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Reading to preschoolers at bedtime - reading to or reading with?

(25 Posts)
moonbells Fri 16-Sep-11 10:41:16

Hello all
Just have a small query about bedtime reading. After bath, DS usually comes to his room, picks a trio of books and sits on my knee (we are both sitting on the bed) to read and chat about them. Eventually he gets into bed and passes out, usually under or on top of books. It never occurred to me to do anything different as I'll often read till I drop off and wake hours later with lights on and a book on the bed.

Chatting to a colleague, he tells me that they don't ever do this, but just put their DS in bed and read a story to him without showing pictures, then walk out. They get their son in bed oh, about 1.5 hours before we do.

What do other folk do, please? Read with or read to? And how many books?

SlightlyScrambled Fri 16-Sep-11 10:46:39

I like your way better and do the same myself.
Remembering from when I was a child, I loved looking at the pictures.

I only read one book at the moment and my DD is 19 months old and let her have it afterwards and she'll often flick through the pages until she falls asleep.

If what you are doing is being enjoyed by you and your son, then I see no reason to change.

Mumleigh Fri 16-Sep-11 10:59:26

I think what you are doing is fine.

My DD age 3 has had the same routine since she was 11 months ( when we adopted her)

She chooses one book and we sit together and read it on a bean bag next to her cot/bed. I read it to her while she looks at and touches the pages and then we tuck her in and kiss her goodnight. She is always in bed by 7pm.

Now she is a bit older she sometimes likes to tell me the story from the pictures. This is one of the first stages of learning to read.

When they start learning to read in reception they will bring books home with no words in and you encourage the child to tell the story in as much detail as they can from the pictures.

We have a book called Clown , illustrated by Quentin Blake which both my DCs have enjoyed.

plipplops Fri 16-Sep-11 15:52:34

DDs have a bath or shower, then choose one book each, they sit on my lap on a chair in DD1s room and I read them both. They look at the pictures and we talk a bit about it (with ones they know they often say the words along). That's it really - then DH and I out one of them to bed each. I think how you're doing it is lovely but for my sanity I'd need to hurry it along a bit!

Atropos Fri 16-Sep-11 15:57:34

Why do they put pictures in children's books? Could be to help them understand and enjoy the story and augment the words. Is having a bedtime story a joy and delight for a child or a boring, garbled routine the parents go through so that they feel they have ticked the appropriate box? You can choose the number of books, but it's okay to stop at one – read it, look at the pictures, kiss goodnight and off to sleep.

Tgger Fri 16-Sep-11 19:15:37

Do what suits you. We do 2 stories for both DS and DD (nearly 5 and nearly 3). I remember we cut back to 2 stories rather than a random number when DS got rather demanding age 2 or 3.

2 is a good number for us- they are normally picture books that we read to them showing the pictures. They are both in bed about 7pm, the stories bit takes between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the length of them (and DS likes to chat to DH and ask lots of questions sometimes!!).

Maisiethemorningsidecat Fri 16-Sep-11 19:23:12

Reading with - always. We discuss the pictures, look at the letters, ask him to find things and so on. That's just as important as the story.

I'm saying 'we', but actually DH does the bedtime and story for the most part - I'm taking credit for the rare times I do that part of the day! However, DH does the above too.

Blackpuddingbertha Fri 16-Sep-11 20:08:08

Always read to our DDs (now 3 & 5) so that they can see the pictures. They have double beds so I lie the middle with one each side of me and we alternate bedrooms for stories. Having said that we recently read a load of Enid Blyton (Faraway Tree, Enchanted Wood & the Wishing Chair) which only have the occasional pen & ink picture - they were fine with this too and really got into the stories even without pictures. So I guess it's what works for you and your DC.

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 16-Sep-11 20:13:30

Mine are 5 and nearly 3, they both get to choose a story (most of the time these are picture books). I/DH read to them lying on DS's bed, there's usually a bit of conversation along the way, then DD gets into her bed and gets out again about a squillion times and they go to sleep.

They are allowed to flick through their books after we've gone downstairs, DD often does this in the dark, and I have often found one of them asleep with a book on top of them grin

thecaptaincrocfamily Fri 16-Sep-11 20:30:16

Depends on how much they enjoy books tbh. If he loves them then read with him but maybe try to get him to bed allowing time for it. DD1 (5yo)quickly learnt that asking for more stories meant later bedtime grin. Have a limit of books/ length i.e. 1 longer story or 3 short ones.
DD2 is the same in that way and loves stories.(3yo)
DH read with dd2 and I read with dd1 usually. She reads her reading book to me around evening meal time and then I read her more complicated stories for bed such as Roald Dhal books. This works well as she has better comprehension than her reading book band so she gets bored with her reading books as the plot isn't that interesting for her. It also extends her vocabulary and prediction/ comprehension.

pozzled Fri 16-Sep-11 21:39:53

DD has two stories usually. I lie on her bed with her and hold the book so that she can see the pictures as I read. But I would say I read 'to' rather than 'with'- I don't really encourage her to discuss the story, or ask questions. I would respond if she commented, but mostly it's just the story.

When we read at other times of the day we do lots of discussion, so I don't feel she's missing out.

DaydreamDolly Fri 16-Sep-11 21:50:29

DD 2.2 likes to say the last word on each page and we'll discuss the pics and story as we go. I then give her the book to flick through and I kiss her goodnight and leave her to it. It's the way we like it.

