RAR #01: Reading Aloud to Older Kids, a Conversation with Andrew Pudewa

Welcome to the first episode of the Read-Aloud Revival Podcast!

Today I’m sharing my conversation with Andrew Pudewa from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. We talk about why reading aloud to kids who are old enough to read to themselves is so critically important, and Andrew tackles some of your questions.

Ways to Listen to the Read-Aloud Revival Podcast

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    1. Listen right here on the blog. Click through to the site and click the little play button beneath the image in this post.
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Episode 1 Show Notes:

Links to everything Andrew and I talked about during today’s show:

Many thanks to both Olivia and Hans for recommending books in this episode’s edition of Let the Kids Speak! The books they recommended are:

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  1. says

    Yeah!!! I love to hear your wonderful voice and what an incredible job you did asking questions and responding to the interview! With no intention of being controversial, I must give our elementary school a quick complement. As two people who work and have worked in the field of education, we feel it is our job first and foremost to educate our children. We have intentionally chosen to send our girls (ages 8 and 10) to our local public school to supplement their education. Both classrooms (2nd and 5th grade) put reading aloud as a priority. The 5th graders have even started a ‘book club’ program where they get into small groups, read aloud together and create discussions around what they have read. Our school has an accelerated reading program in which each child is personally assessed and then given access to a computer program allowing them to respond and check comprehension of the books they read exactly where they are at instead of all being tested on “i see Sam” (ex; my 2nd grader is reading and being assessed on a 4th grade level where one of her classmates is still in the 1st grade level – they are both met exactly where they are at). Part of their homework for class is to read each night – and reading aloud is encouraged and counts as a part of that!! All that to say, there are great opportunities for our growing kiddos to expand their minds and vocabularies and reading all around! We loooove to read aloud together as a family and thanks to this podcast, I sent my 10 year old to her book shelf, as soon as I was done listening, to pick our next book together. I loved when he talked about letting the books/stories “seep” in. Such a beautiful image. I am so excited for the many episodes to come! Keep up the good work encouraging and inspiring us as families to put the hearts and minds and brains of our little ones first for as long as we have them in our nests! You are starting not only a revival but a reading revolution!!! YEAH PODCAST!

  2. Shauna says

    Loved this! Looking forward to the next podcast. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it with us

  3. Elizabeth says

    Great first podcast, Sarah! You are a pro and such a natural at asking questions and carrying on the discussion. It was a joy to listen to. And I just love Andrew. :) I have decided after listening to this that I need to make reading aloud during the school day imperative for my 2, 6, and 7 y/o’s. That time has been pushed aside for my bigger kids’ schooling and that just will. not. do. So I’m glad I listened to this tonight! Tomorrow I’ll be armed and ready with a stack of picture books!!

  4. says


    I’ve been away for a few months and I come back to your blog and am totally blown away at the changes! I just spent the past hour listening to your very first podcast while searching for books to add to my 12 year old’s book basket. I LOVED the show! You’re a natural at this podcasting and Mr. Pudewa was such an awesome guest to have on…I had to laugh when he said it was taking him a long time to read How To Read A Book Slowly. :-). It was good to hear his thoughts in an interview format after listening to his “Nurture” talk. I think my favorite part of the show was getting the questions from other moms answered. I thought the questions were excellent and his answers very insightful and encouraging; especially the one about the older son not reading yet. I thought the children’s thoughts were precious!!

    I tried to give you a 5 star rating on itunes but when I plugged in the title of the podcast nothing came up. :-/.

    As I was listening to the podcast and browsing for books online, I was wondering if you knew of a website that reviewed children’s books from a christian perspective? There are so many titles that I pass over because I just don’t have time to read them to see if they’re good, safe reads and then I come to find out that you, or Mr. Pudewa have read them. Lemony Snicket is one that comes to mind.

    I cannot wait for the next podcast when you discuss how to talk to kids about the books we read. This is something I REALLY struggle with myself and have recently decided to tackle head on by reading Deconstructing Penguins and analyzing picture books with my husband and 12 year old.

    God Bless You in your new move and adventures into podcast land!

  5. says

    Loved listening to this and can’t wait for the next! It’s preaching to the choir with read aloud love (but this choir can never get too much encouragement, practical advise, or too many book recommendations!). Thank you for your work, it’s a blessing to my family!

