26 August 2015

Reading Aloud to Teens ~ And Our Favourites Book List from 2013 to 2019

Covers 2013- 2019 inclusive and is now updated and complete.

I know of only a few parents, in real life, that still read aloud every week to their children once they are in their teen aged years.
Some read the occasional book to their highschool aged child/ren during a schooling year - many never do, but elect to have their child do any/all the reading by themselves during the higher education years.

Currently, we're a family that still read aloud to our youth (teens) - we all enjoy it;  and, amazingly enough so do the many guests (family and close friends) that come to stay with us. Yes, we keep our read aloud 'tradition' going if guests are staying more than 1 evening with us.  Off topic a bit here... many of those same visitors want to know what happened in the book after they've returned to their own homes.
We're a non-television watching home, and reading aloud in the evenings has long been part of our family lifestyle.  Family reading is not an every night happening in our home, it's buttoned off from 6 nights per week - back in the younger years - down to 3 or 4 nights a week now; however, the children and I still have family book basket, reading time, together most schooling mornings. We share in the reading there, with us each reading excerpts.  But that is a completely different topic.
With read-alouds, which also includes listening to audiobooks together, we enjoy getting to know the characters in each book together, and appreciate the lively conversations that go with each read aloud. While Dn reads, he does the lions share of it by choice - though I do manage to snaffle the occasional book away from him to read aloud - the children and I have our hands active: folding washing and then doing delight led crafts.  Anyone not reading helps to fold the washing.  With audiobooks, we usually listen to these during afternoon craft time, or as car time listens.

As our children are growing in maturity we find it very interesting, and informative, to hear them articulating their developing opinions on spiritual, moral or social issues presented in a book - or what they think about a book's characters, and their conduct, and why they think that.  Excellent opportunities for some in-depth discussions.

Some of the titles we select to read are not necessarily the pinnacle of classical heavyweight literature, nor do they contain the most convoluted storyline we could possibly find; though some books we select to read do fall into one, or both, of those categories.  And, as the children get older we are purposely electing to read aloud to them titles that contain some very gritty, sober topics - these are books we would never hand over to them to read alone, as we want to discuss the content *with* them; we often need to edit out portions, especially in books like   lol... OMG! ~ Ivester.    The other books we choose are usually ones that are enriched with character quality themes and are stories that stay with us long after the pages are closed.  Some of the other titles are for historic value, or for the laugh-out-loud factor, or merely as summertime no-brainer listens☺; but the greater portion of our reading has long been from 'living books', where the language is rich and the character lessons stay with us long after we've closed the pages.
Think of Rosalie  -  in A Peep Behind the Scenes - trusting the Good Shepherd to, "Hold me fast; don't let anyone pluck me out of Thy hand, not father, not the new mother, nor any of the people here.  Please hold me tight; I'm so afraid. I'm only a little sheep, I have no one to help me, so please hold me tighter than the rest.  Amen."
In Quo Vadis we witness Marcus Vinicius' change in character - once he accepts Christ as his personal saviour - and the manner in which he now loves his Lygia, and those that serve them both.  He is changed from an arrogant, self-centred Roman citizen to a loving, strong, godly man; as can been clearly seen in the last letter he penned to his friend Petronius,   "And so days and months pass here in calmness of heart. Our servants and slaves believe, as we do, in Christ, and that He enjoins love; hence we love one another. Frequently, when the sun has gone down, or when the moon is shining in the water, Lygia and I talk of past times, which seem a dream to us; but when I think how that dear head was near torture and death, I magnify my Lord with my whole soul, for out of those hands He alone could wrest her, save her from the arena, and return her to me forever. O Petronius, thou hast seen what endurance and comfort that religion gives in misfortune, how much patience and courage before death; so come and see how much happiness it gives in ordinary, common days of life. People thus far did not know a God whom man could love, hence they did not love one another; and from that came their misfortune, for as light comes from the sun, so does happiness come from love. Neither lawgivers nor philosophers taught this truth, and it did not exist in Greece or Rome; and when I say, not in Rome, that means the whole world. The dry and cold teaching of the Stoics, to which virtuous people rally, tempers the heart as a sword is tempered, but it makes it indifferent rather than better. Though why do I write this to thee, who hast learned more, and hast more understanding than I have?"

