Nick Jr. in bedtime stories push

Nickelodeons pre-school channel Nick Jr is to launch a national campaign encouraging parents to share bedtime stories with their children.

Once Upon a Bedtime will encourage viewers to write their own bedtime stories for young children and rolls out in the first week of October.

As part of the campaign, animated short films of childrens stories will air each bedtime on the channel and there will be a dedicated microsite on nickjr.co.uk, which will feature tips and advice for entrants and downloadable entry forms. Television presenter Donna Air, childrens author Michael Rosen and founder of the Netmums website, Siobhan Freegard, have been brought on board to support the initiative.

Competition runners-up and the winner will have their stories turned into a short animation feature, to be screened early next year on Nick Jr. The overall winner will also receive a creative writing weekend break and 250 worth of book vouchers.

Julia Strong, deputy director of the National Literacy Trust, says of the campaign: The importance of sharing books with your child cannot be overstated. Research shows there is no better way of helping your childs development, because reading with your child helps develop language skills and emergent literacy. And theres no better time to read with your child than bedtime.

Nick Jr developed the campaign following recent research by the Office of National Statistics, which showed parents devote just 19 minutes of their time to their children a day, with a further 16 minutes spent looking after their children as a "secondary activity"(ONS Time Use Survey).

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