CHILDREN aged between five and 11 are being urged to enter a competition to write a bedtime story with the winners getting their creations published.
The contest has been organised by the Book People and the winner will have their book published by Little Tiger and illustrated by top illustrator Alison Brown who will also be one of three judges.
Young authors should create a picture book on the theme of friendship and, as well as Alison on the judging panel, will be head judge Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkelman and Absolute Radio presenter Christian O’Connell.
Campaign ambassador Christian O’Connell said: “My daughters are now ten and 13, but I used to love reading to them at bedtime.
“It was always a really nice way of calming down and felt like a full stop on the day.
“It was always something that I really looked forward to.”
The competition comes amidst shocking statistics released this week which show 28 per cent of parents across the Midlands do not spend any time reading with their primary school-age children.
The figures which come from a YouGov survey of 448 parents in the UK commissioned by The Book People also found 58 per cent of Midlands parents spend less than an hour a week reading to their children, 58 per cent of children have their own tablet while 44 per cent have or share a smartphone.
61 per cent of Midlands parents use a tablet, mobile, TV or a film when distracting their child compared to only ten per cent which give their son or daughter a book to read.
Sarah Walden, Book People Group Buying and Merchandising Director, said: “The findings from the survey are both intriguing and alarming and show that as a nation we can certainly do more to encourage the next generation of readers and authors.
“Electronic devices are always competing for everyone’s attention, but spending a couple hours a week reading with your children works out at less than 20 minutes a day, and allows you to spend true quality time with them.
“At Book People, we’re passionate about spreading the joy of reading and supporting child literacy, and this year’s Bedtime Story Competition is another great way to engage children in reading, writing and the joy of storytelling.”
The figures mean the UK is ranked only 22nd in the year for reading within the 2015 Pisa school rankings, putting Britain behind countries such as Estonia, Slovenia, Poland and Australia.
Youngsters have until October 2 to enter the Book People’s Bedtime Story Competition.
Visit thebookpeople.co.uk/bedtimestory to find out how to enter this year’s contest.
Stories should be 200 to 800 words in length and on the website there are also hints and tips for storywriting.
There will be a winner in each of the age categories, who will receive £250 of books from Book People for them and for their school. From the three category winners, one lucky winner will be chosen to win a publishing contract with Little Tiger, who will turn their entry into a fully illustrated picture book, to be released and sold exclusively at BookPeople.co.uk in 2018.