Archive for the ‘Bedtime Stories’ Category

Why is Reading Important for Children?


Why is reading important for children?


Guest Blog from Readmio

Do you sometimes wonder how to get your children to read? Are you all at sea when trying to find something they might like? And is it even worth it? After all, reading seems a waste of time nowadays… isn’t it?

Modern life is fast-paced, and it’s not always easy to find enough time for oneself. That’s exactly why everyone should learn to this so as soon as possible. By showing our children the joys of sitting down and reading, we are giving them a set of priceless life skills.


Time spent together

Children need us to read with them – at least when they’re very little. We read to the youngest ones and share picture books with them; we teach the older ones to read and handle new information. Many parents read bedtime stories to their kids. After reading, we can discuss the stories with preschool (and even younger) children. Adults are often amazed by their kids’ imagination – and this simple pastime opens their minds as well. Stories in books and magazines are an infinite source of inspiration when talking with your kids in the car, over lunch or while waiting at the doctor’s.


Language development

It’s simple – the more your children read, the easier it will become for them to express themselves. Children whose parents read to them regularly and who start reading by themselves have richer vocabularies. They can express their own thoughts better and find it much easier to work with text in general. Reading is a skill they will use for the rest of their lives, and expanding one’s vocabulary is similar to collecting LEGO bricks – the more words they have, the more they can build with them!


Growing imagination

Reading affects our brains differently than television. There are many educational shows for kids nowadays, but it’s always a good idea to read a few ‘ordinary’ books as well. Both children and adults create their own worlds in their minds while reading, and this prevents their brains from becoming lazy.


Gaining knowledge

Kids’ attention spans are usually quite short, so short stories and articles can be a perfect choice for them. When you’re choosing a book or magazine, don’t forget that children are not picky. They will happily read both Snow White and an article about the cosmos if it’s written in a way that’s appropriate for their age. By introducing our kids to a wide range of texts on various subjects, we are opening their minds to amazing possibilities. Reading can make a huge difference to their lives – thanks to you!


Employing all the senses

Reading can involve more than just looking at words on a page. Some books include stickers and blank pages where you can write your own ideas. Illustrated magazines can also be very engaging. Thanks to their colourful content, no one gets bored – not your kid and not even you!

  • Experiments! Read the instructions and get down to it! Who doesn’t love at-home experiments? Knowing how to follow instructions will come in handy at school one day.
  • Recipes! Recipes are actually at-home experiments as well! The results will please the whole family.
  • Crafting! Cutting, gluing, colouring, connecting… not everyone will realize that they’re actually learning by doing these fun activities!


Forming a habit

Many magazines are published regularly. Children love them and they can easily become part of a fun routine – kids love fining them in the mail every Monday or buying them in a shop with their parents. This builds a habit that will come in useful one day: watching the news regularly and keeping up to date on developments will make them better informed when they grow up.


Learning through play

Finally, books and magazines are a magical way to encourage curiosity and a love of learning in kids. Short articles can turn seemingly boring facts into nuggets worth discovering. They can be an infinite source of fun and inspiration! By encouraging our children to read, we can make sure that their desire to learn and explore never fades. That way, they will always find the world joyous and utterly fascinating!


This article was made in cooperation with Readmio – an app full of stories and fairy tales for children.


Sweet Dreams!


Sweet Dreams!

Kids need lots of sleep to lead happy and healthy lives – but getting enough can be challenging, especially in this era of multimedia stimulation! There are many things that can be done to create a positive and calming bedtime routine – and stories can play a key role.

That’s why we created our new Short Stories, Big Dreams section. The two-page tales bring familiar and well-loved characters to life in comforting stories that should give children sweet dreams. Because getting enough sleep is a VERY important matter, here are some extra tips to get your little ones ready for bedtime (and bedtime stories!)


Get into a routine

It’s a fact that getting into a regular bedtime rhythm is the key to getting a good night sleep! Try to stick to a routine (even on weekends) – and soon everyone will be looking forward to it.

Set a time for having a bath, which can help kids to relax. (But make sure it’s not an overstimulating one with lots of toys and splashing!) Make some bubbles and help them to enjoy it in a calm way. Then dry them off and have them brush their teeth, change into their favourite pyjamas and get into bed.


