We all know the importance of children learning how to read and children reading independently, but there is so much benefit in reading aloud to our children. A read-aloud basket is a great way to incorporate this. If you are part of the homeschool world, chances are you have heard about Sarah MacKenzie’s best-selling book, The Read-Aloud Family. I highly recommend everyone caring for children start there and read Sarah’s book or listen to the audiobook.
Having a basket of books for read-aloud time is a great way to prioritize and encourage reading aloud. In this blog post, I will share my tips on creating a read-aloud basket and the best time to read aloud.
What is a Read-Aloud Basket?
So, what is a read-aloud basket? Simply put, a basket full of books to read aloud to your kids. The reason I believe having books in a basket is that it gives the books a home and is inviting for children to come and pull a book from for read-aloud time. It is also mobile.
One might be wondering what the difference is between a basket and where you keep your other books. Well, there isn’t much difference if you don’t mind pulling from your bookshelf daily, but I like having a designated home for them. Since read-alouds are typically a curated collection of books you will read over the course of a few days, keeping them together makes it a little more organized.
Now that you have an idea of what a “read-aloud basket” is, let’s talk about selecting books for your basket.
Selecting Books for Your Basket
When selecting books for your read-aloud basket, you want to think about the theme or vision of the lessons you want to introduce to your kids. Here are a few examples:
- seasonal books to teach about life around them during those seasons,
- spiritual books with lessons about faith and/or character building,
- chapter books for character building and adventure,
- picture books to learn about diversity,
- living books for learning history,
- wordless books,
- and poetry books.
I won’t reinvent the wheel here, so I am going to direct you to the queen of read-aloud, Sarah MacKenzie, and her website for booklist in these categories and much more.
Another great publishing company for books is Usborne Books and More. I am also an independent consultant here and can create personalized wishlist for you. Visit the website, or comment here for more about wishlist.
Best Time to Read Aloud
If you have ever read a book to a group of children, or even just one or two, then the phrases, “please sit down”, “shhh”, “eyes up here”, and the typical sayings sound very familiar to you. But did you know that while children’s bodies are moving, they are actually retaining auditory information better?
For busybodies, I recommend having an activity or some sensory material available during read-aloud time. Here are some ideas that are great for a read-aloud time but not too distracting if reading to multiple children:
- play-dough or slime,
- color pencils or wax crayons with blank paper,
- magnetic tiles,
- playing with loose parts,
- bathtime or water sensory play,
- and indoor/outdoor swings.
I have found that my five-year-old enjoys read-aloud time while having something to busy her hands more than being made to sit still and quiet.
Another thing to keep in mind is leaving room for discussion during read-aloud time instead of having your little ones hold their questions and comments until the end.
What are your favorite read-alouds for family time? Let’s create a list here in the comments.