Happy Thursday, y’all!
Today I am excited to share my review of The Read Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie–the creator of the Read Aloud Revival Podcast and Blog. I have known about this book for a while. But I haven’t really wanted to read it until more recently. I knew I would love it before I had read a single chapter.
My experience with the Read Aloud Revival has been fantastic. I’ve listened to several episodes of Sarah’s podcast, explored her awesome book lists, and felt bookish delight at her lists of great bookish gifts for all occasions. Check out the Read Aloud Revival today! It’s amazing!
- First, I just want to say that I was on board with everything Sarah stands for before I opened the first page. I checked this book out at the library and before I had finished 2 chapters, I had bought it on Amazon. I knew this is a book that I want in my home so I can return to it again and again for ideas and motivation.
- Don’t be overwhelmed or feel guilty if you don’t read aloud yet or don’t want to add that to your busy life. Give this book a try and find one or two ideas that inspire you. You can do this!
According to Goodreads, “Connecting deeply with our kids can be difficult in our busy, technology-driven lives. Reading aloud offers us a chance to be fully present with our children. It also increases our kids’ academic success, inspires compassion, and fortifies them with the inner strength they need to face life’s challenges. As Sarah Mackenzie has found with her own six children, reading aloud long after kids are able to read to themselves can deepen relationships in a powerful way.
Founder of the immensely popular Read-Aloud Revival podcast, Sarah knows first-hand how reading can change a child’s life. In The Read-Aloud Family, she offers the inspiration and age-appropriate book lists you need to start a read-aloud movement in your own home. From a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance, Sarah details practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family—it has the power to change the world”
As this is not a novel but more of what I like to call a “self care” book, I decided to share an nontraditional review with y’all. Instead of breaking down different pieces, I’m mostly sharing my favorite parts, how this book has helped me, and how I’m balancing mom guilt and my passion for reading. I hope this inspires you to check out this book, Sarah’s podcast, and read more with your kids!
What I loved:
- I loved the first section where she discusses the value of reading aloud to your kids–no matter their ages or reading abilities. Sarah talks about how reading to our kids starts before they learn to read but it should continue after they learn to read as well. I love that!
- I loved her personal stories of trying to read to her kids and her triumphs and failures along the way. She doesn’t do this perfectly–she’s trying to read more and have meaningful conversations just like the rest of us. I also appreciated her candor about worrying about parenting and doing the best things for her kids’ success. I felt a camaraderie with her for her frankness and openness.
- I loved the chapters with book lists at the end of the book with lots of great ideas for reading aloud with kids at different ages. So many great book ideas! And I appreciated the questions to use to spark meaningful conversations about books with your kids.
- I loved her ideas for what your kids can do while you read. I always thought of reading time as focused time. But I love the idea that you kids can (and even should!) be busy while you read and they will enjoy it more (and get more out of it).
- One of my favorite quotes is about how much reading time can make a difference. Sarah suggests reading aloud for 15 minutes every other day. It’s not too much time. But added up it comes to many hours of read aloud time in a year. That can make a difference!
How I’m balancing mommy guilt and a passion for reading:
- I felt a bit overwhelmed in part 2 when she talks about making schedules, reading journals, asking all these questions, etc. Of course, she says you don’t have to do it all, these are just ideas. But it felt overwhelming for me. It felt more like work to read with your kids at that point. Suddenly, this wasn’t empowering, it was more like a list of things I was supposed to do to be a good mom. How could I get back to the excitement of part 1?
- So I took a step back and remembered the reason behind the reading and behind this book. Sarah celebrates the connections we make with our kids when we read. And that is something I completely agree with.
How has this book changed my reading with my kids?
- Because of this book, I’ve started getting audiobooks from the library to listen with my kids in the car. We’ve been checking out 2-3 audiobooks a week and my kids love them. Recent favorites are Strega Nona and Curious George.
- I’ve read more casually unconnected to bedtime. If I’m looking for something to do in those 15 minutes before lunch, I suggest we read. If my kids are driving me a bit crazy, I suggest we read. I love Sarah’s idea that you don’t need a perfect 30 minutes of open time to read aloud. Take whatever time you can find and make it meaningful.
- We started our first chapter book–A Bear Called Paddington and it’s delightful. We don’t read very much at one time. And we might not even finish it. But I’ve enjoyed reading a longer story to my kids.
- I’ve read aloud as my kids colored, did stickers, and had a snack. Hoping to do these sorts of things even more in the coming weeks and months.
This book is inspiring and empowering. It embraces reading aloud at whatever stage of parenthood we are in. It celebrates connections with our kids and challenges us to do a little more to make our reading meaningful. Thank you, Sarah Mackenzie! I am loving reading with my kids more than ever!
What do you love about reading aloud with your kids?
Favorite read aloud books?