Your Game Plan for Getting Back in the Swing of Nightly Story Time

For most of us parents, bedtime reading can sometimes fall by the wayside. Here’s how to get back on track!
Sep 19, 2019

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bedtime stories
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Sep 19, 2019

Real talk: Does your nightly bedtime routine with the little ones get a bit more, er, relaxed during the summer, holidays, or busy weeks? I know mine does! 

As a mom, despite my every intention to keep the kids on a somewhat established routine, we usually assume a slower pace during those days. But now with school back in session, I do make every effort to get back to our regular bedtime routine of stories before the lights go out. Not only does it get my daughters back in the groove of school night schedules, but it helps them sneak in a little extra reading practice. (Click here to read our grade guides for more school success tips.) Here are my favorite tips and tricks for getting kids to dive into a book when they dive into bed! 

Savvy Tip #1: Release Your Inner Actor 

One great way to get young children excited about bedtime reading again is to make story time extra entertaining. You might wear a pair of crazy glasses and call them your magic reading glasses, or don a superhero cape that transforms you into Super-Reader!

Alternatively, if you’re not into dressing up, you could introduce the book in a fun character voice. For instance, put on your best puppy voice to read Pig the Star and announce: “Tonight’s reading time is brought to you by a fluffy canine who wants to be in the spotlight!” Or simply read your story of choice with particularly dramatic flair, assuming different voices for each character. You can even ask your child to do the same!

Books Perfect for Acting Out

Savvy Tip #2: Leave Each Night on a Cliffhanger

One great way to get back into reading aloud as part of your nightly routine is to read just a chapter or a few pages of an enticing book together each evening. The trick to success is to try to end each reading on a cliffhanger, so your child will be eager to get back to the book the next night.

Not sure if your child is ready to sit and listen to a longer book? Try the Branches Line of early chapter books designed to bridge the gap between leveled books and traditional chapter books.  They include purposeful illustrations and plenty of context clues to keep little readers engaged.

Books That Will Captivate Kids Every Night

Savvy Tip #3: Lean Into Their Real-Life Obsessions

I know that a nonfiction read isn’t the first thing that usually comes to mind when you think “bedtime story,” but kids are often far more interested in true stories than you might think, especially if they’re based on something they’re really into at the moment. For instance, if your kids love dinosaurs, they’ll be excited to join Fly Guy’s prehistoric adventures and see the cool pictures of their favorite creatures. If their heads are in the stars, they’ll be fascinated by Hidden Figures, the tale of four female mathematicians who played a crucial role in the space race. 

As an added bonus, engaging nonfiction reads will send your child to school with extra know-how for other subjects, setting them up for a successful year. (But you don’t have to tell them that.)  

True Stories About Favorite Topics

Savvy Tip #4: Get Everyone Involved

Send your kids to the book polls to pick the next story to read aloud as a family! Get everyone engaged in the reading process by collecting suggestions from each family member, and then have a vote to identify the top contender. You might even find this inspires a healthy debate about the virtues of each title (say, the humor of The Wonky Donkey or the suspense of Eerie Elementary #10: The End of Orson Eerie?), and you’ll learn more about why your kids love certain books.

Books All of Your Kids Will Love

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