The subtitle of The Read-Aloud Family is “Making meaningful and lasting connections with your kids.” Who doesn’t want that?! I have nothing against extracurricular activities. I grew up playing three different sports and loved every minute of each one! The issue comes when parents think the activities, in and of themselves, are what create a meaningful childhood.
Sarah Mackenzie’s book is a great reminder that what our kids really want is time with their parents. Even if you’re an avid reader you may find it challenging to find time to read with your kids. Or like me, once they can read on their own you may not think it’s important to continue reading together.
Sarah lays out a great case for being a “Read-Aloud Family,” including a whole slew of book recommendations. She also opens the eyes of her readers to the validity of audiobooks (something we’ve been listening to a LOT since reading her book).
The Read-Aloud Family: Sarah Mackenzie
The Read-Aloud Family Summary
“It’s hard to connect with our kids in today’s busy, noisy world. Reading aloud gives us a chance to be fully present and to connect with our kids in a meaningful way.
In this book, you’ll discover how reading aloud prepares your kids for success (even after they can read to themselves), the simplest way to find time to read aloud (even in the midst of school, sports, and dinner dishes), book lists that help you choose the best read-alouds for your kids (no matter their age), and more.
Because reading aloud not only has the power to change your family—it has the power to change the world.“
The Read-Aloud Family Quotes
The 1985 Commission on Reading declared, “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” (p. 20)
Reading aloud, as simple and quiet and insignificant as it may seem, is a way for us to pause, enjoy, and delight in these kids, in this day. (p. 43-44)
If a child has read widely, he’ll have seen more than he ever would have living in a suburban American town, exploring the streets of a big city, or picking his way through a country field. He’ll have lived through all of that, and more. (p. 47)
It is said that a person who reads lives a thousand lives, but a person who never reads lives only one. What better opportunity can we give our children than to live a thousand lives before they leave home? What better way to prepare them for anything they may encounter than to let them slay a thousand dragons, die a thousand deaths, live as a thousand heroes? (p. 56)
Raising our children isn’t just about getting them ready for adulthood. It isn’t just about preparation for a career. It’s about transforming and shaping their hearts and minds. It’s about nourishing their souls, building relationships, and forging connections. It’s about nurturing within them care and compassion for whomever they encounter… Stories, it turns out, are incredible empathy builders. (p. 77)
Parents who read aloud with teens often describe it as a magical experience. You’ll likely find yourself enjoying the books you read to this age group every bit as much as your kids enjoy them. You’ll also find that connecting with your teens on days that are otherwise fraught with challenges is a lot easier when you’ve got a book to read together. (p. 235)
The Read-Aloud Family Review
I really love this book and all the resources at readaloudrevival.com! I homeschool our kids, so I’ve spent a lot of time reading to them and teaching them to read on their own. They’ve always had quiet time – time to spend alone in their rooms reading. At some point the need for me to read to them became outweighed by their ability to read on their own, so reading together became less and less of a priority.
After reading The Read-Aloud Family, I realized how much bonding time I was missing out on, so we hopped back on the read-aloud train. We regularly read physical books, devotionals, and audiobooks together, and the kids love it!
Truthfully, there are periods of time where we do this well and periods of time where we don’t. But reading good books, both alone and together, is very important in our house.
The thing to remember is that all books are not created equal…
We make frequent trips to the library, and for a while, I would let the kids pick out whatever they wanted to read. On one trip we brought home multiple books that were full of inappropriate material. They were well within their age range but promoted behavior that was just not ok for me. At that point, I realized I needed some help.
Sarah Mackenzie has tons of book reviews, separated by age, on her site. Before heading to the library I have the kids check her book recommendations and pick out something that looks good. We’ve chosen dozen of her recommendations, and the kids have loved every single one.
If you want to build meaningful and lasting connections with your kids and raise them to be empathetic, courageous, and godly adults I would highly recommend you pick up The Read-Aloud Family.
Because there’s a better way,
If you’d like to check out this book on Amazon, click here: The Read-Aloud Family
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