What My Boys Have Been Reading…
We all know that reading is super important for kids, but it isn’t always easy to get our kids to read, right? We are competing with so many demands on our kids’ time, and we are especially competing with all of the digital things (yes, books can be digital too, but most often that isn’t what we’re competing with.)
When we first started homeschooling, I used Sonlight Curriculum, which (at least in the early years), is pretty much ALL reading aloud. I love that in theory, but somewhere around the third week of school I had to come to terms with the fact that I suffer from some kind of read-aloud-triggered-narcolepsy. It was brutal. I loved the books, and fought it hard, but eventually I had to give it up, and a better curriculum fit for us.
By then my boys had a huge stockpile of good books, and a genuine love for reading.
I have continued to read aloud to the boys over the years, I’ve just learned how to do it in shorter increments. 😉 Just today Josiah was remembering how much he loved the great books we read together when he was young. He said that he believes all of the time we spent reading out loud is part of the reason he loves to read, and write so much now. (yay!)
Whether you read to your kids, or they read to themselves (or hopefully both!) we know that kids that read a lot have an advantage.
Need some motivation?
I’ve seen this chart around the internet, and though I can’t seem to find a legitimate source for it, I still find it motivating. (if you know where it came from, please let me know!)
There is no arguing that reading is really important and kids who develop a love for reading benefit in many ways.
So…WHAT DO MY BOYS READ?
I wouldn’t claim that any of my boys are big bookworms. They are so busy and active, that sometimes reading comes after everything else. And it’s a discipline. With that said, they all do enjoy reading, and thankfully, they’ve been exposed to some really good books which have made them love reading all the more.
The boys all have assigned literature through their Abeka homeschool curriculum. This is a mix of short stories, poetry, Biographies, and and excerpts from great writing. And we LOVE it all!
On the side, and for book reports, the boys get to choose books. We steer them to a lot of older books, Classics when possible. We still order a lot of them through the Sonlight Curriculum catalog because they have such a great selection of quality books to choose from.
(Note: If you go to the Sonlight online store, just click on “Subjects” then “Language arts”, then choose a grade and you’ll see all of the “readers” suggested for that grade. It’s a little complicated to get to, so I’ll just share direct links via Amazon for each book here. However, you might want to order the Sonlight Catalog so you can see what they offer for all grades in catalog version!
Here is a list of each of the boys’ favorites from the past year or so.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples
The Twenty-One Balloons (Puffin Modern Classics)
Gone-Away Lake (Gone-Away Lake Books)
The Maze Runner Series (Maze Runner)
Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)
Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)
George Washington Carver: Man’s Slave Becomes God’s Scientist (Sower Series)
Billy Sunday, Home Run to Heaven (Sowers)
Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)
Meet Thomas Jefferson (Landmark Books)
Levi’s Kindergarten curriculum is heavy on phonics. He is learning all of his letter sounds and blends right now. (so cute!!) Meanwhile, here is a list of books that I am reading out loud to him this year! (He is sometimes a good listener, and sometimes I find myself totally into the book and discover Levi has wandered off chasing a cat or something. haha.)
Five True Dog Stories (Little Apple)
James Herriot’s Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small
Mary On Horseback: Three Mountain Stories
Dolphin Treasure (Harper Trophy Books)
The Long Way to a New Land (I Can Read Book 3)
**These are all Amazon Affiliate Links. I receive a small percentage when you click through and order at Amazon. Thank you so much! :)
Eventually I’ll fill in with other books my boys have loved over the years, and keep a list on a page in my menu bar!…I’ve been meaning to do that for so long!
Now, don’t forget that you have until Sunday night to enter to win a copy of My Best Friend’s Funeral, so if you haven’t left a comment at that post, hop back over!
Your turn! Do your kids love to read or is it a challenge to make them read? Share in comments any books your kids love, or any tips or tricks you’ve used to motivate them! Have a great weekend, and see you soon!
