Children can win £1,000 of books for their school by telling some bedtime stories

Children's author Anne Fine OBE will judge the Sleepy Stories competition

Children's author Anne Fine OBE will judge the Sleepy Stories competition

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School children from the across the district are being invited to put pen to paper for a national story writing competition to be judged by renowned children’s author, Anne Fine OBE, and former Children’s Laureate.

The Sleepy Stories by Silentnight campaign aims to encourage families to keep bedtime reading at the heart of their night time routine.

Nearly a third of UK parents only read their children a bedtime story once a week or less, despite 83 per cent of children saying they enjoy being read aloud to and 68 per cent describing it as a special time with their parents.

The competition asks children aged six to 12 to submit a short story of between 250 and 500 words that features the brand’s loveable mascots, Hippo and Duck.

Anne Fine will choose the winning story, which will then be illustrated and published with her foreword.

The finished book will be presented to the winner at a special celebration ceremony at their school hosted by Anne.

The winner will also receive £1,000 worth of books for their school, a brand new bed and a giant Hippo and Duck soft toy.

Nick Booth, marketing director at Silentnight, said: “We believe passionately in the power of a bedtime story, not only is it proven to better literacy skills but it strengthens the bond between parent and child.

“Most of us have fond memories of being read a bedtime story and we want to encourage families to keep the reading and storytelling tradition alive.

“We hope schools and families in the area get behind our competition to encourage kids to love books and have a go at writing their own.”

Anne Fine, whose successful stories include Jamie and Angus Forever and The Return of the Killer Cat, added: “Some of my happiest and most relaxed times as a parent and grandparent have been reading bedtime stories to my children and grandchildren, so I’m delighted to be part of this initiative.

“My daughters, and all four of my grandsons, are passionate readers.

“And I strongly believe that this was as a result of having regular bedtime stories.

“Many children adore writing stories, so every chance they get to write whatever takes their fancy, in their own way, is liberating for them.

“I’m always fascinated by young people’s imaginations so am very much looking forward to reading the entries.”

Entries can be made online at www.silentnight.co.uk/sleepy-stories.

The closing date is Friday, May 20.

Free downloadable teaching resources have been created by Silentnight which will be available to schools, containing fun exercises to help children develop and write their stories and explore characters and plot lines.

For more information visit www.silentnight.co.uk/sleepy-stories