book in the Benedict series is taunting me with it’s thickness – ahem}.

Future Read Alouds

So this week, I’m making it a goal to pull out a shorter book from the pile that I put aside to read aloud this year with the kids and get us back on track. Something quick and fun that will get everyone excited and ready to read more.

Pulled from the stack are The Bears on Hemlock Mountain and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

What are YOU reading with your kids right now?


Books that we’ve previously read together {and blogged about}:


Jolanthe Signature affiliate button


Maestro Classics ~ introduce great music and classics stories to children with this classical music series. Check out their FREE homeschool music curriculum guides!

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy .

10 great tips for people who are teaching a struggling learner


Would you rather SUBSCRIBE BY RSS?


  1. Anita Chamblee says

    We are listening to a recording of E.B. White reading his Trumpet of the Swan….hilarious!! Dh has been reading the Wind in the Willows to the 8yob, but he is not interested. He is more interested in history. I am reading a bio of Alexander Graham Bell to him right now and we’ll read the Childhood of Famous Americans books on Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett in the next couple of weeks. I haven’t read to the older ones in a while….. Little man (4) gets the same books 8yo does along with some others.

    • Anita,

      I’ll have to check and see if our library has that recording. The book is on our shelf to read, but that would be great for the car. :)


  2. Jamie ~ Alabama says

    We do not use all of the Sonlight curriculum but we do use the Read Alouds + the Readers (for extra reading practice). Right now we have special Mommy Read Aloud time with each child. Today it is Curious George for the PreK, more chapters in the Boxcar Children for the Kindergartener, and The Apple and the Arrow for the 2nd grader. The 2 itty bitties get reading time with Mommy too but we just pull books from the toddler basket.

  3. I hear ya about falling off the wagon. After Christmas everything just goes crazy and I feel like I lose my brain. :-) I have been doing audio books lately. We are listening to The 5 Little Peppers & How They Grew.

  4. We had trouble getting through Farmer Boy. I might have started it earlier than he was ready, oops! Right now we are finishing up The Dragons of Blueland. This series has been a hit!!

    Here are the other books we’ve read this year so far::

  5. That IS a LONG book! Great job!

    We read a lot at bedtime, but this is one reason I love Sonlight so much ~ reading aloud is the heart of the core. HOWEVER, I do fall off the BASICS wagon! I have to get us into a rhythm of doing basics otherwise we don’t get it done and it is easy to get behind!

    Bears on Hemlock Mountain looks good. I think Malachi would like that one.

  6. I have a 6 year old and a 14 year old, so our read aloud is always in to stages. I read a short story to my 6 year old, Berenstain Bears, Curious George, Clifford, etc. and read a portion of a chapter book to my 14 year old (which my 6 year old also sits in on). I are currently reading a series called “The Kingdom Series” by Chuck Black. It is a set of 6 books. They are fairly short as chapter books go. It is a story about knights who are fighting evil for the reign of the true king. The stories parallel the Bible from Genesis to Revelations. It has been neat to hear my son comment on how parts of the story remind him of events from the Bible. We have also read TheChronicals of Narnia, Harry Potter (yes, all of them), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and a myriad of Magic Tree House books.

  7. Katie Mitchell says

    I am reading book 1 of the Boxcar Children. I am also reading Abraham Lincoln by Edgar and Ingri D’aulaire.
    I would highly reccomend the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. They are fantastic books! If you can listen to the audio version on an iPod or iPad all the better. The guy who reads it does fantastic voices!

  8. We are reading Messenger by Lois Lowry. I love the looks on my kids’ faces when they recognize a character from The Giver or Gathering Blue in this book. It has also been sparking great discussion at dinner time about what we think will happen next. We read The Giver and Gathering Blue quite a while back. We usually don’t read a whole series back to back, but go back and forth between stand alone books and series books.

  9. We are reading Christopher Mouse: The Tale of a Small Traveler at the moment and it is a really good story told in the first person (a mouse’s perspective). Plus, we are reading Captains of the City Streets (a Cat Club book) by Esther Averill.

    Olus we are re-reading the Moddy book series, by Enid Blyton.

    Read Aloud Dad

  10. We are reading Swiss Family Robinson and listening to The Lost Hero on audio book.

  11. sugarandfun says

    My youngest and I are in the middle of Ralph S. Mouse.

    The oldest and I are reading The Mysterious Benedict Society too, though I usually have her read the first part of the chapter then I read the second half. We are only planning on reading the first one as a read aloud since she can read the others for her points needed for her reading grade at school.

