Needle and ThREAD

Read Aloud America Book List 2008

Does reading aloud to children really make a difference in how well they do in school?


According to the Children’s Literacy Initiative, “education experts agree that reading aloud at home is the single most important activity parents can do to help their children develop as readers … and that KIDS WHO READ SUCCEED.”

We tend to associate reading aloud with preschool- and elementary-aged kids, laps, and picture books, but reading aloud can be fun and fulfilling for tweens, teens, and adults as well. To this day, my sister-in-law and I love curling up on either side of Mike as he reads picture books aloud, and our teenage nephews and niece still enjoy a good shared reading, be it a picture book, short story, or novel. Mike and I routinely read aloud together, and that shared experience provides a common reference point that extends into all aspects of our life together.


Alison Follos, the Librarian at North Country School in Lake Placid, NY, puts great stories into the lives of tween and teen readers and nonreaders by reading aloud. Student responses to her Reader’s Workshop program are overwhelmingly enthusiastic and demonstrate that reading aloud also promotes independent reading. You can read more about the Reader’s Workshop program in this article on the Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) Web site.

Choosing good books to read aloud is the first step. As I mentioned in another post recently, I keep a running list of titles I want to read based on recommendations from friends and fellow bloggers. I also refer to lists of popular books. The Read Aloud America Book List 2008 lists recommendations for infants through adults based on

  • Excellent read-aloud appeal
  • Cross-section of male/female main characters, genres, and popular authors
  • Strong development of characters, plot, themes, and subtle moral (character- building) messages
  • Age group appropriateness

It’s a great place to start.

Categories: Needle and ThREAD