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It’s winter time, and the reading is good

Outside, it’s snowing and gray and so very cold. It’s also a Sunday morning, and it would be too wonderful to stay in your socks and pajamas and quilts, and cuddle up together on the couch. Think of that scene in Cat in the Hat when the children stare out the window longingly – except in your case, the adults are home and you do have something to do. You can have a winter chapter book readaloud!

So many of us think about bringing books to the beach over summer, but the living room sofa in winter is an equally perfect place to lose yourselves in a book and build a reading routine. In fact, more and more families are discovering how great it is, especially in the colder months, to read chapter books aloud together – just like some teachers do with the class.

Chapter book ‘readalouds’ are done best in any way that suits your family: a few minutes here and there during the busy week or on cold weather afternoons – or longer stretches at the same time every week, like those snowy Sunday mornings. Take your time. Enjoy the story and these moments together.

Remember that reading a chapter book as a family is great for children of all ages – even those who can and love to read on their own as well. Depending on your child’s reading level and interest, you may want to take turns reading aloud or mix reading together and reading separately.

Tips for reading chapter books as a family

  • Practice ‘OWL’ when reading with your kids: Observe, Wait and Listen.
  •  Instead of ‘testing’ your child’s knowledge, make it fun and ask open-ended questions that relate to your child’s experiences.
  •  When your child is telling you something about the book, even if you already know what they’re talking about, let them finish what they’d like to say and share in their enthusiasm. Making connections in chapter books can be pretty exciting for young readers.
  •  The ‘language of books’ is far more complex than our everyday conversations. Check in and see if you can help explain a word that might be new to your child.

Great chapter books to read together

Pax and Pax Journey Home by Sarah Pennypacker

With beautiful illustrations, two moving voices and a heartwarming, contemporary tale of what it means to be a friend, this is a terrific book for children of all ages. Pax was nominated for the National Book Award.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

A favorite film for many of us adults, it’s an equally touching novel that can take your children on a fairytale adventure like no other. With so many funny, loveable and courageous characters, The Princess Bride is even better read aloud.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Your family can spend the winter in Florida with Opal, a girl who leaves the supermarket with a dog, and so begins a summer vacation making friends and collecting stories. A funny and heartwarming story about forgiveness and finding a way through loss, this is a New York Times bestseller sure to be a keeper. Look for DiCamillo’s other books!

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

If you loved the story of Elmer Elevator’s journey to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon – and the delightful retro illustrations – your children are sure to love My Father’s Dragon too. A cherished story that keeps even the youngest listeners engaged, this is a Newberry Prize winner sure to become a childhood favorite. Gannett has a whole series!

Little Red Reading House is a magical storybook home in Inglewood that helps families discover the joy of reading together. Visit their website to learn more about family reading visits, free resources, events and more at


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