In the Rice family we are passionate about family read alouds. They were started by my husband in the evening time before bed, and have become a treasured time. My daughter who is 4 just LOVES the time snuggling Daddy and listening to the stories being read to her.
We pondered about what kinds of chapter books we wanted to read aloud. We wanted books that had respectful, and exciting characters; along with life lessons, purposeful content and what is age appropriate. (Not age appropriate for her reading ability level, but her cognitive level.)
What we found: The Little House Series. Yes, the whole series, because one book takes less then a month when you are reading one chapter a night. (With some grace nights that we just can’t fit it in)
Provided below is a breakdown of the series as well as some Little House picture books for youngers, which we also enjoy!
1. The First book of the series is Little House in the Big Woods. It has adventure as in all their books, reflects on what we think of as a simpler time of life, but really they explain all the work that was put in the prepare food for winter, do chores, and their lifestyle back then. This is all told through the eyes of a young girl. Now don’t think this is just a books or girls, because my husband (every much a male) LOVED this book growing up, and my sons enjoy listening to the story read aloud as well.
2. Farmer Boy is next in the series. This is a super intriguing story of life on a farm. In fact while reading along with the kids I learned SO much about farm-life. The main character in the story, Almanzo is a connecting character later on the the Little House Series. Farmer Boy is also a recommended read aloud for the Kindergarten School year so a good book to read aloud, or when they are older to read to themselves! Farmer boy has beautiful word descriptions and brings you into another world which creates appreciation for life.
3. The Little House on the Prairie, a wonderfully sweet book. I remember watching the television show series growing up, and how invested I would get into the characters and the family. While reading the book, it brings you even more into the details of their whole. This book has the same characters as the Little House in the Big Woods. In addition, all these books provide a great conversation opportunity about our very own history.
4. On the Banks of Plum Creek is the following book. This family is on the move again in covered wagon from Kansas to Minnesota. In this interesting book there are lots of adventures and learning to be had. The family goes through hard times, and plot twist through out the novel. So far this has been one of my daughters favorite. (If you don’t feel ready to commit to reading the series of 9 books, I would highly recommend the first 4 as a wonderful addition to anyones family library).
5. By the Shores of Silver Lake is up next. In fact we are about to start this book tomorrow. The story beings in Plum Creek, Minnesota where the family is dealing with sickness, then another move takes place in which the family is headed to South Dakota. This book also deal with the death of a beloved family pet. Which is not always an easy topic to talk about and the book provides an opportunity for conversation. (Which I love about books!)
6. The Long Winter – we find the family still settled in South Dakota. During The Long Winter we see our friend from Farmer Boy, Almanzo again. During the story they experience some devastating winter months, in which the family and community need to come together to survive. We also see Almanzo and friends show bravery and selflessness on a journey to save others.
7. Little Town on the Prairie is the following in the series. The beginning of the story is all about the family pulling together to find a way to send Mary to a special school. And end the story really shows Laura’s dream of becoming a teacher, and how working hard can make that happen.
8. These Happy Golden Years – This story starts off with Laura in her new teaching job, the struggles and triumphs she faces. It is about overcoming and not giving up, as well as how to get along with difficult people. Greats lessons for us all to hear! The story shows the relationship of Almanzo and Laura. At first when I was previewing the book I was nervous about reading about “romance” to my young daughter. Then I realized the friendship, thinking of others first, and scarfiicual love that is show in this books IS something I want my daughter to know about. Will she understand it at 4? NO! But these opportunities for me to show, teach and talk about at a young age will only continue to help our conversations grow as she gets older.
9. The First Four Years, the next book up in the series and the last of the 9 book series. This book really takes about the hardship that Almanzo and Laura face in their first 4 years as married farmers. Throughout the novel, what I love is their continual handwork and their attitude that they can not give up when times are tough. It reminds me of a quote I heard: It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.
Again this series is something our family has enjoyed, it has brought about a lot of conversations to be had, which has been a great opportunity for us! If this sounds like something you want to bring into your families culture before is some helpful resources for you!
Buy them all in a set:
Buy just the first 4 and see if you like them, the first 4 would be a great commitment level for anyone to try it out and start to establish family read aloud time.
For younger then age 4, look into these Little House Books, we have the Big Woods one and all my kids LOVE this book, beautiful pictures, the same characters, and it helps them to start to picture what is being read aloud.
I hope your family enjoys them as much as we do! Truth be told we are still collecting more and will continue to! Some of the links below are affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earning a commission if you click through and make a purchase. From our family to yours: ENJOY!