Recently we were invited to lend support to the Book Trust #TimeToRead campaign. We’ve always read with our daughter, A, who is now 11. Although A is well able to read by herself, we all enjoy investing a bit of time reading aloud together. Hubby Dave often leaves for work before we wake up and gets in from work late so he misses out on spending time together at breakfast and after school. There are a lot of barriers to spending time together and consequently, the time we have reading at the very end of the day is even more precious to us and a wonderful time to bond.
The books we read with A are quite varied – from old favourites, perfectly comforting and familiar before bedtime, to new books that challenge A’s reading age and encourage her to read beyond her level. We love reading the recommendations from online book clubs like @KidLitReaders and pretending to be book reviewers. Often A ends up hooked with the first chapter and will finish the book by the next morning. Libraries are a godsend when you read things at that speed! One aspect of reading together we enjoy in our ‘instant access’ modern world is reading just one chapter a night, and waiting to read the next chapter until the following evening. The anticipation is delicious! To try and contain the increasing role mobile devices play in our lives, we have a ‘no screens upstairs’ rule. This helps make sure there are no competitors for attention during book time.
Of course we’re all tired in the evening and sometimes feel like reading is a bit of an effort, but we always feel better for doing it – and A feels deprived if we miss out the book time! I didn’t imagine that we would still be doing bedtime story time with A at age 11, but I firmly believe that it has encouraged A to read on her own. The whole family enjoy the ritual of bedtime stories, and we have no plans to stop any time soon!