Choose a story

Once they are in bed, a bedtime story can have a calming effect. You can read them one of their favourites – and we hope some tales from Storytime will feature on their list! Our new short stories are a new treat to look forward to every moth. Try to stay away from scary or action-packed adventures and keep the acting and questions to a minimum – instead use a soft tone and help them to drift away into dreamland.


How much sleep do they need?

Every child is different, but on average, experts state that a 5-year-old needs about 11 hours of sleep, while a 10-year-old can get by on 10 hours. Plan bedtime schedules accordingly. It’s important for their growth – and helps them to do better at school as well.


The sleeping environment

To ensure good-quality sleep, a child’s bedroom should be as dark and quiet as possible. Blackout curtains are good at blocking streetlight (or daylight during summer months). If they are afraid on the dark, put on a small night-light or leave the door open a bit to let in light from the hallway. Their favourite cuddly toy can provide comfort and security, and of course a snuggly duvet will always make them feel cosy.


A No-Screen Zone!

This one of the most difficult things to do, but perhaps the most important! Some kids spend long hours glued to their screens, but the light, sound and stimulation from games and videos can prevent them from getting to sleep easily.

When you create a new routine, try to limit the screen time bit by bit, and ideally stop any screen exposure an hour before bedtime! This will help them to wind down. Make sure their bedroom is a screen-free zone. To stop them giving in to temptation, have them charge their devices elsewhere in the home.


A cuddle and good-night kisses

After the bedtime story, make sure they are comfortably tucked in with their favourite toy or comfort blanket. Make sure to give them a cuddle and a goodnight kiss, followed by a reassuring “see you in the morning”. Chances are they will soon be fast asleep, dreaming of new adventures tomorrow.

Sweet dreams everyone! Share your favourite bedtime tips with us, and we promise to provide new bedtime reading every month!

Talking About Emotions

Five stories for talking about emotions!

In a previous blog, we discussed how stories and imagination can provide much-needed escapism in during difficult times. However, stories offer far more than just a distraction – they are an excellent starting point for talking about and dealing with emotions.

Schools teach Physical, Social, and Health Education as part of the curriculum. This includes lessons about keeping healthy and safe, relating to others – and managing our emotional state. Discussing the stories your children read is an excellent way of building PSHE skills – and as current events have proved, being mindful about one’s emotions is vital!

After reading a story with your child, why not ask them what different characters might have been feeling at different points in the story, and why. How they would feel in similar situations, and what they would do? Here are some of the stories featured in Storytime that are particularly appropriate:

Hansel and Gretel

Grimm’s fairy tales often feature children in scary situations, and Hansel and Gretel (which featured in Storytime issue 13) is a classic example. It has fantastical elements (including a witch and a magical gingerbread house) but it also deals with fears that all children deal with, particularly fear of abandonment. It also provides an opportunity to discuss another important issue: being aware of stranger danger.

Tom Thumb

The story of Tom Thumb (told in Storytime issue 35) is one that all kids could identify with. Just like Tom, they live in a world that is too big for them, a world that they do not understand and is full of potential dangers. Tom deals with feelings of fright, abandonment, and not being in control, which would be familiar to all kids. We suggest reading this story with your child and asking them about the bits they really identified with. The story also teaches another lesson: children can learn to deal with the world on their own terms, just like the story’s minuscule hero!

Jack Makes the Princess Laugh

Jack Makes the Princess Laugh (Storytime issue 59) is about a boy who trades the family cow for a magic harp and some performing animals – but we would like to talk about the princess that he wins the heart of! She hadn’t laughed for seven years, and it took a performance by Jack and his animal as well as a bit of dancing magic from his harp to make her laugh three times!

Being sad, grouchy or depressed like the princess is a part of our life, but identifying when we or others are sad and finding ways to get them out of it is vital. We may not have dancing animals or a magic harp like Jack does, but we can use laughter and music to feel better. A favourite comedy show or putting on music and having a good old dance is an excellent cure – and they work even better if you share the experience with someone else!

The Secret Garden

Classic children’s novels are classic for a reason – because they have connected with generations of kids! One that might be especially relevant at the moment is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (We liked it so much, we introduced the first chapter in Storytime issue 10.)

