Reading a bedtime story to my children is often the part of the day I most look forward to. Snuggling up and looking at a book together is a special way to end the hectic day and picture books are the ultimate bedtime read. Children love to follow the story using the illustrations, drinking in all the details on the page that we, as adults, often miss. Picture books are short enough to hold your child’s interest and are written specifically to be read aloud, making them enjoyable for adults as well as kids.
Experts agree that reading to your child is one of the most valuable things that you can do as a parent or carer. We know the educational benefits are numerous: developing language and communication, broadening vocabulary and sparking imagination and curiosity. However, there are many more benefits beyond the educational – reading a book is a moment to share and savour with a little one, time for a cuddle, to relax, a time to be silly and creative. Books can work miracles as part of the bedtime routine and, most importantly, reading together is a lot of fun.
Knowing that reading is so important, it can be tempting to rush children, challenging them to read longer stories. In fact, sticking with picture books for longer has been shown to be key in encouraging a love of reading. Picture books are entertaining and engaging and long after kids can read themselves, they will enjoy looking at them with you. And they still need them – illustrated books are a great way to expose children to a richer vocabulary and are also fantastic for encouraging a love of art. Often books can really spark their little imaginations for all the time they spend drawing, colouring and doing crafts.
One thing every parent knows is that children will look at their favourite books again and again (and again and again and again!), often using the illustrations to help them learn the books off by heart. Indeed, many of us can still recite our own childhood favourites off by heart and there is great pleasure to be taken in sharing them with a new generation. Classics that have stood the test of time like Burglar Bill, The Cat in the Hat, and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt are as popular today as they were twenty years ago. Julia Donaldson is also a firm favourite with parents for her fantastic books like The Gruffalo and Room on a Broom. However, there are many, many more new authors and books that are worth exploring. Our readers recommend….
So grab a new picture book, snuggle down and create some memories. Oh, and make sure you do the voices!