  6. Natalie says

    I thoroughly enjoyed this, thank you. I have consistently read chapter books to my boys since the oldest was about four years old. It takes us a long time to get through some books, but we have enjoyed many fun books together. One series that I liked (though Charlotte Mason would probably not approve) is the Great Illustrated Classics series. It helped us get through some whoppers (Moby Dick, for one) that I have never read and probably would not get to for years and years.

    I especially liked the part of your podcast at the beginning where you talked about the importance of reading aloud to developing better writing skills.

    Great job with your first podcast, Sarah, I loved it!!!

  7. says

    Sarah, this was awesome!
    Thank you so much to both you and Andrew. I enjoyed this SO very much. It was so nice to hear your voice too :-) It was nice to hear such great validation about reading aloud, especially to older kids. We are still reading up a storm and loving it here.
    Great job and thanks for all of your hard work! Cannot wait til the next one!
    thank you…thank you…thank you :-)
    Ann-Marie recently posted…Happy Spring and Hello Again!My Profile

  8. says

    Excellent fun! I’m so glad audio books “count” for read-aloud. We find ourselves in the car a few hours a week running to/from lessons, etc and we always have an audio book going. I figure if I can’t be home reading to the kids on my own, I’ll let others do the reading for me. I count the drive time as part of our “school” day this way :)
    Dani recently posted…Chesterton on whiteMy Profile

  9. LuAnn Simons says

    Hi Sarah,

    I enjoyed the podcast very much. I especially like learning practical tidbits like Andrew’s idea to have an older child read aloud to a younger child each day for 15 minutes. Thank you for the episode links, which makes it so easy to find the resources you refer to. The referenced articles supplemented the podcast nicely.

    Thank you!

  10. Julie says

    Great job! I’ve been looking forward to the podcast and was not disappointed. Can’t wait for the next!

  11. Elizabeth W says

    Can’t seem to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, either? Would love to give you a 5 star rating…

  12. Jennifer says

    Love this! People always look at me like I have four heads when I tell them our homeschool days vary widely in content but ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS (even if nothing else gets done) begins with at LEAST two hours reading aloud to my kids. Yes, even my 17- and 14-year old boys spend those first couple hours listening. And yes, it was Andrew Pudewa who got me hooked on doing it.

    Strangely enough, my first chance to hear him speak was at a conference I’d gone to hoping to get lots of info to get me started on a strict classical regimen (straight Well-Trained Mind, essentially), and within one lecture from that featured speaker, I realized I couldn’t ever go that direction. So I wandered into Andrew’s lecture on Teaching Boys and Other Children Who’d rather Build Forts All Day (by God’s grace, I firmly believe!) and for the next two days I followed him from session to session like a starving puppy. I came home from that conference almost 10 years ago and have been reading aloud to my kids ever since. (And now I have twice as many!). We’ve been seeing some amazing fruits from this over the past 10 years, and I cannot stop sharing with everyone I meet how firmly I believe in reading aloud to our kids, in huge quantities, and why. I recently got text messages from three different friends in one day. They’d all gone to the local homeschooling convention (separately) and each text essentially boiled down to “Just heard Andrew Pudewa speak and now I realize why you’re so serious about reading out loud. What book do you recommend starting with?” :D

    I’m sharing your podcast far and wide!

  13. Elizabeth says

    Jennifer, I’d love to hear more about how you manage to get 2 hours of read aloud time in your mornings. Of course, when I think about it I often do 10 minutes of faith read alouds, 30-45 minutes of picture books with my boys and 45 minutes of reading aloud to my 11 yr old. Do you read to them while they eat their breakfast? Do you read from different types of books in that 2 hours? I’m very interested to know how other moms are pulling it off.

  14. Alison says

    Loved the podcast! It was very well done and the content was excellent. Andrew is excellent!
    I used to read aloud all the time (even to the frustration of my dh when the children would stay up well past their bed time because we just couldn’t stop, lol). Two pregnancies ago, I was just too tired to read aloud :( . Thanks to this discussion and the Morning Time posts we are starting off our mornings with read aloud again, & I am very excited for my younger ones to reap the benefits their older siblings did. For the older ones we will do read aloud after lunch I think.
    Loved it all, thanks so much for the encouragement!!