It’s the story of young Mary Lennox who is kept in isolation following an epidemic. She feels lonely, sad, and unwanted by a friendship with the gardener and two young boys. Though it was written a century ago, this story has a lot that children of today might identify with and want to talk about! Mary learns to become a better and kinder person by relating to other people, and that applies as much today as it did then.

Moving Day

For a more recent (and futuristic!) example of a story that might be used to discuss emotions is Moving Day, a story from our latest issue! It’s about a boy named Isaac, who is forced to leave his friends behind when he and his parents go to help colonize Mars. He has to deal with loneliness and boredom on the flight, but after arriving on Mars he makes a new friend in a very unexpected way.

This story is about a very common situation that many children have faced (moving to a new town or country), but its sci-fi setting gives it a fun new twist. After reading the story, why not ask your children about Isaac’s emotions, and whether they can identify with them.

Can you think of any fictional stories that helped you to think about emotions or deal with problems you faced? If so, tell us in the comments!

Worlds of Wonder


Recent events have definitely changed our reality. Travel – or even going out of the house for more than essentials – is no longer an option for many of us.

However, there is still a way for us to escape our homes and explore wonderful new places. Stories have always transported us to magical new worlds, and at this time we need them more than ever.

We can also share our journeys by reading to each other, and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, video chat is available to most of us on all kinds of devices. Let’s make those journeys together with our kids, grandparents, parents, godparents, aunties and uncles, anyone your love – use this moment to share stories, visit these magical places, and dream of limitless possibilities.

Here are just a few of our favourite worlds to journey to through the magic of books. You can read the first chapters of many of these tales in Storytime – available through our shop: (We have added notes about which issues the stories can be found in after each entry.) Affordable editions of these books can also be found online, in print or ebook format.

Arthurian Britain

The stories of King Arthur and his knights transport us back to mythical Britain, where brave warriors must go on quests that test their strength, their faith, and their honour. These stories at the foundation of British culture – and have excited and enchanted readers for centuries. The stories have been retold many times, but TH White’s The Once and Future King is a clever retelling that captures the spirit of the originals while keeping things fun and engaging for a modern audience.
(You can read about the Lady of the Lake in Storytime issue 28 and Launcelot’s battle with Sir Turquine in issue 67)


Discworld is a flat world on top of four giant elephants that stand on the shell of a giant cosmic turtle that swims through space, and as you might expect, it is home to many fantastic creatures. Sir Terry Pratchett wrote 41(!) novels set in this world. They are among the funniest books ever written, and despite taking place on such a wacky place, they have some wise things to say about us human beings and the way we live. The best books for younger readers are the Tiffany Aching novels, about a determined young shepherdess who becomes a witch.


The Neverending Story by Michael Ende is about a lonely young boy who discovers a magical book and learns that he has the power to save Fantastica, a land where all stories are real. However, saving the world is only half the battle! After he saves this magic land, Bastian becomes its ruler and can create anything he can imagine – but risks losing himself in the process! One of the most imaginative books ever written, this story does actually come to an end –but people who read it will still be thinking about it for years to come!

The Land of Oz

Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz took readers down the Yellow Brick Road and introduced us to a world of witches, bizarre beings and quirky heroes unlike any we had ever seen before. He wrote many more novels set in Oz, and the first volume was, of course, turned into a classic movie. (Storytime issue 2)

Middle Earth

JRR Tolkien lovingly created perhaps the most detailed and beautiful world in all of fiction over many decades, and it is a great place to visit! The Lord of the Rings is of course the greatest fantasy epic of them all, but The Hobbit is the best introduction to his creation. Forget about the films – let Professor Tolkien enchant you with his tale of dragons, battles, and the finding of a very special ring.


The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the most famous of CS Lewis’s books, but he wrote seven stories set in his magic land. These books allow you to tag along with schoolchildren who find themselves transported to a magical world where animals can talk, mythical creatures are real, and a lion named Aslan helps to defend a magic kingdom from evil.
(Storytime issue 13)

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of pirates and plunder on a desert island has thrilled many generations of readers with its tales of derring-do. Tag along with the plucky Jim Hawkins and the roguish Long John Silver as they set out on a voyage into the unknown. Not one to be missed!
(Storytime issue 7)

The Snow Queen’s Palace

Far in the north of Lapland lies a magical frozen castle that is home to the legendary Snow Queen! This classic story by Hans Christian Andersen tells the tale of the pure-hearted Gerda travels to the Snow Queen’s domain to free her friend Kai and encounters many icy dangers and frozen wonders on the way!