One of my favourite posts on character in books, & reading to children, is penned by Liz and is found over at Living Books Library:  Vision for Children, First Installment.   I keep going back to read that post, again and again.  It's beautifully crafted, and resonates so deeply with me.

I'd love to see what others who also read to their teens, including those that have youth much older than ours, have chosen to include in their read aloud selections.

ETA 2016: For anyone that is interested in being encouraged to read aloud to your children (all ages, though there is not much there for older teens, yet ;)) perhaps try listening to some of the Read-Aloud Revival   Podcasts here (listed at the bottom of amongstlovelythings blog post).
I am going to start assigning some of the podcasts to Daisy, and few to Jay, as I think having the importance of why reading aloud to children is so necessary - and especially to have it presented to teens during their 'forming opinions' years - feels like a relevant "piece" to be placing into the jigsaw of their education.

I'll share a list of only the favourite read alouds; and yes, audiobooks do count  ...
Here's our List of Favourites Read Alouds to Teens so far
(including a few audios):

Disclaimer:  Some of the titles listed contain content issues that I have noted elsewhere on our blog.  I won't repeat myself here.


Jay 13 (with Daisy 11 listening in)
A Long Way from Chicago ~ Richard Peck
The Bronze Bow ~ Speare
Cyrus the Persian ~ Sherman A. Nagel
The Elusive Pimpernel ~ Baroness Orczy (read by Karen Savage.  Recommend the other two Orczy titles Karen reads too.) 
Favorite Poems, Old and New ~ Helen Ferris 
The Girl of the Limberlost ~ Porter  
God King ~ Williamson
Hittite Warrior ~  Williamson
Just William (audio series) ~ Crompton, read by Martin Jarvis
Kite Fighters ~ Linda Sue Park
Lord Peter Wimsey (Older BBC radio dramas) ~ based on Dorothy L. Sayers
Quo Vadis ~ Sienkiewicz
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever ~ Robinson
Julius Caesar ~ Shakespeare 
Within the Palace Gates …. ~ Siviter
The KJV Bible (most of the Old Testament. audio with Alexander Scourby)

(the following titles: mostly with Jay)
Aeneid ~ Virgil (abridged, dramatised audio)
D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths
Death Comes As the End (Egypt around 2000BC) ~ Christie
FOTF The Luke Reports         (audio.  a favourite family, annual, relisten)
Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
Idylls of the King ~ Tennyson (audio)


The Thirty-nine Steps ~ John Buchan
Greenmantle ~ John Buchan, read by Peter Joyce
Mr Standfast ~ John Buchan 

2014 (this year we catered more to Daisy with read-alouds, but adding them here anyway as Jay enjoyed listening in)
Jay 14 and Daisy 12
A Boy and His Bear ~ Harriet Graham
Captain Blood ~ Sabatini
The Fellowship of the Ring ~ Tolkien     (Jay read this aloud to Daisy)
Fire, Bed & Bone ~ Branford
Little Dorrit ~ Dickens (BBC, Dramatised)
Luther: Biography of a Reformer ~ Nohl

Moonfleet ~ Faulkner
Otto of the Silver Hand ~ Howard Pyle 
The Raven in the Foregate ~ Ellis Peters  (audio, with Jay)
Royal Escape ~ Georgette Heyer

Scaramouche ~ Sabatini
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ~ unknown, read by David Rintoul  (with Jay)
The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow ~ French
Where the Flag Floats ~ Grant (NZ title)
The Year 1000 ~ Robert Lacey, read by Dereck Jacobi     (with Jay)
    During summer break we started listening to some very predictable mysteries:
BBC  Paul Temple & ...... ~ Francis Durbridge Audios  
(Paul Temple stories are old-fashioned radio dramas.  We appreciate the fact that the husband and wife team  - Paul and Steve - love each other very much, and treat each other with respect.  Their social life is very 1940s though ;) )
Carry on,  Jeeves ~ Wodehouse
   The KJV Bible:
I & II Corinthians,
I & II Thessalonians
I & II Timothy

