Why Old Bear's Jane Hissey wants to Bring Back Bedtime Stories

Published on: 23 April 2017

Old Bear author and illustrator Jane Hissey explains why she backed one school's campaign to Bring Back Bedtime Stories - and admits that even she has let technology get in the way in the past.

Old Bear

When South Parade Primary School first contacted me, I was shocked to hear that only 25% of their pupils were being read a story at bedtime. This seemed like such a small number and I could see why the school was so keen to launch a Bring Back Bedtime Stories campaign.

I am sure, like me, you can all remember someone close to you reading a bedtime story and just how exciting - and at the same time relaxing - that was.

I have spent the last 30 years writing and illustrating books for young children to share with their parents. Many of those children are now parents themselves and I would like to think they're eager to share the same books with their children.

Bring Back Bedtime Stories banner

Books are a child's window onto the world and sharing a book is your chance to open that window and help them explore what lies beyond.

Reading together in a child's bedroom or another quiet place with no distractions from TV, phones or computers is a lovely, calming and comforting way to end a busy day... for both of you!

Listening to you read will help a child develop their imagination and will relax and motivate them more than almost anything else. Gradually, you'll find that their concentration will improve, they will become happier and sleep better and, best of all, their enjoyment of reading and desire to read for themselves will increase day by day.

Bring Back Bedtime Stories campaign

know from experience how easy it is to let technology interrupt this lovely, shared moment. I was babysitting my young grandchildren the other day and had forgotten my phone was in my pocket. When it rang, I could see the disappointment on the children's faces, but I had to answer it because it was their parents phoning to wish them goodnight.

The concentration was broken, the magic was lost and I was cross with myself for letting a mobile phone intrude on our special time together. I made a mental note to follow the Bring Back Bedtime Reading campaign and put my mobile away when sharing books. It's such a good bit of advice.

And don't stop reading at bedtime when your child can read alone - listening skills are so important, and it just gets more fun when the stories get longer! Read with children, to them and let them read to you. Every minute spent now is important - it's a gift that costs nothing but will bring great rewards in the future.

I am very happy to support the Bring Back Bedtime Stories campaign in any way I can. I have given the school permission to use my illustrations and have been so encouraged by the results the project is having already. Most importantly, it looks as though many, many more children at the school are enjoying a bedtime story than before the campaign was launched.

Happy reading, South Parade Primary - and I do hope Bring Back Bedtime Stories spreads to many other schools.

Tips and advice

Get useful tips and advice about how to read as a family, setting up a great bedtime routine, and how to encourage reading in your school.

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