When Do You Stop Reading to Your Kids?

BlogHer Original Post

Every kid-related movie seems to have it: the sleepy child in snuggly pajamas, cuddled up to a favorite adult reading a fairy tale and drifting off to gingerbread dreamland by the third page. Is this your reality?


Apparently not, according to a recent study in the U.K.:


Of the dads who said they didn't read to their kids 87 per cent blame work commitments while more than a third (34 per cent) said they were too tired.

While 89 per cent of mums said they did read to their children, more than half of them said cleaning distracted them and 49 per cent were sidetracked by other household chores or cooking.

I find it hard to believe so many dads are slacking in the reading department, but maybe that's because my husband routinely fights me for bedtime-reading duty.  We read to my daughter every night, but then again, we only have one daughter, and there are two of us. And, thanks to our library cards and overblown love of printed material, there are more than 300 books in her room.  

Lest you think I'm being all righteous about my family reading time, I'll be the first to admit there are many, MANY books I've given away when my daughter wasn't looking. They're usually the licensed character books, anything with Extreme Rhyme, anything sickeningly sweet or alarmingly violent, and anything that uses the word "gossamer."  

I more than agree with MEP at Not to Brag who writes:

I am also not a huge fan of the books with labeled pictures of dinosaurs, household objects, and vehicles. One that we have has a two-page spread of farm vehicles that features like eight different kind of tractors.

I've often wondered at what age parents stop reading to their kids. I'm horrified at the thought of my daughter preferring to read something on her own than to have me read it aloud to her. There, I admit it. I like reading to her that much.  So I think I found some justification from homeschooler Marbel at Two Kid Schoolhouse:

So readers need to be read to. They need to be read hard books. They will love having hard books read to them, and they will learn from them. Don't think of reading aloud as a thing for little kids, and a waste of time for Mom and Dad. It is a really good use of time; even better for those like me who are deficient in their classics-reading.

So? I'm not going to give it up. I found myself developing panic this spring when I realized my daughter could read phonetic words like "marigold" already. I thought, "My God, I'm going to be ousted soon!" But you know what? She still needs me to explain harder concepts. And how else is she going to learn about the narrative arc and literary devices? Yes, yes, I am still needed. I'm not going to concede my spot just yet.

What do you think? Do you read to your school-aged kids? At what point do you think you'll give up the bedtime-story routine?

If you need help choosing older kids' books or picture books, check out Shannon's posts on BlogHer.


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