FairyArmadillo Fri 16-Sep-11 21:55:59

We love bedtime stories. DS is 3 and has his favourites, and will finish sentences for me. We have three stories a night at the moment. I don't see the point of not showing him the pictures. Half of the magic of childrens' books (for both of us) at that age is the pictures. At the moment we love Julia Donaldson/Axel Schiffer, the original Meomi Octonaut books, The Little Red Train books and Mog.

TheMitfordsMaid Fri 16-Sep-11 21:58:55

Definitely read with. We read a couple of stories and then DS (age 4) likes me to "make one up with my breath" which means make it up as I go along. In practice though, he helps make it up as I give options as we run through the story. The characters mainly stay the same; we have a troll, a wolf and as he is a big recycling nut there is usually a rubbish dump disaster. I've found he often suggests themes that are change related - we had a lot of school related ones over the summer. We've been doing that for so long now I can barely remember how it started but he sometimes tells me the story that he has made up, and I love to hear his imagination.

ZhenXiang Fri 16-Sep-11 22:04:57

DD 2.3 we read 2/3 stories with her sitting next to me saying the sentences/parts that she knows and pointing to the pictures (asking questions) and me pointing to some key words like 'mummy or 'daddy'. After that I leave her to have a chat with her mountain of teddies and she goes to sleep.

When she gets older I will get her to read some of her favourite book(s) to me first then either take over if it is a long one or read another book which she likes, but is beyond her reading level.

They are more likely to find it easier to learn to read and comprehend meanings of stories if you do it your way as they can use the pictures to help them and by questioning you help their understanding of what they are reading.

Pigleychez Fri 16-Sep-11 22:07:17

We have a similiar routine, bath, story then bed.

Story is sat on the floor on my lap looking/reading the book together. I feel that its almost helped DD1 to recognise some words and she often points out the letters/words she sees.

Sharing the story is part of the fun and the pictures help tell the story. Its a great way of sparking conversation and interaction. We have an entire shelf of Bedtime stories in her room and loves choosing one each night (loves anything Julia Donaldson) .

Guess it depends on the age of the child and them themselves but theres no way 3.1yr old DD would lay still and let me read a story without trying to see the pages!

iskra Sat 17-Sep-11 14:46:07

We read 2 or 3 stories lying in bed, always looking at the pictures. then I have to "tell her a story from my mouth", then I get DP & he reads her a story! It only takes about half an hour though. I love story time. My parents read me morning/evening stories until I was in secondary school, & till my younger brother was about 15!

wearymum200 Sat 17-Sep-11 19:49:50

Depends how tired dd2 is. She's often so whacked by the end of the day that she just wants to sit on my lap and watch/lsten. We do interactive storytime during the day when she's not so tired. Do whatever suits you!

Skimty Sun 18-Sep-11 20:19:57

We do both for DD (3 next week) and DS (5). They have one each on our knee and then chapter book in bed. They both understand the chapter books better than I would have expected.

Sirzy Sun 18-Sep-11 21:17:44

I dont think either way is wrong TBH.

At bedtime I read to DS (22 months), I lie next to him in bed read one story then leave him and he goes to sleep.

During the day we read lots of books and we read them together, he points things out in the pictures etc.

moonbells Mon 19-Sep-11 13:58:06

Thanks all! My trouble is that I work f/t so I'm not sure how many books get read by the nursery school. I work on the assumption that cuddles and time spent reading together is a good thing no matter what. Though he brought home a book on Friday and by the time it went back this morning he'd pretty much learned it! I think we read it 3+ times a day! I had to read Green Eggs and Ham this morning as well to get Mr Snooze out of bed... (Quite a good if time-consuming method: read the book out loud but don't show any pictures and eventually I'll acquire a small boy)

I think I'll try introducing a chapter book soon. Sounds like a marvellous idea. Have wanted to read him the Hobbit for ages! Or Peter Pan. smile

chinateacup Mon 19-Sep-11 14:03:10

With and/or to depending on what DS wants. 2 books and then a story about him- daddy makes this up with him as the key character, boring mummy just talks about the day ( and reaffirms all the good and clever things he has done )

mrsgboring Mon 19-Sep-11 14:49:13

We take forever over bedtime - DS1 is nearly 6 and has either fairly long stories or book chapters. He gets three plus an extra for for a reward, earnt most days (it's a longstanding lavatorial issue) . It can take an hour to read all the stories but he loves it and DH spends that time with him. DS2 is nearly 2.5 and he gets as many stories as he wants, though this is not always many as he loves his bed.

We read on a chair looking at the books together - DS1 gets into bed for the books without many pictures.

The only problem is it can make bedtime late, and it's awkward when DH is away and I have to do both as both boys are into their own books and used to being completely in charge of reading. But we manage and I think it's valuable.

BsshBossh Mon 19-Sep-11 20:22:34

We used to read several books to DD with her looking at the pictures whilst lying in bed but now she's 3 and much more chatty and interactive with the stories (which is great) so we only read two books then it's lights out.

olibeansmummy Tue 20-Sep-11 00:07:51

We do exactly the same as you, 3 stories on ds's (2.3) bed talking about story and ds remembers and says key words and phrases

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