  15. says

    I so enjoyed my introduction to Andrew Pudewa’s ideas when I got to hear him speak a few years ago. The concepts are ones we talk about with our friends often. I’m so excited to share this podcast with my friends and family–and to have my husband listen, since he’s the one that does most of the reading aloud in our family!
    Gretchen Louise recently posted…Surprised By Motherhood {my story}My Profile

  16. Kori says

    This was a great podcast! I’m excited for the future episodes. It was very encouraging to hear the benefits of reading aloud as an integral part of homeschooling as my (very capable) 3rd grader prefers me to read his schoolwork aloud and I was beginning to be concerned that he was not working “appropriately” with the material. This will bring such positive changes into our school days as *I* become more comfortable with taking the role of “reader” rather than “teacher/administrator” as we move through our work. Thanks again!

  17. Judy Dudich says

    FABULOUS show! FABULOUS blog!
    So happy to have found you via Laura Dominick; who shared a link to your blog in her newsletter!
    Peace and blessings to you!
    Judy Dudich ~ author of “I Surrender” and former owner of Homeschool Faith & Family Life; online speaker at Ultimate Homeschool Expo.

  18. Denise says

    Thank you for this inspiring podcast! I am so excited to increase the quantity and quality of our read aloud time. Keep the awesome podcasts coming!

  19. Elizabeth says

    I enjoyed listening while I tidied up my room! I got lots of great inspiration and ideas. My favorite is to ask my older kids to read 15 minutes each day to a younger child. LOVE THAT! And I think they will too!

  20. says

    Sarah this was a fast-paced, informative, fun listen! (I also went to iTunes to rate it but will have to wait.) Hearing those little voices at the end brought back memories of Reading Rainbow and I was smitten. As a mom with three boys in Catholic school, I felt affirmed and inspired to continue the reading aloud we used do daily before bed until soccer schedules took over. Our tween boys still love it, especially when Dad reads, (and he most often does) and when I shared this podcast with him and asked him to pick it up again he was re-invigorated as well. I look forward to the next one. Well done!
    Misty recently posted…Mom’s Banana BreadMy Profile

  21. Sherrylynne says

    The whole family listened in on your 1st podcast. All my boys love listening to Andrew and we were encouraged in our read aloud lifestyle. How rare it is that we are confirmed in our homeschooling and family life. Thank you. You are a sunny and natural host! We look forward to hearing more! Congratulations on your RAR Podcast Launch! Love from Minnesota.

  22. says

    Congrats, Sarah! You are brimming with confidence and creative energy and it was a thrill to hear your voice alongside Andrew’s familiar one. This is an amazing start and I am looking forward to many more.
    tracy recently posted…My Nuns!My Profile

  23. Ellen Genova says

    I finally was able to listen to the podcast today!! It was awesome. So looking forward to future podcasts. Sarah, it is like you are an old pro!! Very professional and informative. Thank you so much for answering my question. I am like you, Sarah, pretty secure in what I am doing until I get around public schooled children and their parents and I start comparing and wavering on what I believe to be true. Drives me crazy about myself!! You would think after home schooling for 13 years, I would be a little more secure in my decisions. More proof, I am still a work in progress, I suppose. Again, thank you, Sarah, for all your hard work and encouragement.

  24. says

    Listened whilst sewing! Lovely to hear your voice! You did a great job, informative and inspiring. Looking forward to listening to the others as and when they appear.

    God Bless

    San x
    San recently posted…Here is The News…My Profile

  25. says

    Sarah, thank you for the time and effort that you put into this podcast. I have been homeschooling for 10 years and those 10 years have been full of doubts and second guessing but I have never wavered in reading aloud to my kids. Reading aloud has always been the anchor to our days. My oldest will be 15 soon and She still enjoys our read aloud times for which I am thankful for.

    The part of your podcast that touched me deeply was when Andrew talked about his son. My youngest is 11 and is nowhere near being being able to read. Many a time I have wondered if I am doing the right thing in educating her myself. Even though she doesn’t read, she lives in a literary-full world through my reading to her and audio books. Listening to Andrew’s words in regards to kids that have reading difficulties brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for calming my fears

  26. Dustin Mullenix says

    I listened to this podcast during my run this morning. I look forward to future episodes, and it will be nice when the podcast is in the iTunes store so that I’ll be confident of not missing an episode.

    You did a good job of interviewing Mr. Pudewa, adding in relevant comments and stopping him at appropriate times to ask followup questions without being intrusive. I agree with the reader who commented positively about your energy level. I learned some new things to try with our four children from what Mr. Pudewa said. He was a compelling first guest. I am excited for my wife to listen to his lecture about teaching boys, as I anticipate it helping with her stress level and significantly increasing her life expectancy. I will recommend this podcast to my sister-in-law, a mother of five. Thanks for your work!

