5 reasons your kids still need bedtime stories, even if they're 'too old'

We read to our kids when they're little and we shouldn't stop just because they get older.

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  • There's nothing quite like sitting on a couch or bed snuggled with your children and reading a story together before bedtime. Parents and children read together when the kids are young, but what about as they get older?

  • "A recent survey ... revealed ... that many parents stop reading to their children when they become independent readers, even if the child isn't ready to lose their bedtime story. The study found that 83 percent of children enjoyed being read aloud to, with 68 percent describing it as a special time with their parents," stated an article on literacy.

  • So many parents stop reading as soon as their child is able to read independently, but according to the survey, the majority of children would still like their parents to read aloud to them.

  • Regardless of age or ability to read on their own, kids still need to be read to, and here's why:

  • Reading creates special time between parent and child

  • Especially in a the busy world we live in with so many distractions, it's important to find time to connect as a family. Reading books is a great way to spend quality time together. You can read books for entertainment, learning, to increase imaginations or to gain better understanding of the world and the people in it. Discussing topics from the books is a great way to bond and get to know each other better.

  • Being read to expands literary possibilities

  • Anyone who has had a beginning reader in their home knows that books for early or emerging readers aren't exactly the most profound or entertaining stories to read. Those books are simple by design with one purpose — to help kids learn to read. However, if mom or dad reads aloud, the stories are more complex, descriptive, captivating and keep children interested in reading. Kids need to hear these stories to develop a love of reading. Just because they can't yet read the words doesn't mean they can't understand the words.

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  • Kids will learn to enjoy reading

  • It's hard for a child to get excited about learning to read if they have never been read to. Because of the lack of literary experience, there simply would be less of an interest to learn to read. However, a children who are read to regularly learn to enjoy stories and become anxious to and curious about reading on their own. They want to learn to read because they know how much they already enjoy books.

  • Reading increases imagination

  • Reading or being read to is a lot different from watching television. TV shows show you everything with little or nothing left to the imagination. Reading forces you to imagine the setting and characters based on descriptions written by the author. By nature, kids are imaginative, but those imaginations can dry up if they are not used frequently.

  • Reading leads to smart kids

  • Reading books allows for so much learning. Kids pick up new vocabulary words, understand sentence structure, can learn about many different worlds — real and imagined, develop better language skills and become better listeners. Even as adults, we often learn new words or gain better understanding of different topics through reading. It's a way to learn without even really realizing it's happening.

  • Reading with your kids can take place any time or anywhere. From birth and even into young adulthood, kids benefit from being read to — even if some (ahem, teenagers) may act as if they don't like it.

  • Try reading:

    • In the morning before school.

    • At bedtime.

    • During vacations.

    • In the car for road trips.

    • While cloud gazing.

    • On a picnic.

    • Instead of watching TV or playing video games.

  • You're never too old to be read to. Work as a family to make reading a part of your lifestyle. Sit close, snuggle and let the natural bonding take place. Reading can bring families together while teaching valuable lessons and helping each person to understand others more fully.

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Wendy is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and does media reviews. Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/ for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: https://wendyejessen.wordpress.com Twitter: @WendyJessen

Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/

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