Wednesday, 21 November 2012


I read to my children nearly every day especially at bedtime, I believe it was important, the love of books is great obviously for education, reading skills etc. But its a moment of pure escapism, a time to wind down for children and adults alike, I find great joy reading, it takes me away and is a great hobby, also can be a free hobby if money is tight.

I am featuring Disney's Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy findings and tips on reading with families and also am giving away a Winnie The Pooh book and DVD. 

Christmas is a time for family; from throwing open the doors to welcome children and grandchildren, to travelling near or far to pay a festive visit. There are opportunities for storytelling aplenty at this time of year; however research from Disney has shown that the amount of time families commit to reading stories is lapsing, with only a tiny margin (3%) of parents and grandparents reading to their children during the festive season.

The silver surfer storytellers
While grandparents are beginning to embrace new technologies with a quarter (25%) regularly reading stories down the phone to their grandchildren, and almost a third (29%) telling stories over Skype/video call. In response to this, Disney, has created helpful tips and tricks via the Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy on how to put children at ease at bedtime, whether in their home or at a grandparents’ house this Christmas. The tips are offered by the Disney Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy Panel made up of celebrity mum and presenter, Zoe Ball, child psychologist Emma Kenny, and Disney’s Justine Finch.

Top tips for festive storytelling for grandparents from the panel:
Storytelling during sleepovers at grandparents’ house:
  Maintain a familiar bedtime routine in order to put grandchildren at ease whilst away from their usual home comforts. A bedtime routine has always been about creating a safe, warm and enjoyable haven. Make sure that children are in their comfiest pyjamas and understand that it’s wind-down time before going to bed
  Set the festive scene for story time and make it cosy and inviting, a toasty fire by the Christmas tree is guaranteed to set the Christmas mood just right!
 Ask grandchildren to write their own story about their Christmas holidays with their grandparents which they can re-read when they return home. 

Storytelling in the child’s home:
  Use the festive season to strengthen relationships with grandchildren. Having a regular time slot each day when you sit down together and share a story is a fantastic way of spending quality time
 When visiting their home over the holidays, make a conscious effort to fit in to the children’s bedtime routine and follow story time patterns to maintain consistency and put children at ease
  If children are shy it’s a good idea to get parents involved for the first few festive tales to put children at ease until story time with grandparents becomes second nature
  Inject a bit of fun and expression into the narrative; this is a great way to keep children engaged. Think about ways to incorporate expression into the stories you are reading, whether it is through funny voices for different characters, animated facial expressions like looking frightened or excited and include lots of gestures.

Storytelling from afar:
 Embrace modern technology to bridge the geographical divide. If it is impossible to be with your children this Christmas, storytelling can still be done over the phone or through video messaging - stories can still be dramatised just as effectively on the phone and it’s a great novelty for any child to see their family on screen!
  Storybook apps are also a great way to allow parents and grandparents to record their voice reading the seasonal story, enabling children to listen to them, even if they are in a different time zone and unable to come to the phone .

“Disney has a rich heritage in bringing the tales of Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood to life, whether through traditional books or through digital technology. The Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy is an online resource which we’ve created to support families across the UK to help inject life into storytime and to create rich, shared storytelling experiences that families can enjoy together,” comments Justine Finch, at Disney.

The Disney Winnie the Pooh Storytelling Academy is a valuable online resource where parents and grandparents who face storytelling challenges can go to pick up tips and tricks from our panel of

Additionally, Robert Webb stars in Tales of Friendship with Winnie the Pooh, which launched on 15th October and is broadcast on the Disney Junior channel.

* Survey carried out by YouGov of 1,000 parents and grandparents in the UK with children under six in August 2012.


  1. I can't wait until my grandchildren are old enough to come & stay, preferably not all at one lol.
    But I read with Jake via Skype when I can get him to sit still long enough but he's beginning to get it.
    We both have the same book & his mummy turn the page at the right time, I love Skype for giving me this chance to be in his life.

  2. I totally agree that reading is so important. I've been so busy that this has lapsed - must really try and fit the time in!