Sharing a story at bedtime is a chance for you and your child to relax and enjoy
a special moment together. Children will benefit immensely if you read aloud
with them, even once they have started to read themselves. They will learn
new words that are beyond their reading ability and will love the time you spend with
them. Try to read the books brought home from school and maybe borrow some from the
Make it something to look forward to – and remember to have fun!
What books should I choose?
Share books with rhyme, rhythm and repetition – hearing rhyming words will encourage them
to join in. Let a child say words out loud and leave space in the story for them to fill in.
If your child brings a reading book home from school, encourage them to share their book with
you first, so that you can help with any words they find difficult.
Involve your child by letting them choose the book - don’t worry if you think it’s too young!
You can sometimes limit the choice, so that you get a bit of variety too!
Start to share exciting books with chapters – continue reading aloud even when they can read by themselves as
this helps them learn new words.
Children love to revisit stories they enjoyed when they were younger. This is a sure sign that they have enjoyed
you reading aloud to them and they may have a go at reading some of them to you.
Where should we read?
You don’t have to be in bed as long as you can cuddle up together. Being physically close is still important as
children get older. Try to make sure there aren’t any distractions — best to switch off the TV.
How do I go about it?
Share fiction books, poetry and books about things that excite them like trains, diggers, fairies. Point to the
pictures and talk about them.
You don’t always have to ‘read’ a book. Pictures are very important and help to tell the story.
Point to the pictures and talk about them. Discussing the book encourages your child to become the story teller.
Try asking questions like: ‘Can you tell me what happened to ...’ ‘What do you think will happen next?’ ‘How
do you think she feels about that?’ ‘Tell me what’s happening in this picture....’
Let them ask questions - it’s a great way for children to learn to understand what’s happening in a story – an
essential part of learning to read.