Family Book Club

Reading aloud to your school-aged children helps them develop a love of reading, while strengthening family relationships. Learn the basics of reading aloud at home and watch for the next edition of EPL's Family Book Club!

How to Read Aloud

Children’s literacy advocates encourage families to create a book club culture at home. 1 Just in the way that adult book clubs designate time, space, and importance to reading and talking about books, so, too, does family book club time with our children. No matter what you call it, the aim is to share the love of reading. While the book itself plays a big part in whether your family reading time is fun, it isn’t the only factor.

As Mem Fox puts it: 2

“The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading. It isn’t achieved by the book alone, nor by the child, nor by the adult who’s reading aloud – it’s the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together in easy harmony.”

Tips for a Fun Family Book Club:

Sample Discussion Questions

  • Start with the basics: who, what, when, where, why?
  • Discuss the book’s title and genre.
  • Talk about the author and illustrator.
  • Who was your favourite character? Which characters would you like to meet in real life?
  • What was your favourite part? What was your least favourite part?
  • How do you feel about the story? Why?
  • What do you wish was different about the ending?
  • Would the book make a cool movie? Video game? TV show?
  • What is one you would ask the author if you could talk to him or her?
  • Was there one big lesson you took away from this book?

Remember:

Reading aloud to your child is not the only way to read together. Teachers use other strategies and encourage families have their child read out loud to them. Parents help with sounding out words and running their fingers along the page, while their child turns the pages and sets the pace.

Learning to read is demanding brainwork. Reading aloud with your child helps them experience reading as gratifying and fun, not just work.

Why Read Aloud

Research shows that academic success comes to students who spend more time reading. 5 That's why experts in education, psychology and neuroscience tell us that one of most important things parents can do for children is read to them and continue into their teen years. 6

As noted in Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook: 7

“we read to children for the same reasons we talk with them: to reassure, entertain, bond, inform or explain, arouse curiosity and inspire”.

Reading aloud is beneficial to children, even (especially) as they get older and can read to themselves. Reading aloud:

The Impact on Family Relationships

One way to communicate love and respect to children is by showing an interest in what they are interested in. Sharing beloved stories (even Captain Underpants for the fifth time!) by reading aloud is a great way to spend quality time together and spark important discussions.

Reading aloud helps family relationships by:

Why Do We Stop Reading Together?

As noted in Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook: 15

All the reasons we read to young children – the gift of uninterrupted time, the message the reading is valued, and the shared experience of responding to a book together – are the very same reasons we should continue reading aloud to teenagers.

1) Parents stop

Families commonly read together with their younger children when they are learning to read. However, once children are older and reading independently, parents stop reading aloud to their children.

According to the Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report: 16

2) Reading becomes work

As kids age, reading increasingly is seen as work, when it also involve book reports and assignments. Reading for fun loses out and simply put, kids read less overall.

According to the Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report: 17

Remember:

Children do not age out of reading together. Reading with them for fun motivates them to read on their own and develop a love of reading. That's why it's important to balance the time your older child or teen reads on their own and the time you spend reading together, no matter how often. 18

How to Choose Books

Choosing what to read next is not always an easy or quick task. Here are tips to find your next favourite read, whether you're looking for another read aloud or books for your beginning and independent readers:

Read Alouds for Family Reading

Books for Independent Reading

Family Book Club - Independent Reading

Parent’s Guide to Reading Levels

Confused about reading levels? Find out what they mean, the different systems and how to support school-aged children learning to read.

How EPL Helps You Find Books

EPL has many recommending resources and services to save families time and help get the right book into a child’s hands.

Booklists

Booklists are aimed at age groups and are often organized on a specific topic or as for a popular book or series. Booklists are featured on the EPL website and are searchable in the EPL catalogue.

Personalized recommending services
Recommendations in the EPL catalogue

Family Book Club - Online Resources

NoveList K-8

NoveList K-8 Plus is a read-alike resource for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 with recommendations for both fiction and non-fiction.
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Booklists to Support your Family's Reading Journey

Family Book Club - Booklists

Remember:

Children who are frequent readers are more likely to have parents who read books 5–7 days per week. While the focus of Family Book Club is on growing your child’s love of reading, what about your own? 23

References

  1. Mackenzie, Sarah. The Read-aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids. Zondervan, 2018. p. 120.
  2. Fox, Mem. Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. Harcourt, 2008. p. 10.
  3. Mackenzie, Sarah. The Read-aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids. Zondervan, 2018, p. 125.
  4. Paul, Pamela, and Maria Russo. How to Raise a Reader. Workman Publishing Company, 2019, p. 70.
  5. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, PISA 2009 Results: Overcoming Social Background: Equity in Learning Opportunities and Outcomes, Vol. II, PISA. Paris: OECD Publishing, 2010). p. 95, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264091504-en
  6. Richard C. Anderson, Elfrieda H. Hiebert, Judith A. Scott, and Ian A.G. Wilkinson, Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading, U.S. Department of Education (Champaign-Urbana, IL: Centre for the Study of Reading, 1985). p. 23 and 51.
  7. Giorgis, Cyndi, editor. Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Book. 8th ed., Penguin Books, 2017, p. 6.
  8. Giorgis, Cyndi, editor. Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Book. 8th ed., Penguin Books, 2019, p. 8.
  9. Gurdon, Meghan Cox. The Enchanted Hour: the miraculous power of reading aloud in the age of distraction. HarperCollins, 2019, p. 110.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Paul, Pamela, and Maria Russo. How to Raise a Reader. Workman Publishing Company, 2019, p. 58.
  12. Paul, Pamela, and Maria Russo. How to Raise a Reader. Workman Publishing Company, 2019, p. 59.
  13. Scholastic Canada. Kids & Family Reading Report, Canadian Edition. Scholastic Canada, 2017, p. 53.  www.scholastic.ca/readingreport
  14. Goldstone, Lawrence and Nancy. Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, kids and the bond of Reading. Ballentine, 2005, p. 189.
  15. Giorgis, Cyndi, editor. Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Book. 8th ed., Penguin Books, 2017, p. 37.
  16. Scholastic Canada. Kids & Family Reading Report, Canadian Edition. Scholastic Canada, 2017, p .59.  www.scholastic.ca/readingreport
  17. Scholastic Canada. Kids & Family Reading Report, Canadian Edition. Scholastic Canada, 2017, p. 13.  www.scholastic.ca/readingreport
  18. Paul, Pamela, and Maria Russo. How to Raise a Reader. Workman Publishing Company, 2019, p. 69.
  19. Paul, Pamela, and Maria Russo. How to Raise a Reader. Workman Publishing Company, 2019, p. 90-91.
  20. Paul, Pamela, and Maria Russo. How to Raise a Reader. Workman Publishing Company, 2019, p. 72.
  21. Paul, Pamela, and Maria Russo. How to Raise a Reader. Workman Publishing Company, 2019, p. 69.
  22. ”Opinion | Your Kids Aren’t Too Old for Picture Books, and Neither Are You.” The New York Times, 20 Feb. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/02/20/opinion/sunday/picture-books-reading.html
  23. Scholastic Canada. Kids & Family Reading Report, Canadian Edition. Scholastic Canada, 2017, p. 14. www.scholastic.ca/readingreport
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