  12. Karen @ Candid Diversions says

    I’m reading the last book in the “My Father’s Dragon” series, The Dragons of Blueland, to our 8 yr old and 5 yr old. Short chapters make it easier for me not to just brush off “read aloud time”. I’m 28 weeks pregnant and need all the help I can get not to just send them to bed to read on their own. ;)

  13. My Fathers Dragon, We just finished Stuart Little, and we did Mr. Popper’s Penguins in November (it’s great).

  14. I tend to swap around with our read alouds, because of that too. Slipping in something that’s short and easy to get through before tackling a longer read. It’s Judy Blume for us right now :-)

  15. What age did you all start reading to your kids? I’ve done the Magic Treehouse books and my then 3 year old would sit and listen but I could see he was losing interest during parts because there just isnt pictures to keep him captivated. I tried reading Stuart Little but he really wasnt into it at all. Should I just keep reading even if he isnt paying attention and hope he’ll learn to listen or should I wait till he’s a bit older? He just turned 4 btw.

    • We’ve always done some type of read-aloud, but more as a dedicated time the last two years. Our youngest isn’t always getting it all, but he might be building legos or coloring during that time. :) Just building habits! Kaleb was definitely that age when we started reading more together.

  16. We LOVE reading aloud!! (And our daughter turns 13 next month… no signs of it stopping any time soon.) Right now we’re reading The Alchemyst, the first in a teen fiction series by Michael Scott, and we just finished Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman. (Can you see we have a theme?) :)

  17. I love the Mysterious Benedict Society, but I’d probably chicken out before trying to use it as a read-aloud. :D We’re reading The House at Pooh Corner right now.

  18. How fun! You guys will like Mr. Popper’s Penguins we read that last month and loved it! We are currently reading Little House in the Big Woods! Sammy is hooked! :-)

  19. Jennifer@Milk & Honey Mommy says


    I am so w/you there. The last read-a-loud we completed was Because
    of Winn-Dixie and that was last year. I have fallen into a slump. My daughter read to my children last night before going to bed and I felt guilty because I know it should have been me. I’ve had Mary Poppins checked out from the library for almost three months because that was our next read-a-loud. I will read and my children will sit and listen. That is me motivating myself.

    On the flip-side, I’ve been reading more mommy books, which I haven’t done in years.

  20. loved those books, Sarah!! :)

  21. I have kids ages 12, 9, 7, and 6. We have been steadily reading the Redwall series (we are on book 7!)

  22. Daddy has been reading “Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrim’s” a-loud in the evenings. The kids and I are reading “Princess Adelina” & “Almost Home”. This has consistently been my favorite time of the day. It provides a great touchstone for all the multiple levels of teaching we have around the house.

  23. Gina Boulanger says

    I read “The Mysterious Benedict Society” to my very small kindergarten class a few months ago. We’ve delved into the 14 book series of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by Frank L. Baum. We’re finally on book 12, but I needed a break and read “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” to the kids this week.

  24. Nicole @ Journey to Excellence says

    This is our first year of read-alouds (ages 9 and 7), other than short picture books. We have read “James and the Giant Peach”, “Stuart Little”, “The Beautiful Christmas Tree” by Charlotte Zolotow, “Peter Pan”, “The Storm” by Cynthia Rylant, and have just started the first book in “The Spiderwick Chronicles” series. It took some time before we got into a good groove and before I felt like they were actually listening to the books. Now we snuggle up on the couch every day with the dogs, and we only read one chapter. The shorter time frame keeps their attention and the suspenseful ends to the chapters gets them excited for the next day’s reading.

  25. Five Little Peppers, Book #3 from the new Humphrey series (written from a classroom hamster’s perspective! even includes study guides), and Animal Ark series

  26. My son Caleb is 2.5 yrs old and daughter Mikaylah is 8 months and we are reading the “Moose Stories by Shaun Hepworth” they are beautifully illustrated and written simply to teach the stories in the Bible which catches their attention. Caleb’s favorite is The Maker’s Promise (story on creation), at the moment.

  27. Totally relate. We’ve not done well lately either. Hoping to re-motivate! Thanks for the post!

  28. My daughter and I just finished reading ‘Girl Talk’ by Carolyn Mahaney. Not really a read aloud, but a great book for us as she transitions into these teens years. Now to find something to read, just for fun!

    • We just started reading “The Wide Awake Princess” together {a friend told us about the day this post went up} and our kids are loving it. :) It’s a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, but from her younger sister’s point of view – who is a ‘plain’ princess. :)

  29. Last week my son and I were geocaching and a rabbit crossed our path. It made me think of the book “Watership Down” which I read years ago and loved. The park we were walking in is next to a library so before we went to the car we checked it out and started reading it the next day. We’re loving it!

Leave a Comment



Send this to a friend