Winter Read-Alouds for the Whole Family

The holiday season is in full swing, and with this exciting time of year comes plenty of opportunities for quality time with the family! In my mind, there’s no better way to spend these cozy days than sharing a book with a loved one.

A young girl surrounded by stuffed animals falls asleep in bed while her father sits beside her and reads a storybook aloud.

Coming from a family of voracious readers, some of my fondest memories of this time of year involve good books: snuggling with my sister in the back seat as we listened to “A Christmas Carol” on the drive to Grandma’s house, gathering around my grandpa’s easy chair on Christmas Eve to listen to the nativity story, my dad drifting off in the middle of a sentence while reading “Little House on the Prairie” to me. Even as an adult, these memories stick with me, and I hope to share my favorite childhood reads with my own family one day.

Long car rides, snowed-in days at home or the nightly bedtime routine are all ideal occasions for story time! The challenge often comes in trying to find an appropriate book that everyone, from toddlers to grandparents, will find enjoyable and engaging. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the perfect read-aloud book:

  • Explore new genres and topics.

    Historical fiction, fantasy, adventure or folklore-inspired stories will captivate a wide range of listeners. Select a book from the past and ask grandparents to share family histories and memories of their own or pick a fast-paced adventure tale to get big kids in on the fun!

  • Don’t be afraid of the classics (or new favorites!).

    Think back to the books you enjoyed growing up. Maybe a grandparent read you their own favorite which you can now pass along to the next generation, or perhaps a teacher shared a book that first sparked your love of the written word. These tried-and-true classics can help today’s kids grow their vocabulary and learn about the past in an intriguing and organic way. Alternatively, there are so many new books offering more diverse, representative perspectives just waiting to be discovered!

  • Give kids a say.

    We all have strong, emotional ties to our own childhood favorites, and it can be tempting to focus only on these books. While the desire to share cherished stories comes from a good place, it can sting when the kids in your life don’t seem to love them as much as you do — or even worse, when they express disgust at the prospect of reading an “old” book! Avoid starting off story time with hard feelings by involving your listeners in the book selection process. Present two or three options and talk through the decision together. Remember that tastes grow and change, and you can always revisit a passed-over book at a later date.

  • Ask a librarian for recommendations!

    The youth services staff at your local library are always more than happy to share our knowledge and opinions on the subject! Whether you need help locating the latest bestsellers and award-winners or are looking for a more tailored recommendation, we’ve got your back. To that end…

Check out the “Winter Read-Alouds for the Whole Family” list for 16 cozy chapter books to share this holiday season!