  27. says

    Listening to the podcast now. I truly think that reading out loud to my brother and I into our teens, made up what I look back on as by far my favorite memories from homeschooling as well I believe now one of the most beneficial things my mom did for us in our own homeschool experience. I adore this podcast and whole idea of a Read Aloud Revival. Thank you for this amazing resource!

  28. says

    I loved this podcast, especially where he addressed the “boy” who may not be reading at “grade level” and how reading aloud is very important for that student. I had a question as to what the broader scope of that child’s education might look like. I don’t know if you can speak to this, or have come across resources that can. My son is in this position, and we therefore, struggle(MIGHTILY) with things like writing, reading, SPELLING, etc. He is not as independent at age 9/10 grade 4, that I would hope, and therefore there is a LOT more on my shoulders when I am doing most of his reading to him. So I guess my question is, in a broader scope, when a child struggles with comprehension and reading, does his other work reflect the slower pace?
    Chrissy recently posted…Singing a song of Gratitude.My Profile

  29. Heather says

    Sarah –

    LOVE your Read Aloud Revival! Finding the time is our biggest struggle, but we do love listening to our books. I’m a big audio fan so any books we can get on tape and play in the van, we do (Cheaper by the Dozen was a hoot, Wonder, The Hobbit). Right now we’re reading The Lord of the Rings and I actually can’t wait to snuggle in with the boys and get started tonight (Frodo is close to leaving the Shire). Having said all that, I think we need to start reading at lunch as well. Just a 15-minute break would be good for everyone, me included.

    Thanks for your time and enthusiasm!

  30. Sonia says

    Great job, Sarah! This was a delight to listen to, very informative and inspiring! You have a great voice and sound like a pro! =) Looking forward to listening to the next podcast!

  31. Melissa says

    Thank you for this podcast. I really enjoyed listening.
    It was nice to LISTEN to something complex and helpful to the homeschooling culture in my home while doing housework as opposed to having to create the time to sit and READ it.
    I’m really looking forward to the next one!

  32. Carrie says

    Well, I thought this might be fun to listen to while folding laundry after the kids were in bed… turns out I was WRONG!

    I’m definitely going to have to listen to this AGAIN so I can take NOTES! Absolutely loved this. Can’t wait for more. Thank you so much!

  33. Jill says

    Hi, great podcast! I an curious what method of teaching to read either Andrew Pudewa or Kern might recommend that doesn’t dumb down? can you direct me to articles or other talks on this or your own experience? Thanks!

  34. says

    Sarah, you’re off to a terrific start! I loved listening to this, have already told a couple friends about it, and plan to post a link on my blog. I think the section on the benefit of reading to older kids who are later learners when it comes to independent reading is particularly encouraging.
    Keep up the good work, friend!
    Hannah recently posted…Grace Will Lead Us HomeMy Profile

  35. says

    I just keep thinking… for such a time as this… God has raised you up for such a time as this! I am so blessed by what you’ve been offering here at ALT this past year, and it has been water to a desperately thirsty soul. You have continually pointed me back to the Word and my time with the Lord as the very foundation of my mothering, and for that I must say thank you.
    This podcast was incredible, and I can’t wait for my husband to hear it, too. My children have a rather large age span- 15, 12, 8, 5, and 1, and our read-aloud time, while rich and full and BOUNTIFUL in years past, had become stagnant of late. I was feeling the need and desire to just pick it back up and do it anyway when you began the read-aloud revival. Reading to my three youngest has been easy to maintain, but all five of them together? I was believing the lie that the older two (boys) would not like it anymore, and how can I expect them to find time in their busy days (springtime means lots of lawns to mow in our little (elderly) community, after school work, of course) to sit and listen to Mama read?
    Well, my husband has been out of town this week; before he left, I purposed to keep our mealtimes steady (resisting the usual temptation to make breakfast or sandwiches or snackies every night instead of a rounded supper), I also downloaded a free Kindle copy of Nesbit’s “The Story of the Treasure Seekers”. We have read a chapter every. single. suppertime this week, and my fifteen-year-old has been chuckling aloud, even more than any of my other children! I am beyond blessed by this.
    Thank you so much, Sarah, for touching our family in this way and rekindling something that used to be such a presence in our lives. I am so grateful.

