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Bedtime stories can boost your child's love of reading
Experts agree that reading bedtime stories to your children can help them get better at reading and enjoying reading overall. But it looks like there's been a decline. - photo by Herb Scribner
Once upon a time, a parent decided to read a magical new bedtime story to his or her child before bed. That same child went on to be one of the best readers in all the land.

Sound far-fetched? Its not. Experts say reading bedtime stories can be the key to helping children learn how to read, according to The Guardian.

The joy of a bedtime story is the key to developing a love of reading in children, Frank Cottrell Boyce, an award-winning author, told The Guardian.

Some students first experience with books comes from school, which can be a very negative experience, The Guardian reported.

Theyre being taught to read before anyone has shared with them the pleasure of reading so what motivation have they got to learn? Boyce told The Guardian. Even the ones that attain high levels of literacy (whatever that is) are in danger of achieving that without ever experiencing the point of reading.

Boyces suggestion isnt far off. A report released from Scholastic earlier this year found that children are more likely to read for fun on their own if their parents read to them at home, according to The New York Times.

In fact, the report said that 41 percent of frequent readers who were between 6 and 10 years old also had parents who read to them at home. But just 13 percent of infrequent readers were told stories by their parents, the Times reported.

And children are known to do better in school when they read on their own. A 2014 study found that children who enjoy books and reading from an early age are more likely to do better in reading at school, according to the UKs Daily Mail. Those children will also have improved abstract thinking, general cognition and pattern finding, Daily Mail reported.

We found that those who are better at reading tend to be smarter later in their development, psychologist Stuart Ritchie told the Daily Mail. Even at the age of seven you can already see the effect.

But parents are reading bedtime stories to their children less and less. Last week, a survey from YouGov and childrens book publisher Scholastic found that parents stop telling their children bedtime stories once those children learn how to read on their own, even though 83 percent of children enjoy hearing those stories, according to The Guardian.

And 68 percent of children said bedtime stories offered them time to bond with their parent, The Guardian reported.

The decline in bedtimes stories is nothing new. Back in 2012, one in 10 parents admitted to reading a bedtime story to their child more than once every six months, BBC reported.

Still, children seem to learn the most when theyre read stories from their parents, even from a young age.

In fact, 2009 data from the National Center for Education Statistics found that 26 percent of children who were read to at least three or four times a week could recognize the entire alphabet, according to the National Education Association. Meanwhile, 14 percent of youngsters who were read to less frequently could recognize all the letters.

Similarly, Anne Fishel, a professor at Harvard Medical School, wrote in a piece for Quartz that telling stories out loud to children can help youngsters learn how to read, especially if theyre told at the dinner table.

Fishel said dinner table stories often inspire children to use new vocabulary words and learn how to tell stories.

Rare words, those that go beyond the 3,000 most common ones, are 10 times more likely to show up in dinner conversation than in storybooks, Fishel wrote. When parents tell a story at the dinner table about their day or recount a funny family anecdote, they usually include many words that a young child hasnt yet learned but can understand from the context of the story.