Great Books to Read Aloud With Your Older Kids

It’s no secret that I love reading aloud to my kids. It has always been a foundational part of our homeschool and of our family culture. It’s usually easy to convince people that reading aloud is valuable. But many people make the assumption that when kids are able to read independently, the reading aloud can or should stop.

Let me give you a big, big NO! There is so much value in treading aloud to your older kids. And it’s such a sweet time to spend together. I read aloud at lunch through the high school years of my older kids until they began working or taking outside classes, and we weren’t all home at lunch together. I still read aloud to my middle schoolers.

Older kids can have good discussion about what you’re reading, and as the kids get older, I sometimes introduce books with viewpoints that may be different from what we’ve taught our kids. I may not only read books from a Christian worldview. But it often brings up some great discussion points to read those books. If you’re reading to children of multiple ages, you’ll want to be more careful, of course, based on the age of your younger kids. And always preview books you’re going to read aloud so that you aren’t incredibly surprised by something you read.

Read aloud suggestions for older kids

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With that in mind, here are some suggestions for reading aloud with older kids.

A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L’Engle

I’ve recommended this book, which is actually the first in a quintet, before. I love it. Some of the author’s theology is a bit problematic for a Christian worldview, but it makes for interesting discussion. I’m reading it aloud to my four kids now- ages 9 and 1/2 and up. All of them are able to understand that there are some issues with doctrine, but my teens especially have had some good talking points as we’re reading.

Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers
by Ralph Moody 

My younger girls listened in on this story when I read it aloud to my older ones who were then probably 11 and 12. Although nothing is really inappropriate, the book deals with the complexities of relationships and the handling of tragedies that may be hard for younger readers. It’s a great book, but there are some really heavy parts. There are other books by Ralph Moody that continue to follow the family in the novel.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain

Although this classic is about an adventurous boy, the dialect used in the conversations can make it hard for kids to read. If you can swing the accent, read it aloud. Or choose a good audio book to listen to the story.

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

This classic has some heavy subject matter, so preview it before you read it aloud. But it’s another one that will bring up some great things to discuss with your teens.

The Giver
by Lois Lowry 

I wasn’t aware until recently, but this dystopian classics is actually the first in a quartet. Reading about this futuristic “perfect” society brings up some good talk about what makes the ideal society and whether or not that’s what our goal should be.

I Am David
by Anne Holm

Set in Eastern Europe about a boy who escapes from a concentration camp, the subject matter in this book is pretty heavy. Reading aloud a book like this can give kids the opportunity to process some of the things that may trouble them if they are reading the book independently.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

No reading aloud recommendation list is complete without listing one of my all time favorite book series. I know that there’s constant arguing about (1) whether or not Christians should read Harry Potter and (2) whether or not these books are really well-written. I’m not going to tackle the arguments here. I love the series. I recommend reading the first two or three aloud and then letting kids read the rest on their own. The books get longer and darker, and the fourth book really gets pretty deep. If you really want to dig into the series, this post has a round up of resources you can use with the books.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

If you’re looking for a book that can inspire great discussions, this one is awesome. It’s an easy-to-understand allegory that takes a look at socialism and communism. You can read it as you’re talking about types of governments and as you cover the Cold War in history if you want to tie it in to other learning. But it also makes for interesting reading on its own.

So these are a few of my suggestions and some I’ve read aloud with my own kids. Do you have any favorite read alouds for older kids?

Read aloud suggestions for older kids

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