Jay 15 and Daisy 13
Bleak House ~ Dickens
Do Hard Things ~ Harris & Harris     (Jay & I are reading through this with Daisy.  We read this with Jay when he was 12. )

David Copperfield ~ Dickens 
Don Quixote ~ Cervantes, read by Roy McMillan

The Hound of the Baskervilles ~ Doyle     (with Jay)
I am David ~ Holm 

Isaac Newton ~ Tiner 
Les Miserable ~ Hugo    abridged edition 
lol...OMG!  ~ Ivester      (sober read, secular title. Details 'physical' relationships!!)
Lorna Doone ~ R.D. Blackmore
The Man in the Brown Suit ~ Agatha Christie, read by Emilia Fox
My Escape from the Auto de Fe at Valladolid: October 1559 ~ de la Mina

Nicholas Nickleby ~Dickens  (audio)
Out of the Depths: The Autobiography of John Newton ~ Newton, read by Willam Sutherland
Out of Many Waters ~ Greene SL 7 
Passenger to Frankfurt ~ Agatha Christie, read by Emilia Fox
Pilgrim’s Progress, and, Christiana ~ Bunyan     (audio. favourites, which often get repeated)
The Return of the Ring ~ Tolkien     (audio, with Daisy)
Tartuffe ~ Moliere         (with Jay.  We were both surprised that we appreciated this title so much.) 
The Two Towers ~ Tolkien     (audio, with Daisy)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin ~ Stowe      (with Daisy)
Three Hostages ~ John Buchan     (audio, with Daisy)

    During term breaks, or while we do crafts, we choose to listen through lighter listens, or reads:
Beatrix Potter Cottage Tales (series) ~ Albert     (with Jay, see my review at the end of this post)
The Green Ember ~ S.D. Smith (audio)  (with Daisy. fun, young!, listen.  Wholesome values)
Just William's Luck ~ Crompton  ;-) 
Paul Temple series (dramatised, BBC radio)
The Powerhouse ~ John Buchan
The Book of Proverbs ~ KJV Bible

Jay 16 and Daisy 14
Pride & Prejudice ~ Jane Austen (we all think this is Austen's best work)
Sense & Sensibility ~ Austen (with Daisy)
Mansfield Park ~ Austen (audio)
The Screwtape Letters ~ C.S. Lewis (Dn with Daisy)
The Nickle-plated Beauty ~ Beatty   (easier book, lighter, enjoyable read)
The Outliers ~ Gladwell   (interesting, discussion-generating read)
The Amazing Mrs Polifax ~ Gilman
The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax ~ Gilman (audiobook with Daisy, see my review in this post)
The Hiding Place ~ Corrie ten Boom
The Hiding Place (FoTF Radio Drama)   (with Daisy)
The Reluctant Widow ~ Heyer  (with Daisy.  Contains social issues of the era an effeminate male, drinking and gambling) 
Ember Falls ~ S.D. Smith  (with Daisy.  Recommend!!  Even though this is, perhaps, intended for younger children, we still found the storyline enjoyable.  Joel Clarkson does a sterling job with the audiobook.) 
Then Sings My Soul: Bk.2 ~ Robert J. Morgan
The Importance of Being Ernest ~ Wilder (play)
Poetry selections (we share the reading)
Night ~ Elie Weisel (with Jay)
The Book of Luke ~  KJV Bible
Alas, Babylon ~ Pat Frank  ( with Jay. we edited out the sensuality and some of the cursing)

