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“Read me a story.”  Kids are obsessed with stories. And how great is that? Whether you like to read, or re-read, a favorite book to your kids, reading and telling stories to your kids can both ignite a passion for reading into adulthood and help teach your kids important lessons right now. Making up a story is almost just as good.

As you read “Go Dog Go” by Dr. Seuss or “Goodnight Moon” for the first, tenth, or one hundredth time, every time it’s you who brings the story to life. Reading with expression, pregnant pauses for dramatic effect, and inflection bring make the difference. It’s okay, even encouraged, to stop to share thoughts, talk about the pictures, the message, or their feelings about the book or characters. This helps you gain insight into what your child is thinking.

If creating your own one-person bedtime show is your thing, you can engage your child in building the story. You can ask them “What should happen next?” The favorite stuffy or toy can become the star of the show. Feel free to incorporate an activity from the day as part of the story line. By getting them involved, using relevant items in the plot and asking questions will help them to develop their imagination.

Either way – bedtime stories with a book or made up — how you deliver the story is important.  Here are some helpful tips to help you deliver a riveting tale.

Get into Character: Get relaxed. Turn off electronics, dim the lights and immerse yourself in the story and characters.

Read it Over…and Over: Be glad you are reading the same story more than once. This will help with their language development and memory. As you re-read a book a few times your child will absorb the story’s details, and they will become more familiar with the words and patterns of speech.

Make it fun: Bedtime story hour is not about teaching and testing your child’s reading skills. It’s a time to enjoy and engage them in the moment. They’ll remember this forever, so engage them in the story by asking questions about what they think about the story, the characters, and how it relates to them.

How lucky for you that you get to create memories during story time. It might feel like a chore sometimes, but it’s gone faster than you’ll believe. Enjoy the moment because it won’t last forever.