SummaryChildren love being read stories by their parents or grandparents. Tom McFadden has five timeless series he’s found to be favorites with children aged 5-12.
- Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan – E.B. White
- The Mitchells: Five for Victory, Canadian Summer, and Friendly Gables – Hilda van Stockum
- The Cottage at Bantry Bay, Francie on the Run, and Pegeen – Hilda van Stockum
- The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
- Vision Books – Biographies of Saints – Various Authors, Ignatius Press
- About Tom McFadden
Reading stories aloud to children is an excellent way to teach them reading skills and instill in them a love of reading.
Children enjoy listening to stories, especially when read by their parents or grandparents. Although there are hundreds of great books from which to choose, I believe that these five series of books will be loved by one and all – especially children aged 5-12.
Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan – E.B. White
These three classic books, written by E.B. White between 1952 and 1970, are perfect for reading out loud. Talking animals always make for fun, and the illustrations are a great help for children in imagining the characters.
If you are one for doing voices, you might try to imitate comedian Paul Lynn as the voice of Templeton the rat, from the animated movie, Charlotte’s Web.
The Mitchells: Five for Victory, Canadian Summer, and Friendly Gables – Hilda van Stockum
Author Hilda van Stockum writes in a very conversational manner, bringing the Mitchell family to life, so the reader wants to learn more about them. The first book begins with Mr. Mitchell going off to World War II, and shows the family living in a time of sacrifice and limited resources – while having many exciting adventures!
The second book, Canadian Summer, describes the family’s move to Montreal where they temporarily live in an old house by a lake. In a new location, the Mitchell children find new friends and have many new adventures.
And in Friendly Gables, the author concludes the series showing the family dynamic at work. The children do their chores, play together, and obey their parents, but still find time for adventures.
The Cottage at Bantry Bay, Francie on the Run, and Pegeen – Hilda van Stockum
If you’ve been hankering to try out your best Irish accent, then reading these books aloud will be a load of fun! This series is about the O’Sullivan family, who live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world: the south-west of Ireland, in the tiny town of Glengarriff, County Cork.
As country folk, they have a lot of adventures, and the author captures the true experience of living in that part of the Irish countryside in the early Twentieth Century. The first book concludes with Francie, one of the family’s 6-year-old twins, going across the country to Dublin for a foot operation. Francie on the Run picks up where the first book left off and follows the many misadventures of Francie as he tries to make his way back home.
And Pegeen finishes out the very amusing series with the story of a young girl whom Francie met while on his adventurous journey home from Dublin. Due to her grandmother’s death, Pegeen moves in with the O’Sullivans and finds it difficult to acclimate to her new lifestyle.
The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
The classic story of Narnia, with talking animals, witches, magic wardrobes, dwarfs, great battles, Aslan the Lion, as well as deep Christian meaning and symbolism, cannot be bested when looking for great read-aloud books. In my opinion, reading these out loud to children should be almost a requirement of parenthood!
Also, now that a number of these books have been made into movies by Walden Media, I would highly suggest that you ensure that your children have either read or heard the books before seeing the movies.
There are two main theories about the order in which to read these books: read them in their chronological order (following the timeline of when things happened in Narnia, so starting with the creation of Narnia in The Magician’s Nephew) or in the order in which they were published (reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first). My suggestion is to read them many, many times, and try reading them in both manners!
Vision Books – Biographies of Saints – Various Authors, Ignatius Press
Teaching children about the lives of the saints is an important part of their religious education, and they can never hear about them enough. Listening to stories about how ordinary people did extraordinary things for God can be very inspirational, and encourage children to model their lives on these saints and embrace their heroic virtues.
The award-winning series of Vision Books on the lives of saints and heroes for youth are perfect for these purposes. They have beautifully illustrated covers and include stories about Sts. Bernadette, Isaac Jogues, the Cure of Ars, Mother Cabrini, Mother Seton, Francis Xavier, and so many more.
The books will not only give great insights into how these people grew in virtue and became saints, but also will give some historical background and context to the times in which they lived. With 30 books in the series, you will not run out of good read-aloud material for a long time!