Villa Villekulla

This is the house where the heroine of the Pippi Longstocking books lives, and it is a wonderful place to visit. Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi is a very strong, very cheerful, and very determined girl who lives life her own way and doesn’t care what anybody thinks. Her house contains a pet monkey, a stash of gold coins, and fiery-haired Pippi herself. Perhaps she will tell you tales of her father the pirate king, or take you on a wild adventure in the woods? (Storytime Issue 26)


Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are set in a world of endless surprises and playfully illogical characters. Follow the White Rabbit down that hole and leave reality and logic behind as our heroine gets lost in a bizarre new land inhabited by strange beings that love wacky wordplay. (Storytime issue 1)

That is our list of the ten best fictional worlds to escape into. If you read any of these books, please let us know what you and your children thought about them!

What are your favourite books to escape into? Share in a comment – we would love to hear from you!

How To Be The World’s Best Parent

read to your child for 10 minutes every day, reading for pleasure, tips for reading to kids, Wow, that’s one heck of a promise, but what if we told you that being the world’s best parent isn’t just entirely possible and easily within your grasp, it takes less than 1% of your day? Even better, you can start working towards that coveted parenting crown as soon as you’ve finished reading this article.

So what exactly do you need to do? It’s simple. Just read to your child for 10 minutes every day. 15 minutes if you can. (20 minutes and you’ll win your place in a special heaven populated by all your favourite fictional characters, locations and foods and, occasionally, your favourite author will drop by and invite you for tea and cake.)

But let’s start with just 10 minutes. On paper, reading to your child for 10 minutes every day seems totally doable, doesn’t it? But if it were so easy, we’d all be doing it and reading charities all over the world wouldn’t be imploring us to read to our children more.

There’s overwhelming evidence now that reading to your children is one of the best things you can do for them educationally and on an emotional level. It’s an incredible time for bonding and we all know it! So what’s stopping us and how do we overcome the barriers that life puts in the way? We have some solutions for you.

4 barriers to reading to your kids… and how to knock them down

1. Tiredness

This is perhaps one of the most common reasons given for not reading to your child for 10 minutes every day. Either you or your child is too exhausted. All you want to do is collapse on the sofa and watch some telly or fall into bed. It’s understandable, but with a little attitude shift and some clever timing, you can make a positive difference.

Your solution: The saying goes that if you keep doing the same thing, you’ll get the same results. So stop promising yourself that you’ll read for 10 minutes every night and then feeling guilt-stricken when you’re too tired to see it through. Instead, commit to read for 10 minutes every day at a time when you’ve both got enough energy to enjoy it. That might be first thing in the morning, at lunch, before dinner, after dinner. There is no right time – keep changing it until you get it right. You’ll know when that is as you’ll be reading for pleasure and not as a chore – and your child will be rapt. Read more on finding time to read here.

2. Busyness

With so many demands on modern life, it’s hard not to fall into the busyness trap. But, as we mentioned in the intro, 10 minutes takes up less than 1% of your day. And that 10 minutes of reading has been proven to have such a positive impact on your child’s wellbeing and educational attainment, it’s absolutely worth making it a priority.

Your solution: Treat 10 minutes of reading to your child like you would any other daily task. Schedule it in and add it to your to-do list. You could put it in your diary or journal or even make a wall chart for you or your child to tick off. If you make it a daily goal, you’ll have a sense of achievement every time you complete it – and it will soon turn into a good habit. One with a gazillion benefits thrown in for both you – reading together is a great stress reliever – and your child.

3. Not-in-the-mood-ness

Ah, we’ve all been here – and kids use this reason as often as adults. The problem is that taking one day off because you don’t feel ‘in the mood’ can easily escalate into a permanent state of being (think gym memberships). It’s a slippery slope, but you can tackle it with a change of approach.

