Booktrust’s Top Tips
for Bedtime Reading with Toddlers
Sharing a story at bedtime is a chance for you and your child to relax and enjoy a special moment
together. As part of a bedtime routine they will love to cuddle and hear your voice and will know that
it’s time to get ready for sleep. Just ten minutes a day will also greatly help their development.
Make it something to look forward to – and enjoy this time together!
What books should I choose?
Books with rhyme and repetition are great as they encourage your toddler to join
in - this will help them later when they are learning to read.
Let your child choose the books they want you to share with them - it
will make them feel involved.
Share books about things that excite your child like trains, football or
You could sometimes limit the choice to ones you know that you will
enjoy too so its fun for you both.
Read your child’s favourite books over and over again.
Poetry books are fun too - there are great books offering a poem for every day of the year.
Ask at your local library or bookshop for details.
Where should we read?
Sit close together, somewhere cosy. It doesn’t have to be in bed and it’s best to switch off the TV.
Why not start at bath time? Share bath books and rhymes together – try Row Row Your Boat or make
one up about splashing.
How do I go about it?
Try using funny voices and make silly noises. Your child loves the sound of your voice so try not to be
embarrassed or shy. Just remember to make it fun and laugh a lot!
Let your child join in and tell you what’s happening. Ask questions like ‘What do you think will happen
next?’ and ‘How do you think she feels about that?’ - Give your toddler plenty of time to answer.
Encourage young children to hold a book and turn the pages as you read. Books with flaps are great for getting children involved. You
don’t always have to ‘read’ a book. Point to the pictures and talk about them.