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The end of the bedtime story? Our polls say absolutely not!

Bedtime story
Readers told us they still regularly read a bedtime story to their kids. Photo: Shutterstock.

Earlier this month, we asked if parents have stopped reading bedtime stories to their children.

Research from the National Literacy Trust suggests that less than half of children are read to every day.

However, this story has a happy ending: P&J parents told us they love reading with their children.

In our poll, 95% of readers said they regularly read bedtime stories with their kids. A further 4% said they read together occasionally, and only one person said they never read bedtime stories.

The best time of the day

On Facebook, comments piled in from parents and grandparents, all talking about the joys of reading.

James Grant from Aberdeenshire told us bedtime stories are “the best time of the day”. James and wife Nicole even have to take stacks of books away on family holidays with them.

Aberdeenshire family James Grant, Lottie, Hamish and Nicole love a bedtime story.

“My daughter Lottie has never missed a bedtime story or two for the last nearly seven years – she now reads her books to us,” says James. “Our son Hamish, who is three, demands three books every night. That won’t change any time soon. Reading is something that everyone enjoys, so there should always be a bedtime story every day.”

Many other parents left similar comments, saying they have read to their children every day since they were babies. Even older kids don’t miss out.

Lisa writes: “I still read to my eight-year-old at bedtime and sometimes she reads to me.”

Helen’s children are grown up now, but she has fond memories of bedtime stories.

“I can still practically recite some of the favourite books I read to my girls 20-odd years ago,” she writes. “They loved the silly voices I used. It’s wonderful to read to children.”

Meanwhile, Aberdeen granny Dian posted: “Always read with my children, now with grandsons. Our daughter always reads to her boys too. And the boys are enjoying finding the books that their mummy had when she was younger.”

Make a reading habit

Audrey Campbell tells us about her experiences reading to daughters Amy, 12, and Ellie, nine.

“The benefit of reading to the girls from birth allowed us to bond in a way that was different to feeding or caring for them,” says Audrey. “It meant they heard my voice with differing tones and sounds and I am sure that my reading to them helped them to start talking themselves at an early age.

Audrey Campbell says reading to daughters Amy and Ellie helped their learning and vocabulary.

“As I’ve grown older I appreciate how important reading is to developing knowledge, comprehension and the ability to extend vocabulary. Ellie and I are currently reading ‘Grandpa’s Great Escape’ by David Walliams and I actually really enjoy reading their stories as I missed that experience when I was younger.”

Make a reading habit

Not currently reading to your children? Aberdeenshire library manager Julia McCue offers some words of encouragement.

Julia says that parents shouldn’t worry too much about what they are reading. Instead, we should aim to set aside 20 minutes a day, to create a ‘reading habit’.

“Reading to children helps the parent or carer develop a bond and can add structure and calm to what is often a busy day for many families.”

Need some help getting started? The Scottish Book Trust has lots of great tips and advice.

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