Posted by Michelle Casey on 21 Nov 2020

Earlier this week it was announced that the Manchester United and England footballer, Marcus Rashford, is launching a book club and co-creating his own range of non-fiction books. His aim is to promote reading and literacy among children of all backgrounds; he hopes to reach some of the 380,000 children across the UK that have never owned a book. Marcus says of his childhood, “…books were never a thing we could budget for as a family when we needed to put food on the table.” Marcus thought that enjoying a book at bedtime was a fantasy- something he had only seen in films, “There were times where the escapism of reading could have really helped me. I want this escapism for all children.”

There is no denying that enjoying a book at bedtime with our kids is beneficial, but it can be hard to find the motivation every evening. Work, dinner, homework, chores- it’s exhausting. In our house, we have managed to make it part of the evening routine, but it can be a slog at the end of a long day. On a personal note, the hubby has managed to land himself the gig of being transported into the magical world of Harry Potter every evening with our mini 1, while I have fallen into the role of reading The Tiger who Came to Tea with our mini 2 for the 187th time… but who’s counting?

So, we know it’s beneficial but why?


Routine lets kids know what is happening and when; it adds to a sense of security. Enjoying a book in bed signals it is almost time to snuggle down and go to sleep.

Bonding time

Enjoying a book together allows you to go on a journey with your little one- you can enjoy the new characters and places together which is an excellent bonding experience. And in the fast paced world we live in, it’s great to take this time out and focus completely on your little one with no distractions.

Teaching Tool

Books can be used as a teaching tool to teach children about every day scenarios for example going to the dentist or the arrival of a new baby; or things that need to be learnt for example colours, shapes and numbers.


As children listen to a book being read or read a book themselves, they are learning a whole host of new words and new ways to describe the world around them. This allows them to express themselves more clearly.


Life as a child can be stressful: their days are filled with new learning, following rules, meeting expectations, using their ‘listening’ ears, forming social relationships, emotions that accompany these relationships. Escaping in a book can be a very satisfying way to relax at the end of the day.

Delayed Gratification

Chapter books teach delayed gratification: a child must wait for the next chapter- it is not immediate like the swipe of a screen. But their reward will come the next night when they get the next chapter!

Develops Logic Skills

When reading stories which contain repeated phrases, or reading the same story again and again, children learn about patterns, sequences and predicting outcomes which is then transferable to other areas of learning.

Top Reads

  • Llama Llama Red Pyjama by Anna Dewdney

Little llama is getting tucked up in bed for the night by his mama. When mama pops downstairs to finish some jobs, leaving little llama to drop off to sleep, he has a huge tantrum bringing mama racing upstairs. Little llama learns that mama llama is ‘always near even if she’s not right here’.

  • Oi frog! By Kes Gray and Jim Field

A haughty cat educates a confused frog as to where different animals should sit according to rhyme with hilarious consequences.

  • Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne

A little girl goes to visit her friend in the next village, bringing her a gift of 7 tropical fruits. As a result of several mischievous animals she encounters on her journey, her fruits have all gone but they have been replaced by something else. A great way to teach children about tropical fruits and animals.

  • I love you, Stinky face by Lisa McCourt

At bedtime, a little boy tests his mum’s love for him by posing questions such as , “Mama, would you still love me if I was a skunk and I smelt so bad my name was Stinky face?” Each time mum reassures the little boy and tells him the ends to which she would go whether he was a meat-eating dinosaur, a ferocious alligator or a cyclops with one gigantic eye in the middle of his forehead.

  • Dear Greenpeace by Simon James

This ‘enchanting environmental classic’ is about Emily, a little girl who believes she has discovered a blue whale in her garden pond. What follows is a delightful exchange of letters between Emily and Greenpeace.

  • Stickman by Julia Donaldson

Stickman goes on an unintentional adventure where he becomes a bow, a bat, a mast and even firewood but manages to make his way back to the family tree and his ‘stick lady love and stick children three’ just in time for Christmas.

Disclaimer: It was incredibly hard to pick just one of Julia Donaldson’s books! Donaldson rules in our family and spans the generations- I have frequently found my father reading to the end of the book long after the kids have fallen asleep just because he is enchanted by the story.

Local initiative

Whist we are on the subject of books and reading I wanted to let you know about a local fundraising initiative.   My Book Bug,  is currently fundraising for the Epsom & Ewell Foodbank, who would really love to get as many new books into their food parcels as possible, to give a bit extra to help families in this very difficult year.

You can find out how you can get involved click here.

Happy Reading!

Michelle xx

Michelle Casey
Michelle is a newcomer to the borough (since summer 2019) and lives in West Ewell with her husband and two children. She is a part-time primary school teacher and works in various schools in the area. When not teaching, writing, walking or attempting yoga, she is likely to be found at a playground or soft play with her littlies-preferably one that serves good coffee…

Join Our Mailing List