What is so special about a bedtime story? In this latest blog, our Education Lead, Julie Taylor discusses why reading to a child at bedtime can help children through those early years of primary school, fostering not only the joy of reading but building those essential early literacy skills.
“The routine of reading at bedtime offers a slow wind-down at the end of a busy day. It creates a reading environment that allows both adult and child those precious moments to get cosy and slip into the magical world of books. Shared reading is not only fun, it is also a wholly worthwhile activity reaping great reward as a child travels through those formative years. An investment of a few minutes a day has the power to create a lifelong love of books and reading.
Reading aloud to children is the first key stage in their journey to becoming independent readers.
For children, listening to simple stories with patterns and rhymes prepares them for the words that they eventually meet in print, and for the music of language. These simple stories help develop a knowledge of how texts are constructed so that they can begin to invent and build their own stories as they grow. Reading aloud to children is the first key stage in their journey to becoming independent readers.
Discovering the joy of books at an early age has numerous benefits that parents may not have considered. Sharing a bedtime book is undoubtedly a bonding time but it is also building those firm foundations of literacy. Not only do books stimulate and empower a child’s imagination, they also improve language and listening skills, facilitating important conversations that develop vocabulary, thinking skills and encourage children to offer their opinion. They learn to question, to predict, to hypothesise, to explain and describe: all language skills they will use across the curriculum as they grow.
Reading a bedtime story to a child offers comfort and reassurance. It is relaxing and soothing, providing the security that a young child needs in a nurturing and safe environment. An adult’s time and attention that a bedtime story demands is a priceless gift to a young child, providing that calming rhythm and pace that a child needs at the end of the day. Delivering that bedtime story tells our children that they matter. It is not only our time and energy that is so precious to them but their immersion into books which plays such a great part in the development of their literacy skills.
Research suggests that just twenty minutes of reading to your child each day contributes to an improved performance in school.
Even for those parents and carers who have their own challenges with reading, perhaps dyslexia or English is not their first language, there are still so many opportunities on the page. Discuss the pictures in your home language, tell the story using your own words, discuss with your child. A bedtime story is so much more than reading a story, it’s an activity that everyone can share and enjoy.
Research suggests that just twenty minutes of reading to your child each day contributes to an improved performance in school. As children hear the words and comprehend the stories and illustrations, vital connections in the brain are made. When stimulated these connections form the basis of their future learning and intellectual engagement. Regular reading will also help to improve a child’s ability to sustain longer periods of concentration, improve their sleeping patterns and develop greater self-esteem. Books provide an understanding of the world, develop empathy and activate a child’s imagination, propelling them through those early years of primary school, fostering not only the joy of reading but building those essential early literacy skills.”