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Bedtime Story Research Press Release

14 September 2011

Nestlé Munch Bunch Encourages Parents to Rediscover the Joy of Storytelling

September 6th 2011: As literacy levels continue to fall in Ireland,* a new survey has found that only 31% of Irish children have a story read to them as part of their daily bedtime routine. One in six parents admitted that they never read to their children at all. The survey carried out by Direction Research on behalf of Nestlé Munch Bunch looks at the importance of reading with children to build an interest in reading and writing and to strengthen the parent child bond.

Research** shows that children who are read to on a regular basis before they start school are more likely to succeed, however, almost 60% of Irish parents surveyed said longer working hours had left them too tired, with almost half agreeing there is too much to do at home to spend time reading with their child. 61% of parents surveyed agreed that bedtime is a stressful time of day but a set bedtime routine incorporating bedtime stories will ease children to sleep.

The psychologist’s view
Dr Mark Harrold, Child Psychologist and spokesperson for Nestlé Munch Bunch said: “Bedtime reading should be part of every child’s nighttime routine. Aside from the obvious benefits of encouraging reading at an earlier age, it helps children drift off into a restful night’s sleep. It provides a very natural bridge from the chaos of the day to the serenity of night.  And it affords parents one of the few the opportunities during the day to enjoy such a level of intimacy with the child.
By reading to their children, parents are feeding their minds and at the same time they are assisting the children to have a more restful night’s sleep.  And a good night’s sleep means a happier child the next day.  So the importance of bedtime reading cannot be overstated.”
Dr. Harrold’s Tips for a Restful Bedtime Routine
1. Parents should make weekly trips to the library with their children so that children can enjoy a variety of books to fire their imagination.
2. Aim to have as consistent a bedtime routine as possible with few deviations.
3. Keep it to one story each night.  Otherwise you could end up with a very long bedtime routine indeed!
4. Make the bedtime story the last activity before lights are turned off.
5. Always inform your children well in advance that bedtime is impending.
6. Ensure to keep updating your book collection on a par with your child’s age/ability level.

To put storytelling back on the agenda, Nestlé Munch Bunch is launching the Munch Time Storytelling competition to encourage adults to recapture the magic of storytelling. The competition will give Mum or Dad, big brother or sister, indeed anyone with a flair for the creative, an opportunity to embrace telling tales and see their own stories brought to life in a book. Visit for tips from children’s author Benji Bennett and to see how you can participate and bring storytelling back to life.

The children author’s view
The campaign is supported by Benji Bennet, author of popular children’s series, including Before You Sleep said: “Besides giving them the gift of reading there are a million different reasons to read to your children. For me there is no better way to build an eternal loving bond with your child by snuggling under the covers at bed time and reading them their favourite story before they go to sleep happy and content as part of a relaxed bedtime routine. Children grow up very quickly so don’t postpone this wonderful experience and do it today.”


For further information including research statistics, images and interview opportunities with Dr Mark Harrold or author Benji Bennett, please contact:
Michelle Toner, Fleishman-Hillard, 01 6188420 or 085 725 9809

Notes to editors:
* National Adult Literacy Agency: “According to the last international survey, one in four or 25% of Irish adults have literacy difficulties. This compares with 3% in Sweden and 5% in Germany. Most adults with literacy difficulties can read something but find it hard to understand official forms or deal with modern technology. Some will have left school confident about their numeracy and reading skills but find that changes in their workplace and everyday life make their skills inadequate. The literacy skills demanded by society are changing all the time.

**NALA policy paper on family literacy: Children’s literacy development remains a pressing and critical issue. The vital role played by parents in children’s education at all stages is gaining recognition.

The European Family Learning Network highlights evidence that demonstrates that parental engagement has a positive effect on a child’s academic performance at both primary and secondary levels. This results in improved school achievement, greater cognitive ability, greater problem-solving skills, increased school enjoyment and attendance, and fewer behavioral issues. Research also suggests that parental involvement in a child’s learning has more of an impact on a child’s educational outcomes than any other demographic measure, including social class, level of parental education or income (Feinstein and Symons, 1999).

A report published by OECD in December 2010 ranked the reading ability of Irish 15-year-olds in 17th place out of 39 countries, compared to 5th place in 2000.

338 parents of children aged 0 – 13 years participated in the Munch Bunch poll.
Direction Research conducted this research on the panel

Closing date for entries Friday, October 28th 2011
Winner will be notified by Friday, November 4th 2011

Overall Prize
€1,000 cash prize
Advice about writing for children from children’s author Benji Bennett
A printed copy of your story to share with all the family
Their story published online at

Runners Up Prize
Two runners up will be chosen to win a €100 book voucher each
Their story published online at

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