(And yes, the Teen/Pre-teen Q and A post is coming soon. I got carried away with books this week!)
PS As always, if this post has been helpful or encouraging, please do PIN and SHARE it so your fiends can read it too! Mahalo!
Thank you Monica. I’m inspired to find books that make my boys think and dream. I appreciate you sharing. Any ideas for a 7 year old struggling reader?
The “Hey Jack” series would be great for getting him excited about reading:
“Wheelnuts” are more comic book/graphic novel style and might help keep his attention: https://h5951.myubam.com/p/5617/wheelnuts-complete-collection-5?e=315176
Another great thing that has happened recently in terms of books for boys is the publication of YA versions of some really good history books, like Boys in the Boat and Unbroken. The ‘full’ versions might be a bit too much for some boys, but this way they are exposed to great stories – and can maybe even share the experience with Dad!
I have a 17 year old boy, 15 year old girl, 12 year old boy and 6 year old boy. I have 2 x kids who love to read, 1 x kid who doesn’t like to read anything much at all and a 6 year old – not sure about him yet!! My kids really enjoyed “The Elijah Project” series by Bill Meyers (even the not-so-enthusiastic reader). Also, Frank Peretti “The Cooper Kids Adventure Series” is quite good. Narnia and Left Behind series also kept their interest. The “Storey Treehouse books” by Andy Griffiths were enjoyed by the 12 year old but some of his other books are a little questionable. :-0
I do find it difficult to keep the books up to the 2 readers in my family. I have found some good books at the local library and also their school library but I loved that you made some good suggestions. Keep them coming! 🙂
I have 3 boys and always read to them when they were little. My youngest is 13 and we still read together off and on. He is usually choosing something digital. I usually end up reading to him as he doesn’t like to read himself, or feels that he reads too slow. (He likes listening to stories on Playaways) Your list of books is helpful to have. So many choices…..
My oldest always loved to read and even now, he will choose to read for hours at a time or he will reread one of his favorite books.
My youngest son and I just read, or, I read aloud to him, Lost on a Mountain in Maine. It is a true story. It was a short read and written from a young boy’s perspective. Very interesting story, worth reading for any boy. The whole story is amazing.
I have now had two sons leave for college, as of this Fall. I remember all the time I spent reading to them. I’ll never regret the time we spent reading together, or all the trips to the library, or all the trips to the book fairs, or the money I spent on books. It was all well worth it.
If you have any time to yourself…..one of the best books for parents is Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook. It is the book that shaped me into the reading momma I became.
Happy Reading to you and everyone following your blog!
There’s a great graphic novel version of the lost in Maine story now: Lost Trail, Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness. (https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Trail-Nine-Alone-Wilderness/dp/0892729457) My boys re-read it regularly!
Thank you so much for this list! My 3 kids are avid readers and I am running out of good books for them to read! I am always thankful to find a list like this; thank you!
I 100% agree with Sonlight list for boys! We read Sonlight for years and our boys are still readers!! My second son is reading Go Set a Watchman- he wanted to form his own opinion about it!!
Of course it helps that I am a high school English teacher at their Christian classical school😏
Thanks Monica- I love your posts because we are on similar paths but you are a few years ahead of me 🙂 I also home school my 4 boys who are 12, 10, 8 and 2! Of course the Chronicles of Narnia series is great. If your kids like allegories, a less known series is Chuck Blackwell’s Knights of Arrethtrae books. The setting is midevilish and each book covers a vice and virtue and even has optional questions at the end of the chapters.The series does an amazing job of playing out the challenges and focus of the Christian walk. Another great book of the year is Anne of Green Gables. Of course my son didn’t choose it, it just happened to be the 1st book of the year for his coop literature class
Thank you Karen. Yes– we are on a similar path! 🙂
Love your book mentions. Chronicles of Narnia have been a favorite here too. I’ll look into your other mention! Sounds great! Aloha-
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Oh reading… it’s almost all we do as a family. People are amazed at how much we read. My kids and I always have a bag full of books and a B&N Nook (or 2) with us at all times. We will plop down anywhere and pull out a book..lol
My son (14) reads while walking with me through the grocery store, or just walking down the street. He never puts the book down. My daughter tries to copy him. Both my babies read in the car, no matter how short the drive. I read the Bible to them and we have discussions afterwards as a family. When my son was little I read to him some Children’s classics, and now I get to read them to my daughter. Its her favorite time of the day. We read Winnie the Pooh, Narnia series, Charlotte’s Web, and for her we are going to add Pollyanna.
