Why is Making Time for Stories So Important?


It’s something we’ve done for all of our kids, ever since they were little; bath, brush teeth, book, and bed. A calming routine that fellow parents recommended for getting them to sleep through the night. As my eldest two got older, this routine adapted, the books got longer and my voices for the characters became less amusing; before long they wanted to be left to read their own books in peace.

But my youngest still enjoys this routine and (knowing it won’t last forever) so do I.

While waiting for my toddler to choose her bedtime story (knowing she was going to pick the exact same story she has every night for the last 6 weeks), I got to wondering why this part of our nighttime ritual was so important.

A study by personalized book publisher, In The Book sheds some light on just why reading is so important. I’ll summarize what they found, which was pretty interesting.

As Little As 20 Minutes

Using information from Lynn Fielding’s “The 90% Reading Goal”, In The Book found that children who are regularly enjoying storytime are given a springboard into their education, making them more likely to succeed in the future.

Notably: Children who read at a second to eighth-grade reading level in the third grade have a 77% of graduating high school. Those third graders with a kindergarten or first-grade reading level only have a 27% chance.

In The Book then conducted their own survey, of a thousand parents of children between the ages of 0-5, and asked how many of them read for at least 20 minutes a day to their child.

The results showed that only 18% of parents sit down and read to their children for this length of time daily.

The simple act of reading out loud to a child (even if it is the same book each time) has been proven to develop much more than a good routine, it builds confidence with words. Together you are developing their social skills, inspiring them to use their imagination and forming the base of their educational abilities.

Children who miss out on story time show poorer concentration and discipline.

Other key benefits of reading to your child include giving them longer attention spans and better memory retention. Those not read to miss out on sharing a stronger parent-child bond. Something that should help them as they start school as a secure attachment to a parent or guardian helps children conquer the fear of new places.

Setting Them up for Success

Fielding goes on to write that as your child’s chance of graduating high school increases, as does their earning potential, stating, “the child’s probable increased lifetime earnings increase by $220,000.” This book was published in 1998 with figures from 1995 data, so adjusting for inflation we’re talking about an increase of over half a million dollars over a kid’s lifetime… and I have three of them!

And a boost in her future income can’t hurt, after all, they say it’s your kids who pick your care home…

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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