It’s a time of transitions for many families. The summer is over and school is starting. Maybe you miss the unstructured time of summer. Maybe you are thrilled to have some structure back in your life. Whatever the case, this transition time can be a great time to bring bedtime stories back into your life.
Benefits for young children are well documented. Pre-readers are gaining literacy skills every time you read with them. They are building their vocabularies, listening skills, and attention spans. They are developing an understanding of the building blocks of language – letters and sounds that create words, sentences, and stories. Above and beyond the academics, young children are building a bond with you as you read together before bed.
Similar benefits hold true for school aged children. Even when kids can and do read on their own, sharing bedtime stories can still build reading skills. As you read aloud longer and more advanced books, you are modeling the way kids need to read. When you read with expression, they will also read with expression. When you explain new words in the story, they will learn to use context to understand unfamiliar words. It won’t even feel like you’re working towards those standards that you see on the report cards. You are enjoying time together, relaxing after a hectic day, and keeping the door open for a close relationship.
So, what should you read? Whatever you both enjoy. Whatever makes you smile together. Whatever adventure makes you feel closer because you shared it. Just read together, and enjoy the journey.