As a parent of young children there is always the struggle of how to get them to sleep. I’m sure you can relate. At first we were reading regular kid books at bedtime, but that wasn’t settling them down quite enough. Then, one of my first grader’s assignments was a book report. Yes, a freakin’ book report. A chapter book no less. In order to get that done, I switched to reading full chapters at bedtime. What happened was magical.
The long form reading calmed them and they actually enjoyed it! I got the idea then to incorporate some classic literature into their lives by choosing a timeless story to read every night at bedtime. I personally love books, and there were quite a few classics I had never read myself. Each time we finish a book, we take a trip together to the bookstore and buy another. Since there are two of them, I alternate who gets to pick the classic book and I let the other pick a more modern chapter book. At bedtime, I read one to two chapters of each book and each child who’s turn it is sits in my lap. It’s become a really special bonding time for me and my littles. They are learning to love and appreciate books and build a library of their very own as well.
If you don’t have the funds for purchasing new books, check them out at the library or hit up your local used bookstore. Garage sales and Goodwill are also excellent places to find classic stories for super cheap. The books that have been made into movies offers a fun activity for us to do together once a new book is finished. They love that.
So far the classic books we have read are The Trumpet of The Swan by E.B White, Peter Pan by J.M Barrie, and Heidi by Johanna Spyri. We have also read The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo and are currently reading Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
The benefits of reading aloud are numerous. Mostly I love the bonding time, as well as the opportunity to increase their vocabulary and inspiring them to a life-long love of reading. Here is a link to one article that talks about how reading aloud to children builds literacy. Scholastic.com has a great list of timeless chapter books you can choose from to incorporate the classics into your reading time too.