6 reasons I read bedtime stories to my teenager

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.

See? No pajamas, just reading. Although this happened to be a brushed teeth kind of night. Bonus!

See? No pajamas, just reading. Although this happened to be a brushed teeth kind of night. Bonus!

Here are 6 reasons you should, too:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

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!


2 Responses to 6 reasons I read bedtime stories to my teenager

  1. Stephanie
    Stephanie August 30, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    I agree with this 110%! Story time is our favorite time of day. The time that we can all sit as a family and use our imagination together! The world our kids are growing up in is FULL of screen time and technology and I want my kids to appreciate a good book and also what goes into a great publication! You don’t have to be reading from a screen or watching a YouTube video to experience a good laugh or solve a mystery! Not to mention, it teaches our children to carry on the same tradition when they have their own families!

  2. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth August 30, 2016 at 10:38 pm #

    Love this. You are my rock star example of a mom!

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