My son and I read mostly fantasy. I used to read the classics but now I find myself always looking for a new story or a fun retelling.
My son is crazy over Greek and Roman myth. We are a family that enjoys martial arts movies and have lots of weapons, so it was normal when one day my son at 6yrs clung to a history book on Ancient Roman weapons. That eventually lead him to Percy Jackson. This series really led him into his love for reading. He read those books till they fell apart. I had to buy him the series 2xs, and by the look of his newest set, I may have to find them in hard cover. He still reads them at least 3xs a year. He used to love the Wimpy Kid books, but grew out of them quickly. He also enjoys the books for his classes. This year his class is reading the classics I used to read. Its exciting to see how he feels about them. Hemingway, Shakespeare, Greek Tragedy, Brit Lit, were all my go to reads… I love that he is getting introduced to them! His math teacher also started lending him his private collection of scifi and fantasy books. It is opening him up to new adventures.
My baby is 7yrs and struggles with reading, but tries very hard b/c she wants to read with her family. It is amazing to watch her struggle and not give up. She is determined to be a reader like the rest of her family. She is actually more sporty and social than my son and I. But reading is for everyone. I never had to think about beginning reader books before, she just has my son’s old Dr. Seuss, Berenstain Bears, and disney movie adapt books. We also have a few classics like Where the Wild Thing Are…
And a learn to read Bible, but I could really use some tips or book suggestions for her. She knows her sounds and phonics, but mixes them up or maybe its confidence that jumbles her sounds…idk.
Thank you! This post is very timely. My 9 year old has a little too much time on his hands at school and I’ve been trying hard to think of some good books to challenge him. He just finished White Fang and is now reading Redwall. We are also reading Anne of Green Gables out loud. I’m delighted at how much my boys are enjoying it.
What a great post!! I bookmarked this (pardon the pun) because i plan to refer back to it many times in the near- and not-so-near-future. The Screwtape Letters, the Great Gatsby, the Phantom Tollbooth (have you seen the movie from the ’60’s?) and James Herriot are the ones that caught my eye as awesome books and authors! But there’s many more on your list that I’m not familiar with and look fantastic. Have any of your kids tried “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle? That was a favorite of mine that your older boys might enjoy. Part of Tommy’s required homework in 2nd grade is to read 20 minutes a day, and we’re finding that the more he reads, the more he realizes how much he likes to read, and the more he wants to read! It’s a nice cycle. And luckily there are lots of choices out there, more so these days than when i was a kid, I feel. He’s read all the Magic Tree House books and enjoyed them, and currently we are in a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” phase. I’m going to try to steer him more towards the classics eventually, but, in these early reading years, i’m just happy that he is reading books he enjoys and that keep him coming back for more. Great post, thanks for all the recommendations, Monica!
Thank you for these lists. Although my children are grown ans gone, I have grandchildren that love to be read to, and 3 that are starting to read for themselves. I loved seeing the classics that were my favorites and tp be introduced to new books that I will be pleased to introduce to Willow, Wilder, and Chapel.
Both of my boys love to read! When not glued to screens…ha ha. Mostly fantasy. It is hard for me to hook them in to the classics though. My eldest (14) had to read (for assigned summer reading) “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” by Ishmael Bea. I think this book allowed for his genre box to expand…..he enjoyed it.