Top Twenty Read-Alouds

We almost always have a read-aloud book going.  At the moment we’re working our way through the Harry Potter series.  My oldest two have already read it for themselves but they still can’t wait for each night gathered in the family room.  Why do we read aloud?  And what are our favorite read-alouds?

Oh goodness, this includes some that aren’t even listed on our Top 20 Read-Alouds down below!  How on earth do you narrow it down when you all love all of these stories so much?

Reading aloud creates a love for the written word.  Kids will see that reading isn’t only a chore that has to be gotten through during school time, but it’s actually enjoyable entertainment that requires using your brain.  It’s fun to use your brain!

It creates memories.  Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my mom reading aloud to us during the summer holidays.  I remember sitting around the picnic table at our campsite and listening to Where the Red Fern Grows or lounging on the living room carpet while Mom sat in her wooden rocking chair and read My Side of the Mountain.  Those will always be important memorable books because of the way they were shared in my family.

It exposes kids to books they would never read on their own and makes accessible books they don’t yet have the ability to read on their own.  My first exposure to Huckleberry Finn was listening as my mother read it aloud to us kids.  I love Mark Twain, I understand Mark Twain, I have read nearly everything Twain ever wrote and it’s because of that first memorable introduction.  If I had encountered Huck Finn first in an eighth grade English class would I have loved it as well?  Maybe, but I doubt it.

Reading aloud allows children to hear the masterful language.  Reading masterful language is important, but hearing the correct pronunciation of advanced vocabulary, hearing the flow and cadence of a well-crafted sentence, and hearing each character speak in their own voice is an entirely different experience from reading the words printed on a page.  I want my kids to hear E.B. White’s magical use of words in Charlotte’s Web.  Hearing the words aloud helps kids to master language themselves and later use these lessons from dozens of great authors in their own writing.

And finally reading aloud allows you to discuss the book as you go along and when something new pops in your head at dinner or while driving in the car.  Good books always have important ideas in them.  I read Animal Farm aloud to my kids not too long ago.  We talked about the ideas in the book as we read it each day and related these ideas to the political world around us right now.  Even my five-year-old got at least some of it.

Our Top Twenty Favorite Read-Alouds

The books in the section are affiliate links, but they were personally chosen by us as our favorites.  If you see one you like and buy it, it’s just a tiny way of saying thank you for all of the free content we share on Layers of Learning.  Now for our top twenty read-alouds (though I freely admit this list is arbitrary and extremely short, leave a comment telling us your favorite read alouds)



Oops!  I think that was 21.  But I just can’t stand to take one of them off!  Do you have any favorite read-alouds?

More From Layers of Learning

Here’s an article about how to approach reading in your homeschool.  We all hope to raise readers, right?  And if you’ve been homeschooling for a while, but are still struggling, you might like Karen’s post called 10 Habits of Happy Homeschoolers.  Even one or two good habits can make a huge difference.  And here are a few more articles and printables you might like.



  1. The first book I remember my mom reading aloud to us was Little House on the Prarie… and then all of the books in the series. My sister still teases me about how much I hated the Secret Garden– but I think that read alouds with your kids does allow them to decide what they like and don't like! I also remember reading Narnia- and loving it! Great post!

  2. We have been discovering a lot of lesser-known books this year, and have some definite favorites:

    The Moffats, Rufus M., Ginger Pye, and Pinky Pye, all by Eleanor Estes.

    The Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. This is a series of sailing adventures written in the 1930's. They are very LONG books, but my son has loved them. You learn a ton about sailing too.

    Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat.

    The King of Ireland's Son by Padraic Colum.

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