The bedtime routine at our house takes forever. It’s a 45 minute ordeal on a good day. But it’s an atypical routine. There’s no bath time, no changing into pajamas, and only a sporadic brushing of the teeth. It’s just story time. Oh, and did I mention I don’t have little kids?
I have two middle-schoolers. And we read a bedtime story every night. Sounds kinda creepy when I write it out like that, I hear it. But it’s not weird. It’s pure magic. I’ve been reading aloud to my kids nightly since they were infants. We’re now past the days of rhyming board books and reading the same 20-page story seven times in the same night. These days we pick books that take us weeks to knock out, and it’s a delicious journey. So yeah, I read to my teenage daughter and tweenage son.
Here are 6 reasons you should, too:
- It builds shared experiences. Every book you finish is full of moments you lived vicariously together. You’re giving your kids multiple lifetimes of memories, emotions, problems, solutions, and relationships from which to pull when they take on real life. Navigating the world is a lot easier when you have an expansive internal library to cross reference.
- You’ll spend half an hour a day proving to your kids that they’re more important than your smart phone and that you’re more entertaining than theirs. Especially if you do voices.
- Since you’re the one reading, you can choose more advanced material than they could otherwise tackle on their own. I can skim over paragraphs, or sometimes pages of content that might be a bit too mature or scary. I can position difficult topics into our framework of values, helping them reconcile what we read about other cultures and eras to our reality today.
- If you encourage them to stop you when you use a word they don’t know, it’s an instant vocabulary lesson, with context clues! It’s fun to be their encyclopedia. And if you don’t know the word either, no sweat! Look it up together, then use it as much as possible in the following week so you can make the new word your own.
- Your kids will learn that it’s fun to be a reader, and it’s a hobby they can enjoy even when they’re old…like you.
And the final reason was contributed by said tweenage son, who has been reading this over my shoulder as I type…
. 6. You get to stay up late, so you can use that excuse to get them eager to do it.
Need some inspiration on books to try?
- Series to explore together: The Mysterious Benedict Society; Floors
- Books that celebrate our uniqueness: The Girl Who Could Fly; Ungifted
- On the creepier side: The Night Gardener; Doll Bones
- Previous SSYR entries: Skink – No Surrender is centered in Florida and packed with risk; Endangered was actually written by a high school friend of mine (Fair warning: It does have one scene with a mature detail I omitted while reading aloud, so I’d recommend parents do the reading for Chapter 22 specifically. Nonetheless, it’s definitely worth the read!)
Here’s the problem. We are almost finished with Serafina & the Black Cloak and are on the hunt for our next book. Got any ideas? Share them here!