“My house is a squash and a squeeze!”

 “Please don’t chat to the bus driver!”

 “We can all dance,” he said, “if we find the music that we love…”

These were lines from bedtime stories that were read over and over in my house during the years when my kids were small.

For a bit of fun you can score yourself 10 points for each book you correctly identified! (answers at the bottom of the article)

Love or hate them we know that these stories are an important part of our little ones’ bedtime routine. Although we groan inwardly when they choose the same story we have read every night for the last six weeks, those moments we snuggle down into bed with our children are often some of the most special times of the day (and not only because they signal that shortly they will be fast asleep and we can drink the glass of wine we’ve been promising ourselves all day!)

But, Storytime does not need to end as we say goodbye to picture books. We don’t need to think that when our kids learn to read themselves that our days reading aloud to them need to stop. You only have to remember the good old days of Jackanory to know that even older children appreciate Storytime too.

Every year during December we have chosen to read a Christmassy book together as a family. My kids are now aged 14, 11 and 9 and I think my eldest has less tolerance for this tradition now, but for many years it has been an important part of our festive celebrations. (For recommendations of seasonal books to read in December check out our list at the bottom of the page.)

I also took on the not-so-small undertaking of reading the whole Harry Potter series to my boys a few years ago. I knew that, whilst they were reasonably enthusiastic readers, they lacked the reading stamina to manage to plough through the series under their own steam so we read them together. There were many times I regretted the decision (especially during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!) and wished that I had just bought the CD boxset and left it in the capable hands of Stephen Fry, but actually most of the time I enjoyed reliving the moments with them and seeing their faces as the plot twisted and turned.

I hope that my kids will remember the stories we read aloud together and I know that I will treasure the memories of those special moments at the end of the day shared with them and a book.

Check out great Christmas stories to read aloud with your children –

A Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig

The Ice Monster – David Walliams

The Chrismassaurus – Tom Fletcher

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

The Gruffalo’s Child – Julia Donaldson

And the lines from those books at the top of the article were –

A Squash and a Squeeze – Julia Donaldson

Please Don’t Chat to the Bus Driver – Shen Roddie

Giraffes Can’t Dance – Giles Andreae

Which books do you remember reading over and over again?