6 Read Alouds for 8 and 10 year old Boys

I love our read aloud time. It is such a great time to expand vocabulary and share a common laugh.  When movies are available we frequently compare and contrast and discuss why movie makers might make the changes they do.  Here are a few of the books we’ve enjoyed so far this year.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
A delightful story of a family’s adventure caring for eight penguins.  It is a wonderfully comedic story with rich vocabulary.  My boys were shaking their heads at the outlandish choices made by the characters and laughing uproariously at the antics of the penguins.  Originally published in 1938, some of the language and situations provide an opportunity for children to think about how things have changed in 75 years.  Both the book and the movie feature penguins and a man named Mr. Popper – that is about all they have in common.

The Phantom Tollbooth– Well worth the read and great as a read aloud for the discussion value.  The book is full of puns and idioms that might not be caught by a child reading alone.

The Elephant Scientist (Scientists in the Field Series)– This book is a higher reading level than many others in the “Scientist in the Field” series; however, it is just as informative and inspiring.  As with the other books in the series, we learned about new research and the scientists conducting the research.  This particular book does a nice job explaining how researchers need to work with locals when animals, like elephants, are destroying crops.  Better understanding of the elephants leads to better ways for people and animals to live together.

How to Train Your Dragon Series –  We love this series for it’s adventure and humor.  My boys have issues with the fonts and I don’t mind occasionally changing some of the character names, so it works well as a read aloud for us.   We’re currently on book 10.  Back in the early days of reading this series, we also checked out some non-fiction books about vikings to learn more about their lives and customs.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Certainly different from the movie, especially the ending.  It was written in the early 1900s so the vocabulary is at times unfamiliar to young readers.

The Sign of the Beaver  – This book, set in 1768,  is about a 13 year old boy, left alone to take care of the family’s new cabin while his dad travels back to fetch the rest of the family.   It does a nice job of touching on the conflicts between the indigenous people and the settlers; while showing the humanity and perspective of both sides.


On the Bookshelf – Fun Read Alouds

I don’t know how it is at other houses, but my boys are much more willing to tackle challenging reading material when it is non-fiction. I think we might be the odd house here.  I was probably the opposite as a kid, I enjoyed getting lost in a novel.  Most of the non-fiction books I read were biographies.  My boys like to read non-fiction books about animals, history, and inventions and share facts with each other.  They do however really enjoy fiction as read alouds.

Mr. Popper’s PenguinsI actually read this to E a couple of years ago and he insisted we read it again this year so his brother could enjoy it.  The book is from the 40’s and bears little resemblance to the Jim Carey movie.  It is delightfully silly and ridiculous.


How to Train Your Dragon series   This fall we’ve read 5, 6, and 7 from the series.  I just bought books 8 and 9.  The books tell the tales of Hiccup the Horrendous Haddock the 3rd as a young teenager in the land and time of Barbaric Vikings.  The storyline is slightly different from the movie or cartoon series.  The tales are completely engaging and at times absolutely side-splitting hilarious.  The boys always beg for another chapter.   I do a slight bit of editing of some names, so doing these as read alouds is great.

The Phantom Tollbooth  I was really glad we read this out loud, because I think the boys would have missed some of the humor on their own.  It was delightfully clever and witty.  It’s been a month since we read this and they are still occasionally pondering situations from the book.


Rabbit HillThis book tells the story of a community of animals facing hard times after people move away and the garden is left barren.  Hope spring anew when new owners buy the home.  The story is kind and gentle and uplifting.  My boys love animals and this book really appealed to them.  Rabbit Hill was the winner of the 1945 Newberry Medal.


What books do you enjoy reading aloud?  Do your kids read more fiction or non-fiction?