  36. Penny in VT says

    Hi Sarah – first of all – happy new home! How exciting!

    I can’t wait to listen to this. My time away from the computer has been so good – but I really do miss a few things here and there – your blog (and the cute photos of your sweeties) for one!

    My brain feels rested and receptive to really thinking and digging in – unlike prior to my little break when I felt I had to absorb it all in one fell 5 minute swoop. 10 years of questioning can really wreck someone, no matter how sure they are that this path is good, and right, and true – questioning the direction of that path , aka the “method of homeschooling” wore me out but good. I’m glad I came here to see what’s what – so much good to ponder slowly – and carefully – and with joy – many thanks for all you do…

    I’m sorry to be so flakey – just know that there is a story behind the story – but the story NOW is that I am glad there are people like you inspiring me when it gets rough. Again, many thanks. xo

  37. Danna says

    I really enjoyed this broadcast! The lag between our read-aloud books was getting almost ridiculous (however, our library pile was experiencing unprecedented popularity) until I started listening the other evening. Half way through, I marched over to the bookcase and set aside _The Magician’s Nephew_. We are now just two chapters away from finishing. One thing you and Andrew forgot to mention is HOW MUCH FUN IT IS TO READ ALOUD! I love it. And the intense little body crammed into my side is proof that it’s not a one-sided feeling.

  38. Rachel Larpenteur says

    Thanks for such a fun podcast. I was listening to it just as nap time was approaching and was thinking of skipping the daily stories pre-nap. Nope, my daughters plunked down with me and a book, so we went right ahead. Looking forward to future ones!

  39. Angela says

    I would like to hear more about the Lemony Snicket series. Several of these books were passed along to my son at age 7, and after reading a couple of chapters of one, he came up to me and said, “Mom, I really don’t think this is a kids’ book.” I skimmed a bit further and I agreed. The content seemed harsh and begging for a nightmare. I chose to steer clear for the time being. What about these books is worth another look? I struggle with finding books that match his young age with his much older reading level. I’d like to keep him innocent, yet challenged.

    • says

      I’m wondering this too. I heard Andrew suggest the Lemony Snicket books a year or two ago and began reading the first to the kids, but we quickly abandoned it because my most sensitive child (you know the one!) couldn’t handle it. I’m going to re-read it myself and see if I can figure out why Andrew thinks it’s so fabulous…

  40. says

    I was surprised that recommended the Lemony Snicket series as well. I have steered clear of them from reading negative feedback from others. I saw them at the bookstore on the weekend Zi I picked one up so I could try it myself.
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  41. Rose says

    Thank you SO MUCH!!! What a joy to listen to this podcast. It was encouraging, well done and inspirational. Bless you!

  42. Melissa says

    Just finding these and LOVING them!!!! Thank you for doing these and putting the importance back onto reading aloud. It’s a lost art and a huge family bonding time.

  43. Jennifer says

    Just found this podcast, wow thank you! Abundance of great info and the links in show notes are so very helpful. Definitely gives me the encouragement to make reading aloud more of a daily priority than a luxury. The multi-tasking ideas were great and btw I listened while balancing my checkbook ;) Thoughtful questions and you have a delightful voice, what a blessing to listen to you annunciate. I subscribed on iTunes and look forward to catching up to present day!

  44. says

    I just got back from a homeschool convention and heard Andrew who was amazing and spoke about reading aloud to our kids. I immediately have started doing it as a DAILY event! I bought silly putty to keep my kids’ hands busy and they look forward to reading time even more because it’s silly putty play time! Thanks for this great message! I look forward to hearing more from your series. I added you to my bloglovin feed also. {Where are the dates to your posts? I can’t find them?}
    Mary Newman recently posted…Simple coucous chicken saladMy Profile

  45. Melissa says

    Just listened to this podcast! Loved it! I particularly appreciated the reminder to “not kill the puppy!” I have a 9 yr old I am homeschooling, and when I ask him anything about what we are reading his response is typically a shrug or “I don’t know.” If I prod, he gets annoyed very quickly and it seems to kill any enjoyment he might have had listening to me read. He struggles with reading on his own, so I love the reassurance that it is ok for me to just keep on reading out loud to him.

    You mentioned a few links you were going to put in the notes, but I am not seeing them here…where can I find those? When I tried to link to iTunes it said the address was unrecognizable, or something like that…I am assuming the links are available there, right?

    I am excited to keep listening! Thank you for providing such a wonderful resource!