We put the children to bed, turn off the lights, sing a couple of songs, and sneak out of their rooms. Ava is younger, and is almost always asleep by the time we finish the process and stays that way. Michael, on the other hand, often will pop back up after we leave and play a while. I don't have a huge problem with that. He plays completely independently and puts himself back down when he's done. His room is a disaster in the morning, with legos and playmobil everywhere, but I feel that's a small price to pay for the independence. We look to see if his light is still on when we go to sleep. If it is, we just go in and shut it off.
At about 9:30 one night recently we heard the tell tale thumping of his feet through the living room ceiling (his room is above the living room). So we knew he was up and moving about. It was a little late and he had been up and playing for a hour and a half so my husband went up to settle him. This time, instead of finding him absorbed in legos or playmobile, he found Michael in his bed surrounded by books. He was reading a Mr. Putter and Tabby book to himself. He looked up at my husband and said, "I've been reading THOUSANDS of books!"
He's been reading remarkably well for a five year old just starting kindergarten for quite some time, but he didn't have the "bug" yet. He wasn't quite fluent or confident enough to just pick up a book and read it to himself for pleasure. A couple of weeks ago, when re-organizing his bookshelf I sorted them into two sections. On the left are books for adults to read to children. On the right are books for children to read to adults. All the books on the right are "Michael's books" - books he can read independently.
Seeing that half of the books are ones he can read on his own was powerful for him. Now, each night, he chooses a couple of books for me to read to him and he chooses one from his side of the shelf to read to me. I was pretty pleased at that progress. It was apparently the last little encouragement he needed. Now he's spending his free time reading - for fun. I am so very happy.