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Bedtime stories promote exceptional reading skills and love of literature


Do you have a fond memory of reading stories with a parent? If so, you're not alone  – many children and adults alike love spending this quality time together. Bonding with a child over a book, especially as part of a nightly bedtime ritual, can help to inspire a lifelong love of reading, according to a study by the Oxford University Press.  

The importance of bedtime stories
According to the Oxford University Press, although almost two-thirds of parents read bedtime stories to children ages 6 and under, that number drops to about half when the child reaches 7 years old. The percentage of readers who discover a story with their parents drops as kids get older, and this decline starts around the age kids begin reading on their own. However, continuing the tradition of reading bedtime stories together can provide plenty of advantages for kids down the line. 

The Oxford University Press study found that half of so-called "reluctant readers" around age 7 said they would enjoy reading more if it was done with their parents. Those who do build up a love of books and spend time reading for pleasure are 13 times more likely to read above their age level, according to research from The National Literacy Trust. Even just 10 minutes of extra reading each day could lead to some of these benefits. 

"Giving children a love of books is one of the greatest gifts, and our report shows parental engagement makes a real difference to children's success," said Mary Hamley, a senior publisher from the Oxford University Press. "Being able to read is vital, but on its own it isn't enough – we need to instill a love of reading in every child." 

Get children hooked with the right book
Reading with children is important, but it can be difficult to find a story that will capture your child's imagination and encourage he or she to forge a connection with the book. Taking turns reading the story, asking questions about the plot and characters, and making plans to watch the film version of the book are all tactics that could help children get hooked on reading. 

Even if you try one book and a child is not immediately taken with it, don't give up, as it may just be a case of finding the right genre. It's a good idea to try out a variety of genres to see which stories captivate your child the most. For example, fantasy fans may gravitate to books like the Narnia or Harry Potter series, while animal lovers may have a soft spot for Charlotte's Web or Because of Winn-Dixie

Are you a parent or teacher of a reluctant reader? We'd love to hear some of the techniques that you've used to help inspire an appreciation for reading. Get in touch via our Facebook page.