Stage fright may be causing parents to close the book on story time, according to a survey conducted by Chessington World of Adventures Resort of 2,000 parents and children across the country, with over a third of parents (36%) admitting to feeling nervous or self-conscious about reading stories to their children.
Widely acknowledged as an essential part of a child’s daily routine, yet story time is not on the agenda for one in seven (14%).
In response to these findings, Chessington will introduce Story School, a storytelling masterclass hosted by professional storyteller, Kevin Graal, who will guide parents on the most effective story time techniques.
“You don’t need to be a brilliant reader or storyteller to read a children’s book well or tell a story,” says Kevin. He adds: “You just need to be playful and remember how much children love and need storytelling. Then you can relax and really enjoy the experience of sharing stories with your children!”
Chessington’s research also found over half of children (55%) find story time more exciting when parents get into character, using different voices and even costumes. As part of Chessington’s Story School initiative, Kevin will teach parents simple skills to help them feel confident when reading and find their voice to bring stories to life to inspire their children’s imagination.
A Theme Park, like Chessington, might not normally be a leading voice in the world of children’s literacy. However, as the Surrey Resort brings to life yet another children’s book this year, author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s Room on the Broom, it wanted to understand the current state of play of story time in the UK, fully aware of the importance of literacy for its young guests.
Chessington World of Adventures Resort, said: “It’s saddening to hear these statistics, especially as research has shown children who are read a bedtime story from their parents as infants perform better in maths and English at the age of 16 than their peers who did not*.
“We hope Story School will give parents helpful tips that they can use at home, so story time becomes a fun and exciting part of their family’s everyday routine.”
With nearly half of children (47%) saying they favour Mum to read to them over any other family member, Chessington will welcome Binky Felstead to its Story School later this month.
Opening on Sunday March 10, Room on the Broom – A Magical Journey is the second children’s book Chessington has brought to life by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, following in the footsteps of the Resort’s Gruffalo River Ride Adventure.
For more information, visit Chessington.com/2019.
Could your child be the next J K Rowling or David Walliams? Children between 10 and 14 years old are in with a chance to win great prizes courtesy of The Belfry Shopping Centre which has teamed up again with Redhill’s The Warwick School to kick off this year’s Reigate and Banstead Writes Short Story Competition.
Great prizes to be won include a Kindle Paperwhite for the winner with a Basic Kindle for the runner-up and a £30 voucher from Waterstones at the Belfry for the third-placed winner.
Belfry Manager, Andy Nash, said, “We’re delighted to support this fantastic competition for young novelists of the future! This competition gives children the opportunity to show off their writing skills and always attracts outstanding entries. It’s great to read the fascinating stories set in locations around Redhill, Reigate, Merstham, Horley and the immediate surrounding area. Good luck to everyone who enters.”
This popular annual competition attracted hundreds of entries last year from children in the local community. The idea is simple, write a fictional story of not more than 1,000 words set within the borough of Reigate and Banstead.
So it’s time for all talented young writers out there to get their creative hats on and let their imaginations run wild! Have an army of ducks taken over Priory Park? Has a time portal opened in Reigate Castle Grounds? Are secret spaceships being built at Redhill Aerodrome? Did a picnic turn into a comic adventure on Banstead Common?
Closing date is 28 February 2019. Children can hand their stories into their school with an entry form attached or can send them to Kay Hymas, R&B Writes, The Warwick School, Noke Drive, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 4AD.
The judges will make their decision by April 2019.The winners will be notified and prizes handed out at a special prize-giving ceremony.
For the entry form and more information about the competition, visit