Our four-year-old loves to read before bed. Reading has been baked into his bedtime routine since he was a baby. He takes a bath, brushes his teeth, gets his pajamas on, picks some books, and then we snuggle up to read.
I always let him pick the books. I tell him how many we have time for, and he makes the picks. He usually goes through phases of reading three same three to five stories ecru night for a couple weeks, until a new set is chosen.
I usually read to him. He loves hearing each story told in a certain cadence. He asks questions about the words he hears and the pictures he sees.
For a while, I tried to teach him basic reading as we went, sounding out the letters of simple words like “dog” as we read. He was not into it. He would just like to be read to, thank you very much.
He tells fantastic stories to himself as he plays, and he tries to tell us about his imaginary party house we have yet to see.
A couple months ago, I was worried that he would be slow to pick up reading on his own. After talking about it with my wife, I realized that was a premature idea.
For one, he’s still too young to really grasp reading on his own, without being a prodigy. And two, my mom read too me every night before bed until I was much older than he is now. Maybe 10? And even once I started reading too myself, I read a lot of the same books over and over.
The Redwall series, various Calvin and Hobbes collections, Animorphs, probably some Roald Dahl.
I didn’t pick up The Hobbit until I was 12, and I didn’t expand my reading list much beyond what was assigned to me in school until I was in college.
I was a late bloomer as a reader. And the four-year-old might be, too.
I’m cool with that. It may just give me more time to read with him. And the chance to share some of the novels I loved as a kid.
He loves stories. He loves hearing them told, and he loves telling them, even to himself. I’m just here to listen.