How transforming bedtime stories into reading games

Estelle Bardon is an early literacy advocate and founder of Mylibook, personalized books for beginning readers.

Image Credits @ Ben Griffiths

Teaching to read to a preschool-aged child takes time, and starts early! Reading bedtime stories is a first excellent habit you can start from birth (babies love stories!). While your child is growing, you can use these moments to develop your child’s alphabet recognition and help them hook up with reading. Transform bedtime stories into reading games! All you need is a good book that your child loves, and a little bit of inspiration.

 

Set-up a cozy nest and enjoy this precious moment

Take this occasion to settle in a cozy space, and disconnect from your hectic daily life. Show your child that reading is playing: let them pick a book, use silly voices, imagine what is not shown in the pictures… Enjoy this precious family moment together.

 

Play the Monster Letters Hunt

Letter visual recognition is key. It is really important to help your child with alphabet recognition and discrimination. Take your best monster voice and say “I am the Letter Monster and I LOOOOVE eating letters! I see a letter A, can you see it too? MMMhhhh!! Yummy!! I want another one!”

You can start with letters of their first name, and extend gradually to other letters. Switch the roles so your child can play the monster too!

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Play the Monster Words Hunt

After letter awareness, train full words recognition. The game is exactly the same except that the monster is now hungry for full words! Start easy with short 2 or 3 letter words like cat or hat where every letter is pronounced individually (no letter blending).

 

Reading together along

As your child progresses in his or her reading journey, choose a suitable book, preferably with illustrations and a few words or sentences easy to read. You start to read the first page, and your child the second. And you switch all along. Doing this together, you allow your kid to rest a bit after the effort of reading and keep the pleasure of following a full story.

 

Taking turn with full books

Finally, your child is comfortable enough to read a full (short) book! Look how proud they are to tell you a full story! Help them by asking simple questions and make sure they understand what they read. Take your turn afterward to offer them the pleasure of being read a story.

All these steps can be passed gradually, depending on your child’s interest. Don’t forget that reading should be playful and joyful! Play those games when you feel your child wants to. If they are tired or just want a bedtime story with cuddles, it is okay. Reading out loud is the best way to make your child discover the pleasure of reading. Teachers recommend reading daily at least 15 minutes a day it until your child is 9, but you can go on as long as you wish!

Image Credits @ Quokkabottles

Taking turn with full books

Finally, your child is comfortable enough to read a full (short) book! Look how proud they are to tell you a full story! Help them by asking simple questions and make sure they understand what they read. Take your turn afterward to offer them the pleasure of being read a story.

All these steps can be passed gradually, depending on your child’s interest. Don’t forget that reading should be playful and joyful! Play those games when you feel your child wants to. If they are tired or just want a bedtime story with cuddles, it is okay. Reading out loud is the best way to make your child discover the pleasure of reading. Teachers recommend reading daily at least 15 minutes a day it until your child is 9, but you can go on as long as you wish!