Dads Do It Better: The Bedtime Stories Edition

Reading is something we all do every day. It seems like a simple thing, doesn't it? Every time you see a bottle of shampoo or a cereal box you read what's in front of you. It feels like such a small thing, can it that crucial? Well, let's take a look.

Reading to kids

Studies show that reading to kids - even pre-verbal babies - has enormous positive effects on their language development. It affects everything: the speed with which they start talking, their vocabulary, even the development of their imaginations. But while it's important for all caregivers to read to kids, new studies show that it's especially helpful for dads to do so. And we couldn't be more thrilled.

Let Dad read!

So many people have fond memories of their dads reading to them as kids. Although it's quite likely that both parents probably read to children, it's seen as a feminine activity. So when men do it, dads, in this case, it's more memorable. But that's not all. Studies show that kids pay more attention and engage better with the story, the words and the experience when they are read to by a man. Men have different perspectives and ask more lateral imaginative questions than female readers do.

Keep it up

And it's a habit you can keep up with for the better part of a decade. Don't think that reading aloud to kids has to stop once they can read on their own. Reading through modern classics like Harry Potter can be incredibly enjoyable for the whole family. So now we've established how great reading is - and that more dads should do it - let's get to the important part: the books.

Infant (0-1)

In this age group, look for short, rhyming books with simple, primary colours. Board books are great, and anything with textures for them to feel with their hands will help them understand the world better.

  • Anything by Roger Priddy.
  • Classic board book, Goodnight Moon.
  • Books about animals, day and night, families, etc..

Toddler (1-4)

This stage is more fun! Now you can start with more complicated stories, but stick to stories that have a lyrical or rhyming quality (it doesn't hurt that this can also lull kids to sleep).

  • Julia Donaldson is enormously popular for a very good reason. The Gruffalo, The Detective Dog, The Snail and the Whale; they're all fun to read and fun to listen to.
  • Local books, such as Eric the Baboon and Percy, Pamela & Peter, by publisher Lulu & Tee, feature real-life stories about animals and environmental causes.
  • We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen is a classic.

Child (4-7)

This is a great time to get into Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. Stories can get a bit longer now, and get more involved the older the child gets.

  • The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda. There's hardly a bad Roald Dahl children's book, to be honest.
  • Enid Blyton might seem a little old fashioned, but The Magic Faraway Tree continues to be an enthralling story, while The Famous Five and The Secret Seven are just as much fun now as they ever were.
  • The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame is also an oldie, but a goodie.
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann.

Pre-teen (7-12)

Now you can look at classics and more modern classics.

  • Harry Potter (anything by JK Rowling).
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis.
  • The Indian in the Cupboard series by Lynne Reid Banks.
  • Toms Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce.
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Oh, and don't despair if it feels like you'll spend all your money on books: use your library! Most libraries have a kids section, and once your kids can be trusted not to rip the pages out, it's a wonderful resource that even the librarians wish people would use more.

We hope we've convinced you. Reading is such a fun thing to do with kids, from very young to older than you might think. It creates little pockets of time together, and the ability to travel on adventures and have fun without even leaving the bed. And finding something that dads are uniquely better at seems like a real win in our book (pun entirely intended).


  1. Bedtime stories - \xe2\x80\x98it's better if dad reads them':
  2. Dad's reading is a new chapter of child language development:
  3. The scientific benefits of dads reading bedtime stories:
  4. Why it's important to read aloud with your kids, and how to make it count:
  5. Reading Books to Babies:


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