Picture Books: Keep Reading to Older Kids

The past few months, I’ve really struggled to make sure to read aloud to my son. Right now my mid-elementary school son is fully engrossed in his own reading of lots of chapter books, graphic novels, and tons of non-fiction titles (here’s looking at you every volume of The Guiness Book of World Records). He never lacks for reading material. He’s often reading in his room when I wake up in the morning and quickly resumes reading when he gets home from school. The 20 minutes of reading he has to complete for school each night flies by and he usually exceeds it.

It’s really been hard for me lately to get into a read-aloud pattern with him. We were doing ok (not stellar) in the fall with the Wizard of Oz; however, we still haven’t finished it. However, I am acutely aware of the value of reading aloud to “older” kiddos so, I really want to make reading aloud a priority.

My husband is currently doing great reading to him. They are 2 books in to a several book series. His teacher at school is doing a great job reading to his class. This is the first year that he’s really been excited and interested in the chapter books his teacher is reading aloud. She’s picked books he’s excited to tell me about.

Serdentipty one day led me to a list of picture books recommended by Pernille Ripp on her personal blog. Pernille Ripp is a local Oregon, WI, teacher and the founder and leader of the The Global Read Aloud. Ripp is a national leader in advocating reaching ALL students via books and reading. I took her many posts on using picture books with older readers–she uses them with Middle School kids–to heart.

I used her lists of picture books to request several from my local library. I LOVE being able to place holds on books from home and have them magically ready for me when I head to the library! This is the spark I needed to get back into reading aloud to my son. These books have helped us talk about a lot of topics together: an elementary-aged kid moving from one country to another, an Olympic marathon, friendship, death, cheating, love, and more. 

Don’t discount reading aloud picture books to your older kids. Since we often read aloud at bedtime, most picture books are a better length for that than chapters of a chapter book. Also, the value of the art of the pictures in the picture books is something that can be enjoyed even more when a kid is older. Talking about specific styles of art and details in the art is a great way to derive further meaning from the book.

So, how are you reading to your kids today? Consider reading to your older kids, too. It’s not just something to do for your preschool kids!

It’s time for me to peruse the lists again as we need some more pictures books to share together!



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