Magic at bedtime

For some time now, small daughter and I have been reading the Harry Potter books at bedtime.  We’re gradually working our way through the whole series, although it’s taking some time as the later books are huge and we don’t always read a full chapter.  Our collection of books is a bit battered – we’ve picked them up in library sales and charity shops as big daughter wanted read them all years ago, but they’re all still readable and small daughter doesn’t mind.

I’ve never read the books before – all the hype that surrounded the books and the films when they were first published and in the cinemas put me off somewhat; I’m not one for hype.  I’m glad we’re reading them now, though. Small daughter is thoroughly enjoying them and I’m enjoying reading them to her.  Sometimes she reads pages to me, but mostly she enjoys snuggling up in her bed, wrapped up in homemade blankets and just listening.

Do we ever grow out of being read to?  I don’t think we do, otherwise there wouldn’t be any demand for audio books.  It’s just that as we get older, we don’t think to read to another adult any more unless they can’t read for themselves.  Reading – or listening to a story – is such a lovely way to get ready to go to sleep.  It calms your brain in a way that TV doesn’t.  Sometimes small daughter will tell me that she’s dreamed about being in the story and will recount fantastic night-time tales, her eyes shining as she remembers being able to conjure miracles from her wand.

Spending time with a book before going to sleep is something that we all do in our family.  I can remember getting out of bed when I was about small daughter’s age to carry on reading my book by the landing light after I’d been told to go to sleep.  I’m quite sure my girls do the same, although they use torches – at least, I think that’s the reason I always find a torch under their pillows when I come to change the sheets!

I’ve always read to the girls at bedtime – when else would have I the excuse to read such wonderful books as Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy (our favourite in the series is Rumpus at the Vet), Room on the Broom and the rather bizarre Avocado Baby which always had my girls hooting with laughter.  Even my husband is an avid reader now (he read far less when I first met him) although his choice of books is very different from mine so we don’t tend to share our reading material – think boys’ books to go with the boys’ films he watches!

I’ll be sorry when we reach the end of the Harry Potter series.  It’s been a lovely thing to share with small daughter, and it’s been great that the books are all sitting on the bookshelf so we’ve been able to start a new book straight away without that frustrating pause whilst you go to the library or a book store or wait for a delivery to continue reading.  I don’t know what we’ll be reading next, but I do know that I’ll keep reading to her for as long as I can.

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4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Bedtime stories are one of my fondest childhood memories, and I was lucky enough to have sensible parents who, like you, realised that all the benefits of being read to don't evaporate when a child learns to read for themselves. Of all the educational interventions you can give a child, the one that boosts their reading performance most is being read to-not the impressive booster sessions or one-to-one reading practice. I think that says it all really. Reading is vital.

    Plus, it's such fun! Over here we are big fans of Hairy McClary too, and Superworm by Julia Donaldson too is quite amusing. When I was a teenager I read the Harry Potters aloud to my Mum and sisters and we still laugh about the evening I introduced the centaur, Ronan… with a thick Irish accent! Happy memories.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      We haven't met Ronan the centaur yet – but I'll look forward to him now! You're absolutely right, Jen, reading is vital and I would be lost without so many wonderful books in the world. We'll definitely look out for Superworm too – you're never too old for a Julia Donaldson! xx

  2. Campfire says:

    You might love to read March House Books Blog. She has the loveliest children's books, from former times.

    I always read under the covers by torchlight. I still always take a book to bed with me.

    I have had a spell of reading O Douglas's delightful books on life in the Scottish Borders in a byegone age of 'gentlefolk'. It just struck me when I read your post about reading aloud. There seemed to be a lot of reading aloud in her books. O Douglas was the sister of John Buchan.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thanks, Campfire, I'll definitely take a look at the blog! I'll also look out for O Douglas – it's been a long time since I've read any John Buchan so it's always good to have a recommendation, thanks!

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