Bedtime stories are one of those things I imagined before I had kids - children snuggled into bed, all pink-cheeked and fresh from the bath, clean-pyjamaed and wide-eyed, waiting for the next instalment of whatever we were working on.
The reality with little children is, as usual, not quite how I imagined it ;) Sometimes all the stars align and I have a pink-cheeked, clean toddler waiting peacefully for a bedtime story - other days I have a bath-avoiding toddler wearing mismatched and slightly-too-small pyjamas and clutching the same flipping Paw Patrol book again.
In preparation for this post I started researching and I found out this: bedtime stories are more important than you might think.
Experts believe that the benefits of reading aloud to children begin even from babyhood - there has been extensive research into the way reading impacts language development and academic success. Reading aloud to young children may help strengthen the area of the brain that dreams up images to accompany stories - and children who have stories read to them are being exposed to a wider range of vocabulary than they otherwise would be.
As well as that - and this is the most important thing for me - it reinforces reading as an enjoyable activity. According to this article, "children ultimately learn to love books because they are sharing it with someone they love."
This is so important that, in the UK, we have Bookstart, an independent UK charity who believe so strongly in the power of reading for pleasure that they give free books to millions of children across the country, right from birth.
So: bedtime stories. They seem like a natural fit in a busy life. Even though I'm at home with Jellybean and the baby, some days are so manic that we don't get time to sit down and read. This problem is bound to be compounded later on, when I go back to work and the kids start school. Reading stories aloud as part of the bedtime routine ensures that we fit quality reading time in no matter how crazy our days become.
(And frankly, anything that helps get kids into bed is a very very good thing).
Now that Jellybean is older she is ready for longer stories - which means we get to enjoy bigger books. When Sarah Keeler kindly sent us some Usborne books to review, I picked out 10 More Ten-Minute Stories as my favourite.
It's a collection of ten minute classic stories - Jack and the Beanstalk, the Gingerbread Man, that sort of thing. We've actually got a couple of fairytale collections already, but this one had stories we hadn't come across in children's collections before, like the Tinder Box and the Emperor's New Clothes.
I like this book because the stories are well written. We've read some classic stories for children before that are kind of half-hearted in their retelling, and it makes it really unenjoyable for an adult to read. I actually enjoyed reading this one! Also, the illustrations in this volume are beautiful, with different art styles for each story.
Jellybean's verdict: she likes it. A lot. She often brings it over for me to read throughout the day (usually at inconvenient moments when I'm cooking dinner or something, but still). Her favourite is The Gingerbread Man. She dealt with the Gingerbread Man's eventual doom surprisingly well ;)
So, if you're looking for a good bedtime story book for children who can handle slightly longer stories, I'd definitely recommend this one.
If you want to take a look, Scholastic have a good article about how to get back into bedtime stories if you've fallen out of the habit. What books do you enjoy reading at bedtime with your little ones? Leave me a comment and let me know!
I received this book from Sarah Keeler, independent Usborne book seller in exchange for an honest review. If you are interested in purchasing this or any other Usborne books, check out her page. Also, be sure to check out her VIP group, where she runs competitions and holds special offers on lots of lovely books. Thanks Sarah! :)
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