Did your parents read to you at bedtime when you were a child? If you are a parent, do you or did you read to your kids at bedtime? For me, the answer is YES and YES. I believe that books, and reading in general, are an important part of an enriching life. But there is something special about reading to a child or being read to. A bedtime story is the perfect way to send us off to sleep.
I have been reading books to my three children since the day each of them were born. We started off with simple but classic board books, like Goodnight Moon, The Hungry Caterpillar or The Going to Bed Book. A baby doesn’t have much of an attention span and has a tendency to tear or chew on the book if she or he gets bored. A number of our board boards have teeth marks in them!
Once the tearing, shredding and biting phase has passed we move up to slightly longer, paper books, and we have dozens in this category all over the house. My kids’ bedrooms contain a good-sized library of classic and new children’s stories, like Madeline, The Little Red Caboose, Pinkalicious, Corduroy, and one of my all-time favourites, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day.
Corduroy, about a bear who lived in a department store and searched for his missing button, shaped how I felt about stuffed animals. He wasn’t just a stuffed bear, he became a child’s friend. My parents read this book to me at bedtime when I was a child, and I love reading Corduroy to my children.
I have also now moved into reading chapter books to my children. I have tackled some light and shorter books with my daughter that usually have a main character that is either a dog or mermaid without much of a plot, but she loves them. And she looks forward to the time we spend together, cuddled up in her bed, to read our bedtime story.
I have been reading chapter books with my son for a number of years. Our first big series was Harry Potter. With seven books and thousands of pages, it took us almost 2 years to complete the series. When we hit some exciting parts or the climax of each book we just couldn’t stop reading. I will admit that we had a few late nights when we couldn’t put the book down. The fact that I had read the books two times on my own before was irrelevant. Reading them with my son was a different and wonderful experience.
With Matthew’s love of sports, and his love of reading, we have now moved onto reading baseball biographies together. Thanks to my Uncle Bill, who gave Matthew a number of books over the summer, we are learning about some of baseball’s greatest players. And when do we read? In the evening, at bedtime.
Last night we really got into the biography of Satchel Paige, one of the greatest pitchers of all time. We have only read the first few dozen pages, but Matthew is already hooked. He is learning about Paige’s early years and the challenges a poor black child faced growing up in the U.S. South. He is asking me very poignant questions, and it thrills me that we have the time together to read and learn about this amazing man and this important part of history.
Whether it’s Goodnight Moon, Corduroy or Harry Potter, I relish every bedtime story I read to my children. It is one of the highlights of my day, and I always look forward to it. What is your favourite bedtime story? Leave me a comment here, post on Facebook or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.