Your solution: If neither of you are in the mood, chances are you’re bored. You need to change things up. There are so many ways you can do this. You can change your reading material. Try non-fiction, for instance, or try a myth instead of a fairy tale. Change where and how you read – go outside, read in a blanket tent, read by torchlight. Change when you read – do it at a completely different time. Alternatively, reward yourselves for reading. We have some ideas on how you can do that here. Simple actions like this can banish boredom and ensure that your 10 minutes of reading is something you look forward to and treasure.

4. Fidgetiness

Some children have supernova-levels of energy. Some have short attention spans. We get it. They’d rather be charging up and down the living room or fidgeting around than cosying up for a story. Though getting them to settle might seem like an impossible feat, a Storytime session might be the very thing you need. It’s all in the timing.

Your solution: Use Storytime to help your child transition from fully alert to that relaxed twilight state before sleep. Think of your 10 minutes of Storytime as meditation or a cool down. Make sure your child is in pyjamas to signal that bedtime is coming and it’s time to relax. Explain that this will be part of your bedtime routine from now on. Now take a deep calming breath (it’s not a bad idea to ask your child to take one too) and read for 10 minutes. There’s no more powerful relaxant for a restless child than a bedtime story.


read to your child for 10 minutes every day, reading for pleasureSo next time you’re faced with a barrier like the ones we’ve listed above, consider the benefits of reading to your child for 10 minutes a day. That’s roughly the length of one or two Storytime stories. You could even fit in one of our poems!

Yes, it will make your child a more confident and able reader. Yes, there are numerous other benefits, educational and otherwise. But the most compelling reason of all is that it sends a powerful message to your child. You’re telling them that you care enough to devote quality time to them doing something that brings pure and simple joy… reading. And that’s how to be the world’s best parent in just 10 minutes!

Did we cover your barriers to reading to your children? Has this helped you prioritise reading for 10 minutes a day? Let us know by getting in touch on our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.


Read and be brilliant this week!



*Picture credit: Picsea at Unsplash.

Easter Stories for Kids

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Easter means different things to different people. Whatever you think of it, for most children in the Western world, even those with religious beliefs, Easter means chocolate. We’re all for a bit of choc in the Storytime studio. However, if you feel like escaping the gluttony, why not use the long weekend as an excuse to share some of our favourite Easter stories for kids?

We’ve picked out some of our favourites. Why not flick through your Storytime back issues and hold an Easter story session?

Our selection features chocolate, chickens, bunnies and even an Easter Crocodile. Because why should fluffy animals have a monopoly on Easter?

10 Easter Stories for Kids


storytime magazine, easter stories for kids, magazine subscriptions for kids1. The Easter Crocodile in Storytime Issue 43. This story by Dylan Rourke came from a simple idea. Who delivers the Easter eggs in countries that don’t have cute bouncing bunnies? Rocky is a croc with a passion for choc, so when the Easter Bunny catches a cold, Rocky steps in to save the day. Except it’s not easy carrying eggs when you’re swimming down a river. Find out how Rocky gets around the problem. With art by Giovanni Abeille.

2. Augustus Gloop’s song in Storytime Issue 2. Greedy Gloop gets what he deserves! If this extract gives you a taste for more, tuck into a full serving of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Surely the perfect Easter read?

3. How Rabbit Got Long Ears in Storytime Issue 3. Kids love this Native American tale of how the mischievous rabbit ended up with long ears. Plus it’s always good to open their minds to stories from different cultures too.

4. Persephone and the Seasons in Storytime Issue 5. A fantastic Greek myth about how the seasons came to be, with stunning springtime illustrations. A great starting point for discussing the seasons and we have a Seasons Activity Sheet to download too.

kids magazine subscription, easter stories for kids, storytime magazine5. The Velveteen Rabbit in Storytime Issue 9. Our extract of this classic story by Marjery Williams features the world’s most adorable rabbit. It also makes you completely nostalgic for childhood and gives you a new appreciation for your child’s bond with their toys.

6. Hans the Rabbit Herder in Storytime Issue 12. This Grimm brothers’ tale is sheer good fun. It sees Hans win the hand of a princess through good luck, determination, quick wit and a hundred hopping rabbits.

