New research finds daily reading to children could reduce number of 3 to 5 year olds with socio-emotional problems by 20% . Whilst making clear that these findings are only part of a complex picture and should not be seen as a panacea for problems caused by inequality, Professor Yvonne Kelly, who helped produce the research for the Institute for Social and Economic Research, says that “There is something intrinsically positive about that level of intimacy between parents or carers and young children which helps foster emotional security and develop verbal skill.”
No-one could argue with this. What’s often overlooked, too, are the enormous benefits of continuing to read bedtime stories (and not only stories) to older children, including those who are accomplished readers, for just as long as they want you to continue. All children love this special one-to-one time. For a child of any age, being read to, especially at bedtime, presents the perfect opportunity for a cosy chat, perhaps about a character in a story – ‘Do you think he should’ve done that?’ A story can be way for a child to start talking about something troubling them, as well as a peaceful moment to leave behind the preoccupations of a daily life that is becoming increasingly busy for both children and adults alike, and step into the world of the imagination – a treat for the grown -up, too, after the daily grind! Parents can be forgiven, in today’s hectic world, for feeling too tired or busy for reading to children at bedtime, but if they can do this, the spin-offs are enormous.
Please see also my blogs about bedtime stories, What’s the story, Evening Glory?; In your night time garden and Encouraging parents to read bedtime stories. This last blog mentioned the recent TalkTalk Tales competition to find the country’s best bedtme storyteller. The competition was judged by Bernard Cribbens, and you can hear some of the entrants at http://www.talktalktales.co.uk/ . You don’t have to be a Bernard Cribbens – your child will love your reading!