Book at bedtime is a crucial part of any child’s day – and can bring huge benefits. Here are some tips to help ensure your little ones both have fun and get the best send-off possible.
1. Read aloud to them
Even when children can read by themselves, your playing the storyteller still brings great benefits. For one thing, kids love it when you read to them. But more importantly, their reading skills won’t catch up to their listening skills until around eighth grade. So they literally get more out of being read to.
2. Take turns reading
Children really enjoy this special time of the day, so you want to ensure they get the most out of it. By taking turns reading (for example, by each taking on the roles of different characters, or reading alternate pages), you’ll be providing a comfortable space where they can practice and improve their reading skills.
3. Ask lots of questions
Bedtime is an ideal time to indulge your child’s natural inquisitiveness. As you read, ask questions such as Who is your favorite character? and What do you think happens next? And of course, encourage them to ask questions as well.
4. Bring out the classics
There’s a reason all those old fairy tales and adventure stories are still around. Old favorites such as The Little Prince and Where The Wild Things Are are simply great stories, written so well that they skirt over the fashions and preferences of any given era. If you loved these books as a child, there’s a good chance your children will too.
5. Gently challenge them
Your child is cozied up beside you, happily sharing some reading time. What better opportunity will you have to gently introduce their first chapter book, or to get them to predict the end of a story? With you on hand to help along and keep things fun, they will pick up new skills without even realizing it.
6. Read books again (and again)
If your child wants to hear the same story for the tenth time, go for it! This is good news, because your little one is clearly falling in love with books. And after so many readings, you can start to play around with things – adding details, changing the voices – which will delight them.
7. Try school books
If your child brings a book home from school, suggest reading it together at bedtime. You’ll be able to help with any words or paragraphs they find difficult. And most importantly, your child will start to associate that school text with having a good time.
8. Make up stories
Especially for younger children, sometimes the best stories in the world are the ones you simply make up. Use the day you’ve just shared together as a starting point, then start to add all kinds of wonderful, magical details. Pretty soon, your child will be adding extra bits of their own. And hopefully, in time, they will become little storytellers too.
Book Trust is dedicated to ensuring kids from low-income areas are able to choose and buy their own books. Every child deserves an opportunity to fall in love with reading – and we make that happen.