7. Dolly Daydream in Storytime Issue 18. Dolly’s dreams of cute chicks, chickens and eggs go a little bit wrong in this funny fable. Kids will adore the colourful illustrations in this story.

8. Henny Penny in Storytime Issue 19. Also known as Chicken Licken, this story has so much going for it – vibrant and eye-catching illustrations, repetition (which is a secret weapon in helping kids to fall in love with reading – learn about it here), funny names and loads of humour.

storytime magazine, easter stories for kids, william wordsworth, daffodills, kids magazine subscriptions9. Brer Rabbit in Storytime Issue 19. This trickster is hugely popular for his mischief-making in American folklore and is just as well loved on this side of the pond. Find out how he tricks Brer Fox and Brer Bear in this well-loved but little-told tale.

10. Daffodils in Storytime Issue 31. Daffodils are the ultimate icon of spring and Easter, so what better poem to share at this time of the year than William Wordsworth’s homage to this happy flower? Our extract from this famous poem is ideal for learning off by heart if you feel like showing off after Easter lunch too! If you’re a school subscriber and want to get hold of our Daffodils Teaching Resource Pack for this poem, drop us a line from your school email address to Alternatively, if you’re a school and would like to subscribe, visit our dedicated schools website.


Incidentally, if you’re hankering after fluffy ducklings, Storytime Issue 43 also features The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen. This story comes with an important message about acceptance and kindness. Whatever your beliefs, it’s a lesson we all need to remember.

Finally, we hope you enjoy these Easter stories for kids. Happy Easter everyone – enjoy the chocolate and happy story reading too!



Storytime Christmas Issue Out Now!

Storytime Issue 40, Storytime Christmas Issue, Christmas stories, Twas the Night Before Christmas, Clement Clarke Moore, Xmas stories for kids, kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kidsOur Storytime Issue 40 is out now and we’re jingling with excitement. As you can see from the image above, it’s a tinsel-covered treat, packed with Christmas stories for kids. Plus we have two wonderful poems: Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from St Nicholas, and a wintry trip to Alphabet Zoo, featuring penguins and polar bears. We’ve pulled out all the stops to make this issue as magical as possible. Here’s a bit more about each of our stories and our wonderful contributors…

A Festive Feast of Christmas Stories!

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A wonderful Christmas tree for our Little Donkey fable by Tatiana Obukhovich

Little Donkey starts the issue with the most dazzling Christmas tree you have ever seen. It’s a lovely fable, which has been given a fresh retelling. We’re grateful to illustrator Tatiana Obukhovic for all those twinkly lights and that lovely festive feel!

If it doesn’t snow where you are this Christmas, never fear, we’ve got a generous helping of the white stuff in our new story The Hairy Snowman. It’s a wonderfully funny tale by children’s author and poet Dom Conlon and illustrated by Fabiola Colavecchio. We chatted with Dom here, so you can find out more about his stories and get his top tips for children’s writing.

It wouldn’t be a Christmas issue without the nation’s favourite bird, Wee Robin Redbreast. This one goes on a special trip to visit Her Majesty The Queen. This story is adapted from an old Scottish folk tale and will warm the cockles of your heart. Illustrations are by Melany Altuna.

Our fairy tale follows the adventures of Silvercap and The Frost Fairies, and explains those intricate frost patterns you find on your windows in winter. It is beautifully illustrated by Davide Ortu and will have kids longing to play in the snow.

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Georgia Broseghini’s gorgeous take on Santa in a Visit from St Nicholas, Storytime Issue 40

The highlight of our Storytime Christmas Issue and the star on the top of our tree is the classic Christmas poem A Visit from St Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore. You might know it as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. We’re so delighted with the gorgeous illustrations by Giorgia Broseghini. You can stare at them for hours and still not spot all the details. School subscribers will also get an amazing teaching resource pack to go with this poem. Find out more here.

We gave ourselves a pat on the back when we realised we could sneak letter P animals into our Christmas Alphabet Zoo. Polar bears and penguins – the perfect wintry combination! Illustrator Tim Budgen has done us proud again. If you download your free Alphabet Zoo Activity Pack, you’ll even get some cute polar bear and penguin mini cards to print out. Why not send them this Christmas?

