Kids Still Need 'Bedtime' Stories Even When They're Old Enough to Read on Their Own

This Just In 4

boy readingA new study conducted by the Oxford University Press has found that less parents are reading to their kids at bedtime, particularly if the children have learned to read themselves -- somewhere around or after the age of 7.

And since other research has shown that children who read for fun are more likely to do better in school subjects such as English and math, the results of the study are disheartening. Parents can help encourage a child's love of reading by setting aside time to read to them each day.

Considering how busy most parents are, it's totally understandable that some taper off on how often they read to their kids simply because they are strapped for time, or they figure it just isn't necessary anymore if they're reading fine on their own.

My 7-year-old has been reading for quite some time, but even so, my husband and I still take turns reading him a chapter out of a book before bed each night, if for no other reason than it allows us to have a little extra quality time with him during our hectic days. We never really thought about it being something that would help him academically -- but that's an added bonus for sure!

However, we're very lucky to have schedules where at least one of us is usually home at night, which might not be the case for a lot of parents. But honestly, it probably doesn't matter what time of day you read to your child -- as long as you try and squeeze in a few minutes or so when you can.

Instead of making them do their homework as soon as they get off the school bus, why not take a short break and have them pick out a book for you to read and enjoy a little cuddle time on the couch?

Or how about the morning? Yes, I know mornings can be pretty crazy -- but how about reading to your children while they eat their breakfast? That could actually turn into a really fun routine that makes them more eager to get out of bed each morning. (One can hope.)

And if weekdays prove to be way too chaotic, you can also make it a point to chisel out special time on weekends to sit and read with your kids. One thing my son and I like to do is take turns reading pages in books -- often while we're still in our pajamas on Sunday mornings (and I'm enjoying coffee). It's actually relaxing in addition to being educational.

The bottom line is that it really doesn't matter how much you read to your kids or when you do it -- just make a point to do it. They'll thank you. (Someday.) Their teachers will thank you. And you'll be so glad that you have all of those wonderful moments to look back on when they're all grown up and leave the nest and get married and have kids of their own to read to -- "just like their mom/dad used to do with them." (Sniff, sniff.)

How do you make time for reading?


Image via Mary Fischer

books & media, education


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Felip... FelipesMom

Reading is such a huge part of my life, I couldn't imagine not having time for it. It's so much fun, and it's something I do for pleasure, that my son also never sees me trying to fit it in like some necessary chore.

The best thing you can do for your child in this arena, regardless of how many minutes or how many books you read, is to make sure your kid knows the person who benefits from reading is thre reader! Schools these send the opposire message by rewarding kids for reading - they make it clear that reading is WORK, to be done in order to get something else.

BeccaLS BeccaLS

It's funny - the second I learned to read I started hating listening to other people read.

I've always been a really fast reader (I read the first Harry Potter in 2 days when I was 7) so it really bugs me when people read out loud slowly. So instead my mom encouraged me to read chapters out loud to her while she was doing housework and stuff.

nekoy... nekoyukidoll

I"ve always been a big reader though my parents never read bedtime stories to me.  We always did the local summer reading program here growing up and I carried on reading after I grew out of it.  

helpk... helpkidsread

Storytelling has been a part of human culture for thousands of years, and I believe it's not out of our DNA, despite all changes in the way of communication in our modern age.

The experience of listening to another telling a story is different from our reading it directly. When we listen to somebody else, we somehow share in the same story, there's a sharing in those experiences, and there's a bond being created between us. Plus, when listenting in and with the effort of reading out of the way, the mind is more free to imagine those lands/events being told.

It's a different kind of experience and I don't think the need for it ever goes away.

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