Mother and Baby

10 top tips to revive storytime

Mum and toddler reading together

The tradition of reading to children at bedtime is declining, but you can bring the joy of reading to your little ones with these great tips and favourite books.

Research* suggests that while three-quarters of parents consider reading to their children every night as incredibly important, only 19% of them find room for storytime. 

Our busy lives, full with work, socialising, smart phones and TV programmes, have pushed out storytime from our parental routines. 

A staggering 71% of parents surveyed said that reading to their children was one of the most stressful things they do. 

To help you get back into storytime, and enjoy reading to and with your children, we have 10 top storytime tips from Professor Tanya Byron, together with 10 favourite books to get you started. Put the joy of reading back into bedtime with your children and pick up a new book today. 

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10 favourite children's books & 10 top tips for storytime:

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The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson (

Storytime tip 1: If you’re short on time, tell a short poem or pick a book you’re already familiar with.
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Little Red Riding Hood by the Brothers Grimm (

Storytime tip 2: If you struggle to make storytime engaging for your kids, choose books with built-in sound effects/music and interactive visuals – and take some of the pressure off!
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Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Ladybird (

Storytime tip 3: If your child has a TV in their room, avoid having it on when they go to bed and read a story to them instead.
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The Three Little Pigs, Ladybird (

Storytime tip 4: If you feel embarrassed, get a partner or family member involved and tell the story together – sharing the parts makes a better story too.
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Hansel and Gretel, by The Brothers Grimm, Ladybird (

Storytime tip 5: Make storytime part of the bedtime ritual, it should be something for children to look forward to, setting the scene for them to fall asleep seamlessly.
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The Boy in the Dress, by David Walliams (

Storytime tip 6: Storytime doesn’t have to be fictional. Make it a two-way dialogue and ask your child to tell the story of their day.
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle (

Storytime tip 7: If it’s inconvenient to read a story to your child at bedtime, find a time that works as part of your routine – whether it’s something you do before dinner or at the weekend.
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Gangsta Granny, by David Walliams (

Storytime tip 8: Ease your child into the art of reading by choosing a book based on their favourite TV programme.
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen (

Storytime tip 9: If you don’t feel confident, prepare beforehand by reading the book to yourself and practising the rhythm of the words.
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The Boy Who Cried Wolf, illustrated by Jess Stockham (

Storytime tip 10: If your child uses storytime as a delaying tactic to avoid going to sleep, limit them to one book per night – but promise to build on the tales as their sleep routine gets easier.

A lack of confidence can also be to blame for the absence of storytelling, with parents worried about a lack of imagination to come up with stories for the little ones. 

23% of children haven’t managed to finish an entire book in the last 12 months. Almost a third of parents (27%) admitted that they hadn’t read a book in the last year, and despite extensive schooling 23% of children hadn’t managed to finish an entire book in the last 12 months. 

*Research conducted by Alton Towers

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  • Author: Sophie Knight Sophie Knight
  • Job Title: Contributing Editor

Sophie is a journalist and mum of one, and previously edited before moving on to write about family cars for - now Sophie is Commercial Content Editor for M&B, Closer, Heat, Empire, Yours, Garden News, and 

She is passionate about raising awareness around postnatal depression and is a Mental Health First Aider.

Sophie studied History at the University of Sheffield and has been in journalism for 16 years. 

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