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The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids Paperback – March 27, 2018
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About the Author
Sarah Mackenzie is an author, speaker, and podcast host. She created the Read-Aloud Revival podcast in 2014. That fateful decision resulted in a highly rated show with millions of downloads. Sarah helps families all over the world fall in love with books. She lives in the Northwest with her husband, Andrew. She homeschools their six kids and considers it her high calling to make sure they are well-stocked in the best books she can find.
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I have book darts all through this book, because as the subtitle states I want to be “making meaningful and lasting connections with [my] kids”. I will keep the rest of this review brief, because the book darts are mostly just reminders for me. For example the reminder of the importance of reading aloud at ALL ages, EVEN when our days are busy. I need to actually “steal” time from other areas to make it a priority in my family. I want to build memories and connections with my children through stories now, even if it’s only ten minutes each day. During these times, I want the kids to be inspired by heroes, walk in other’s shoes and have compassion, and learn to think. Also, I simply want them to love stories and dive into books themselves for the rest of their lives! Those are just a few of the reminders I needed from The Read-Aloud Family.
**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Read-Aloud Revival in exchange for a fair and honest review.
***Additional disclosure... I bought a copy too!! :)
The Read-Aloud Family is broken up into three parts. Part 1 goes through all the pertinent research about the benefits of reading aloud to our children. For all of the times when I wonder if what I'm doing is actually worth anything, I will remember the information gleaned here. The biggest takeaway for me is that reading aloud is the BEST use of my time with my kids. From making ourselves present for our kids in a highly distracted culture, to inspiring virtue and compassion in them (and us!), to encouraging our kids academically, reading aloud does it all.
Part 2 is all about practical application. Sarah describes what she calls a "Book Club Culture" at home. She provides us with the right questions to ask about books to encourage deep thought and great conversation. We don't have to be experts on literary analysis to have a good conversation about books. We just have to be able to ask compelling questions. An really valuable part of this book is the chapter on how to pick books for your family, and what makes a good book.
Part 3 is the book list. Sarah breaks her book list into four age groups, 0-3, 4-7, 8-12, and the teen years. One of the things I appreciate about this list is that many of the books and authors are newer. Booklists for older books abound (see John Senior's 1000 Good Books), but navigating the world of new books can be tough for busy parents. I don't have time to read everything before my kids get to it, so this list is valuable. I trust Sarah's opinion and through being a "Sarah MacKenzie Groupie" I have found many gems that have become family favorites. Of course Sarah does not discount classic literature, and encourages families to read it in this book. But because lists for newer literature are not as easy to find (and if you do find one, can you be sure it's a good one?) the list in The Read-Aloud Family belongs in every home.
I am a bit of a book nerd, so when my husband asked what I was so intent on reading recently, he laughed when I told him I was reading a book about reading books. But Sarah's book is so much more than just a book on reading books. Sarah's book is about building up the family culture while providing an avenue to have wonderful conversations with our children and deepening family bonds. I highly recommend The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids.
*I was given an Advanced Reading copy of this book to review, but the opinions are all mine.
This book by Sarah Mackenzie has a place on our bookshelves for the life of my family. I will be buying copies for friends. For me personally, its the inspiration I need during those seasons of life when reading a loud can be a challenge because of busy schedules. But its also the go to book for finding another book for my 9 year old to pick up this spring. And I can grab it in a pinch when I need a suggestion on what to do with my littles while I read a loud to my older children. Its is all of these and much more. Heck, its worth it just for her book lists near the back of the book. Its a great reference whether you are starting out with a family, or in the daily grind of a large family. Whether you homeschool (yeah we did for 5 years) or whether your kids go to regular school (we are in private school now), it doesn't matter. All families need