This issue’s Myths and Legends section takes us to North America and a tall tale about folk hero Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Paul Bunyan is a giant of a fella and so is his ox. See how they fare in the Winter of the Blue Snow. We love the illustrations for this by Michel Verdu.

Our Storytime Christmas Issue closes with pantomime favourite, Aladdin. We last met him in Storytime Issue 1, when he found his magic lamp. This time round, he’s putting it to good use to win the heart of Princess Full Moon. Will he succeed? You’ll have to read the issue to find out! Colourful art for this is by La Studio.


With every issue of Storytime we have several hopes and aims. An important aim is that we help children fall in love with reading. Another is that, by doing so, we help improve their reading skills (and we have evidence that this is working). But there’s another, which seems more relevant now than at any other time of the year – that by sharing Storytime you can come together with your loved ones and create lasting memories. We hope this is the case with our Storytime Christmas Issue 40.

If you have any photos of family Storytime sessions you’d like to share, we’d absolutely love to see them. Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. It would make our festive season to see them!

Wishing you all a cosy, story-filled time and in the words of St Nick himself…


Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!


How To Do Bedtime Stories

how to do bedtime stories, kids magazine subscriptions, storytime magazine, kids magazine subscriptions, best bedtime storiesAnyone who follows Storytime will know that our magazine is built on a deep love of bedtime stories. If there’s one thing our whole team treasures, it’s the memory of bedtime stories as a child. Back then, bedtime stories were a pleasant indulgence – a bit of together time at the end of a busy day. But now, there’s compelling evidence that bedtime stories are hugely beneficial to your children on many levels (see below). But how to do bedtime stories like a pro?

You’ll be surprised by how often we get asked for advice by our readers and parents who are unsure about how to do bedtime stories successfully. Read on for our advice on the when, why, what and how of bedtime stories.

1. When Should I Start Reading Bedtime Stories To My Child?

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Illustration from Storytime Issue 3, Bedtime in Summer, by Amber Cassidy.

Truthfully, it’s never too early to start reading to your child. In fact, the sooner the better. It’s thought that reading to your child from an early age can help them to develop sound recognition, which in turn helps to boost language skills and broaden your child’s vocabulary. And the earlier you start doing it, the more likely it is your child will think of reading as a positive and enjoyable experience. Plus, reading bedtime stories is a great way to bond with your baby.

If your baby is sitting on your lap, begin with board, fabric and sturdy picture books with bold, high-contrast images, mirrors and textures. Newborns will appreciate being close to you and hearing your voice; by six months, they’re a bit more interactive and can make out the shapes, colours and faces in books; by 12 months, they’re touching books, putting them in their mouths and following your finger as you point out pictures.

If you’re reading to a newborn or a baby in a cot (i.e. a baby that won’t grab and tear), you can pretty much read anything you think is appropriate, even bits of your favourite books from childhood. Just hearing you read bedtime stories is a positive thing.

2. When Is The Best Time To Read Bedtime Stories?

We’ve talked before about the importance of timing when it comes to reading bedtime stories, but the best guide of all is your own child. If they’re exhausted after bath-time and can barely keep their eyes open once they’re in pyjamas, it’s not wise to keep them awake any longer with a bedtime story.

Remember: one of the key benefits of a bedtime story (apart from sharing quality time together and all the developmental bonuses it brings) is to ease your child into a relaxed and happy state before drifting off to sleep. You need to share bedtime stories when your child is receptive enough to enjoy them. That could be before bath-time, before pyjamas, after pyjamas, in your special ‘story chair’ or tucked up in bed – only you can truly judge it. And, if you’re not sure, the best advice is to keep trying until you find a time that works for everyone. The main thing is that you commit to doing that.

3. How Many Bedtime Stories Should I Read?

This largely depends on the age of your children – and experts often look at the length of time you read, rather than the number of books. In the UK, the reading charity Booktrust recommends that you aim for 10 minutes of reading every day. In the USA, it’s a minimum of 15 minutes. We say, aim for 10 minutes when your children are very little and gradually increase the time as they get older, aiming for 20 to 30 minutes.

