I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp.
— J.K. Rowling
Rowling talks of bedtime stories, and of course there is something special about children all ready for bed being read aloud a story about a faraway land before they drift off to the Land of Nod. But whether it’s at bedtime or another moment in the day, ‘family read aloud time’ is treasured by us all in this home.
“How do you decide what to read next?” is a question people ask me. I don’t have a clear answer. In reality it’s a mixture of what we have on our shelves – plenty of books from my own childhood mixed in with more recent favourites – or tying a book in with something the children are learning about in school, or preparation for an exhibition or place we are going to visit. I like exposing the children to different authors, a range of ideas, places and cultures. Some choices are seasonal. Some just come highly recommended. I try to find a story that all three children will enjoy and that they probably will not read on their own. Beautiful illustrations are a bonus and help retain my little one’s attention. And, of course, a book I’d like to read myself!
In the archives you will find 20 Family Read Alouds which we’ve enjoyed in the past, but today I’m posting our favourites from 2019 that I read to our children aged 10, 8 and 4 years old.
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