A happy mother and son read a bedtime story together with a Storypod speaker and Craftie nearby

How to Strengthen Your Child’s Literacy Skills With Bedtime Stories

Phonological Awareness - What is that? And what does it have to do with literacy skills?

Does your child always ask for “just one more” bedtime story? That’s great news! Listening to stories can strengthen your child’s phonological awareness (one of the five elements of early childhood literacy) even before they reach school-age. Phonological awareness is a complicated sounding word, but it simply means: the ability to hear, recognize, and play with the sounds in spoken language.

When your child follows along in a book, sounds out words, repeats words, hears their pronunciation, sees how they are spelled, and hears how words are used in context, their phonological awareness is being developed.

Here are some easy ways to strengthen your child’s phonological awareness with bedtime stories:

  • Read stories that use lots of rhyming (like nursery rhymes). Rhyming is a great way to strengthen your child’s phonological awareness as it helps them hear similar sounds in different words.
  • Choose stories that use alliteration. This repetition of the same speech sound (i.e., Molly Mouse makes many maps) helps your child process the sound and its different uses. It also helps them learn to pronounce the sound.
  • Stretch out the individual sounds in a short word when you say it. Then ask your child to say the word normally. For example: For “map”, say “muh-ahh-puh”. This helps your child put the smaller sounds in a word together. If it’s too hard, switch to a smaller and easier word. The more your child enjoys the experience, the more benefits they achieve. Do this 1 or 2 times at the beginning of their bedtime story, then read the book normally.
A mother, her daughter, and her son all sit together happily reading a story as the daughter holds a Storypod speaker.
In photo: Spike: The Penguin with Rainbow Hair read-along audiobook, Storypod speaker, and interchangeable sleeve

Storypod can support your child’s phonological awareness and thereby ultimately support early literacy skill development in the following ways:

Our read-along audiobooks are a written companion to our audio stories. Hearing the stories aloud while following along in their books helps your child’s phonological awareness. We integrated sound effects that tell your child when to turn the page, or sound out and repeat words, hear the correct pronunciation, see how words are spelled, and hear how words are used in context.

Rhyming is also something we use in a lot of our read-along audiobooks (like Searching for Ooh, Planetpals and Rambee Boo). Your child can hear the rhymes while seeing how they look on the page. Our Sleepi Sheep Craftie even provides a soothing collection of classic lullabies that are perfect for bedtime routines after a long day - in English and en Español.


  1. Saroj Ghoting, Early Childhood Literacy Consultant, The Five Practices And The Early Literacy Components Support Each Other
  2. From Reading Rockets: Playing with Word Sounds: Stretch and Shorten
  3. From Reading Rockets: Reading 101: A Guide for Parents