Bedtime Reading Strategies From Birth to Independent Reading

Tips and tricks to keep bedtime reading fresh and effective.

By Allison McDonald
Oct 13, 2017



Oct 13, 2017

Editor's note: This post was originally published August 28, 2014.

I don't think I have ever met a family that wasn't busy. Once you have kids, it seems like your calendar just fills up on its own, and as they grow so does your to-do list. Sometimes it can be hard to get to everything on that list, but one thing you can't skip is reading to your kids.

The best way to make sure this happens every night is to make it part of the routine. As children age, this routine will evolve, but here are a few tips for making it fun and keeping it fresh and age-appropriate from birth to the elementary school years.

Babies & Toddlers
?     Use board books if your child can reach the book.
?    Choose melodic books like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
?    Keep reading-time short, but don't rush. It should be relaxing.
?    Once your child has some obviously favorite books, include them.
?    When your child can pick out his own book, have him make his own selections.

?    Choose books that include your child's favorite themes.
?    Read a variety of print like comic books, magazines, nonfiction, and picture books.
?    If your child is interested in early chapter books, include them in small doses. If she can't tell you what you read her, put the chapter books away and try again later. There is no rush!
?    If she wants to read the same book over and over, go for it. Have her pick out a book or two and add variety with your own selection to balance old and new.
?    After reading, turn off the light and tell stories. Storytelling is an important literacy skill too!

Elementary School
?    Read as a team. Have your child read one section and you read the next, taking turns. As he develops his reading skills, make these selections longer and longer.
?    Don't abandon picture books. Picture books support new readers and will help even proficient readers continue to develop strong reading strategies.
?    Try reading a series to keep things fresh.
?    Let your child stay up "late" reading as a treat. On nights we do this, I start the bedtime routine early so that my son thinks he is getting to stay up way past his bedtime reading without really sacrificing any sleep.

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Bedtime, Sleep, Dreams
Bedtime, Sleep, Dreams