When it comes to bonding with your grandchild, there is nothing quite like cuddling up together to enjoy a good book, as it provides physical and emotional closeness that you may not have had otherwise. Aside from further solidifying your relationship, reading aloud to your grandchild comes with several other benefits, making it one of the most important (albeit easiest) things you can do.
The benefits of reading aloud to your grandchild
Aside from the aforementioned (reading aloud is good as it brings you closer both physically and emotionally), there are many other benefits and perks associated with reading aloud to your grandchildren, including:
- Builds their vocabulary and promotes healthy brain development
- Offers a break from screens
- Helps regulate emotions and calms down a child if they are stressed or need to wind down before bed
- Gain a lifelong love of reading
- Can improve memory
- Improves active listening, comprehension, and empathy
- Prepares the child for academic success
- Improves imagination and creativity
- Teaches new things
When should you start reading to your grandchild
Ideally, right from the get-go, as it is never too soon to begin reading aloud and building that special bond. Didn’t start when they were a baby? No problem! Start now, even if they are 5, 10, or 25!
Books to read with your grandchild
If you are looking for books to read to your grandchild, you will quickly find that there is no shortage of great literature to go around! Here are a few of my favorites, organized by age:
The Best Read Alouds for Ages 0 to 3
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
One of the most iconic children’s books of all time, The Little Engine That Could, tells the story of an old broken down engine and its passengers: toys that are supposed to be delivered to the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain. After asking other engines to help them, a small blue engine finally agrees, resulting in one of the most iconic lines in storybook history (“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”).
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
It’s colorful, features sing-songy rhymes, and tells the sweetest story of Baby Llama and his mama. This is a short read-aloud that you will be going back to again and again. Even better? There are several sequels in the series!
Good night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Good night, Gorilla can always make the grands and me laugh out loud as it follows a zookeeper’s adventures in closing up the zoo! This picturebook has minimal words, making it even more fun for the little ones, who can easily add in their own commentary.
The Best Read Alouds for Ages 4 to 7
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
I used to read Shel Silverstein to my kids and am always eager to read his whimsical book of poetry to my grandkids. When you read it, be ready for belly laughs and touching moments that only Shel Silverstein could pen.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
The One and Only Ivan is so sweet and wholesome and can be read and enjoyed by all ages! Ivan is a silverback gorilla in a run-down shopping mall who befriends Bob the dog and Stella the elephant in a heartwarming tale of unlikely friendships. (After finishing the book, enjoy a movie night, as Disney released the One and Only Ivan in 2020.)
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Honestly, any Roald Dahl book is a winner, but Matilda was our family favorite out of all of his books. Matilda, a bright and gifted little girl, was born to uncaring parents and sent to school managed by a manic headmistress; however, her fortune soon changes when she discovers that she possesses magical powers.
The Best Read Alouds for Ages 8 to 12
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Arguably the greatest book series of all time, Little House in the Big Woods (and all of the other books in the Little House series), transports readers back to a simpler time of one-room schoolhouses, horses and carriages, and life in the mid-1800s. Whether your grandchild(ren) is a boy or a girl, they will enjoy these historical accounts from long ago.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was one of my favorite books to read when I was a girl, and it has stood the test of time (as evidenced by my grandkids’ love of the stories). Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is a sweet yet mysterious old widow who loves children and has the most unorthodox remedies for everything from kids staying up too late to not cleaning their room to talking back, picky eating, and showing off.
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
Like so many books on my list, this is a series, so if your family enjoys the first book as much as I think you will, you can continue following the Penderwicks’ adventures! In this first installment, we meet the Penderwick sisters, who experience the most magical adventures during a summer trip to a cottage in the Berkshire Mountains.
The Best Read Alouds for Ages 13+
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
If you are like me, you can’t wait until your grandkids are old enough to begin reading this utterly fantastic series by C.S. Lewis, in which Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie discover a wardrobe that transports them to a magical world with talking animals and puts them in the center of the battle of good versus evil.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Before it was a movie starring Jim Carrey and a TV show starring Neil Patrick Harris, A Series of Unfortunate Events was a book series that told the sordid tale of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire and their strange and murderous caretaker, Count Olaf.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
If you want a read-aloud that isn’t part of a series, I highly recommend Wonder. Auggie is a young man with severe physical deformities who endures much criticism and misunderstanding before making friends and changing the hearts of those around him. (From my experience, Wonder also leads to many deep and thought-provoking conversations!)
I hope this article inspires you to read a book aloud to your grandchild! I don’t know about you, but I suddenly feel like I need to take a trip to the library… Until next time!