This could equate to one picture book or short story initially, increasing to two or three when they’re a bit older, or a chapter of a book for older children (two or three chapters if it’s an early reader book with lots of pictures). As your children get older, be sure to bring forward your bedtime story slot, so you can fit it in. And keep an eye on the time – it’s easy to keep going or re-reading the same book over and over again when you’re both loving it. It’s great to do this every now and again, but not if it leads to kids associating bedtime stories with sleep deprivation. If you’re really having fun, slot in extra reading sessions earlier in the day or at the weekend. You don’t have to make bedtime stories a mammoth reading session.

4. How Do I Read Bedtime Stories?

With enthusiasm, with pleasure and, most importantly, with everything that makes you who you are. The key to how to do bedtime stories is to be yourself, even if that means stumbling and tripping over words and avoiding silly voices. You’re not a Hollywood actor; you’re a parent. Read our 5 top tips for reading stories for more advice.

5. What Are The Best Bedtime Stories?

In an ideal world, the best bedtime stories are the ones you both enjoy, but you’ll inevitably find that your child falls in love with a book or story you can’t stand. The best advice here is to grin and bear it – and try to see it from your child’s point of view. Try to understand what it is about the story they love so much. If you can work it out, you might eventually be able to lead them to another similar book or story that doesn’t drive you quite as mad.

The best bedtime stories for children tend to have the following themes:

    • They’re funny or downright silly.
    • They feature fears, problems or subjects children can relate to, such as being scared of monsters under the bed, learning to share, being brave, being naughty, starting school, or even disliking vegetables.
    • They star favourite characters, like pirates, dinosaurs and animals.
    • They allow kids to explore imaginary places or other worlds, such as outer space or under the sea.

They’re tried and trusted classics, like fairy tales.

That’s not a comprehensive list, by any means, but it’s a good starting point if you’re stuck and looking for good bedtime stories. You can get recommendations for specific titles over at LoveReading4Kids, sorted by age group.

In Storytime, we try to have several of the above in every issue, of course!

6. What Age Should I Stop Reading Bedtime Stories?

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You’re never too old for bedtime stories. Cupid and Psyche artwork for Storytime Issue 17 by Myrtille.

We once attended a talk with children’s author Frank Cottrell Boyce, who claimed that he was still reading stories to his teenage son. That just about sums it up. There’s no cut-off point for reading to your child. No damage can be done by reading to them after a certain age, though there is evidence that stopping too early might have an adverse effect on children’s literacy levels.

As long as your child enjoys it, there’s no reason to stop, and the longer you carry on reading bedtime stories, the more reading tips and strategies they’ll pick up from you. By doing nothing more than reading, you’re teaching them about tone, expression, creating tension, pronunciation, and sharing new words. They’re learning without trying. As they become more competent readers, you can even alternate reading chapters to each other. And, as they get older still, you can introduce them to more challenging texts to really stretch them. What’s more, you can use your bedtime stories as a springboard for all kinds of discussions or activities beyond the book or story. Read for as long as you can and enjoy it.

7. Why Are Bedtime Stories Important?

Bedtime stories are crucial for all of the reasons listed above, but we’ll give you a quick summary of their key benefits. Here are 12 reasons why bedtime stories are important:

  1. They give you a uniquely special ‘together time’ as a family.
  2. They leave your children with happy childhood memories.
  3. They help develop early language skills.
  4. They boost vocabulary at all age levels.
  5. They improve literacy rates in children.
  6. They help kids fall in love with reading – something that lasts a lifetime.
  7. They expand minds and horizons, and explore difference.
  8. They promote imaginative thinking and creativity.
  9. They teach children positive values.
  10. They give children characters or situations they can relate to and learn from.
  11. They foster a greater understanding of the world and other people’s needs.
  12. They bring happiness and laughter.

We’re sure you can think of many more reasons to add to this list.


We hope we’ve answered your questions and have given you a thorough guide to how to do bedtime stories. There are few things in the world that give so many positive benefits, but take so little effort and are so enjoyable to do.

If you’re tackling bedtime stories for the first time, we’d love to hear how you’re getting on – and if you have any more questions, let us know and we can try to share more tips here. Share them with us on Twitter or Facebook – always happy to hear from you!


Best of luck with the bedtime routine!