Jay 17 and Daisy 15
The Book of St. John ~ KJV Bible
The Book of Proverbs ~ KJV Bible 
The Book of Acts ~ KJV Bible 
Short Stories ~ Saki
Died in the Wool ~ Ngaio Marsh (with Jay)
Just Binnie ~ Dick King-Smith  (easier read, shorter story.  Such a lovely book! With Daisy)
…. And then there were nine ~ Phyllis Johnston
Arsenic & Lace ~ Joseph Kesselring ( while this play is presented in a comedy format, we ended up having some very sober discussions about mental health)
Fahrenheit 451 ~ Bradbury  
A Night Divided ~ Jennifer Nielsen (with Daisy)
Just as I Am ~ Billy Graham
News of the World ~ Paulette Jiles (family favourite!)
The False Prince ~ Jennifer Nielsen
Brat Farrar ~ Josephine Tey  (with Jay.  So many good discussions over "content issues' in this book)
Unbroken (YA edition) ~ Hillenbrand 
The Gammage Cup ~ Carol Kendall

2018 (This year is mostly with Daisy, but Jay likes to listen in where he can.)
Jay 18 and Daisy 16
My Family and Other Animals ~ Gerald Durrell (audio)
Jane Eyre ~ Charlotte Bronte (audio)
The Red House Mystery ~ A.A. Milne  (mostly, with Daisy)
Hidden Places ~ Lynn Austin (with Daisy - sensual, and detailed suicidal content edited but discussed!)
The Art of War ~ Sun Tzu  (with Jay)

the next books are just with Daisy
Tartuffe ~ Moliere 
The Talisman Ring ~ Georgette Heyer 
Summerhills ~ D.E. Stevenson (need to have read Amberwell first though)
To Kill a Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee
Babylon's Ark ~ Lawrence Anthony   (profanity edited out) 
Alas, Babylon ~ Pat Frank   (sensuality and some of the cursing edited out)

2019 (This year is just with Daisy)
Daisy 17
Winter and Rough Weather: Drumberley, Bk3 ~ D. E. Stevenson  (audio)  Review of all 3 books 
The Last Moriarty:  Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Bk1 ~ Charles Veley and Anna  Elliott narrated by  Edward Petherbridge    (Daisy really enjoyed this, so I'm adding it here)
Surfeit of Lampreys ~ Ngaio Marsh
Night ~ Elie Weisel
Till We Have Faces ~ C.S. Lewis
Silas Marner ~ George Eliot

We buddy read through the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd and books 
4( The Unmarked Grave)  &  
5 (A Question of Honor)  
were the ones we appreciated the most the most


reader19 said...

Such a great message! So glad you wrote this up! I couldn't agree more heartily! Sending you a pot of tea, and this morning crepes are on the stove (with apples in one pan, and blueberries in another)!

Allie said...

Love your list of read alouds. I think we'll be tackling the entire Lord of the Rings series this year. We're also going to read, "A Christmas Carol", and possibly "Treasure Island". We're going to try and focus on books that we won't necessarily do as part of their literature for school, but that are too good to miss out on. :) We're probably going to do some of them as audio books, to save my voice and to make it easier to fit them into our crazy schedule.

Chelle said...

Such fun to find comments from 2 of my book loving buddies :-D
If either of you ever do decide to compile your own favourites (highschool) read aloud list, let me know so that I can link your posts in.

@ Tracy: Thanks for the 'breakfast' and the encouragement with the reading list. (Just catching up on friends blog posts: and, praying over the sale of your home!!!!!!!!!)

@ Allie: The approach you are taking is the one we're using too! There are books we just really want to go through, too good to miss, and audio is certainly an oft embraced option here.... they count as read alouds here, just that someone else is doing it ;)

DeliveringGrace said...

Thank you. I stopped reading to my older children when they became teenagers but it would be great to continue with the younger ones. A useful list of titles too. I can't read William aloud as I laugh too much!

Chelle said...

Thanks for stopping by SarahElisabeth! I can read William aloud - though we usually get Martin Jarvis to to that via audio - it's the original Paddington Bear chapter books I can't do... too much laughing ;)

S. D. Smith said...

Thanks for mentioning my book, I'm glad you (or one of your kids) enjoyed it. :)

Chelle said...

@ S.D. Smith, thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment on my blog.
Both my daughter and I enjoyed your book, The Green Ember ... and she is hoping you are planning on a sequel.