My Favorite Read Aloud Memories
There’s a special kind of magic about hearing a story read aloud. It can whisk a listener away to far off places and open hearts. There is no bad place for a read aloud. While I loved listening to my classroom teachers, my elementary school librarian and my parents read to me reading aloud should not be limited to the chairs, carpets or couches of the very young. A read aloud can be making a friend read aloud on a long car ride from Diana Wynne Jones’s Tough Guide to Fantasy Land , reading to a cabin full of teenagers at camp past lights out or sharing Sherwood Smith’s short story Beauty with a college roommate.
When thinking about my favorite read aloud books for this post I quickly came to realize I had to have two top ten lists. I needed one list for my favorite read aloud memories and another one for my favorite books to read aloud.
1. Zoo Animals by Zokeisha
This book was read aloud and ‘read’ by me as a toddler so much that it is held together with duct tape these days. It doesn’t even have a proper story—only single words and friendly zoo animals.
2. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
My enjoyment of this quintessential bedtime story I believe explains my fondness for Michael Rex’s Goodnight Goon today.
Books three and four are ones I remember my dad reading to me. I loved listening to him read then (and still do today albeit that happens a lot less frequently).
3. Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer
This was his favorite to read to me. I wonder why?
4. Teddy Bears Cure a Cold by Susanna Gretz
This book remains my go to sick day favorite. Colorful bears try to deal with one housemate’s cold and his increasing demands.
5. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
This was a curled up on my parents’ bed read aloud before ‘resting my eyes’. I loved tracing the green maps of the Hundred Acre Wood one the endpapers.
Numbers Six and seven are elementary school favorite reading moments. I was in love with my school and a big part of that love was for the books shared there. (I was the child who in third grade would bemoan I only had three years left at my school).
6. The Whingdingdilly by Bill Peet
My elementary school librarian read this book in the middle of our library from her rocking chair. This the story of Scamp who isn’t satisfied to remain a dog and ends up turned into a creature that is part camel, zebra, elephant and giraffe.
7. The Ghost in the Noonday Sun by Sid Fleishman
Every day in fifth grade my teacher read aloud to the class in his fantastic range of voices. When I picture a great read aloud, this is still who I think of. Sid Fleishman was one of his favorite authors to read aloud throughout the year. The Ghost in the Noonday Sun was the story of Oliver Finch who is kidnapped by Captain Scratch and dragged aboard a pirate ship.
8. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
The valedictorians read this at graduation freshman year and it was definitely the most interesting part of the whole ceremony.
9. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the radio scripts) by Douglas Adams
I coerced my friends at lunch in high school to read the radio scripts of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. We all took different parts (I suppose this should actually be on both parts as I thoroughly enjoyed reading Zaphod Beeblebrox’s part as the two-headed ex-president of the galaxy)
10. The War Prayer by Mark Twain
My history 102 teacher read this short story to my class freshman year of college. There was dead silence after his emphatic reading.
My Favorite Titles to Read Aloud
1. Bunnicula by James Howe
One afternoon of babysitting in high school involved reading this book cover to cover in one sitting.
2. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
I picked a scene from this book to read aloud to my oral communications class in high school. I can still quote parts of this historical fiction about the three day battle of Gettysburg. The copy I used for this reading has fallen to bits and been replaced.
3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I read Gollum’s part to a middle school class in Milwaukee for Read Across America. Try hissing “my precious” at a bunch of eighth graders.
4. Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
I worked as a classroom assistant while going to library school. I shared this book with a class of first graders. Then with another…and another…
5. Should I Share My Ice Cream? By Mo Willems
My favorite read aloud from summer school this last year. How can you not laugh at Elephant and Piggie?
6. The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray
This was a fantastic story to start the year with this school year.
7. Pete the Cat: Rocking In My School Shoes by Eric Litwin
This one could properly be called a sing aloud. Kids love Pete and so do I.
8. Interrupting Chicken by Ezra David Stein
This was one of the titles for my state’s student choice awards. It is fun to play with familiar stories and to be the excitable interrupting chicken and her exasperated father.
9. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
I blame my love of reading this aloud completely on Nerdy Book Club. It was a hit for Read Across America.
10. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Creating a booming voice for the archduke is excellent. I also love the reactions to the cameo appearances in this book.
Sarah Wendorf is an elementary school librarian and technology enrichment aide in Wisconsin. Her first book love is fantasy. She is @pageintraining on Twitter and writes at pageintraining.wordpress.com.