BEDTIME STORIES (free audiobooks)


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One of my absolute favourite childhood memories is sitting in my cousin’s room listening to her record of Badjelly the Witch.

This Spike Milligan story was huge when I was growing up. For some reason Kiwis really took to this kooky tale of two children escaping an evil witch, with the help of an assortment of magical creatures. Since the audio version was released in 1974, over 40,000 copies have been sold in New Zealand – not bad when you think we only have a population of 4.5 million!

There was just something about the audio version that made the story so much more magical. Perhaps it was because – without pictures telling you what to see – you really let your imagination go wild.

I can still envisage Mudwiggle the worm fending off a hungry shark by hitting him on the nose, and sending him to Sharks’ Nose Hospital; I can even remember the exact tone and cadence of Spike Milligan’s voice as he narrated it.

I first got back into audiobooks when Big Sis was having trouble sleeping (although they were now CD’s rather than records).

She’s a natural night owl and just couldn’t switch off her brain, so I bought some bedtime stories to listen to. She loved it so much I got her some more audiobooks and downloads for her birthday – everything from Paddington Bear and Fantastic Mr Fox, to Matilda and The Magic Faraway Tree.

I just loved hearing her listening to stories I used to enjoy at the same age, and the fact she was using her imagination and developing her literacy skills in a way that was fun and enjoyable for her.

Then I had her school progress meeting, and her teacher independently suggested she listen to books being read out loud, so she could hear the rhythm of the story. Perfect! 

Since then, Big Sis has listened to audiobooks in bed every night. Not only has her own reading, language and comprehension improved, and her love of books blossomed, but she’s also getting to sleep much easier, as her mind is being given the chance to slowly unwind and switch off.

I love the fact she watching less of the iPad and truly exercising her mind. She’s not just learning the story, she’s improving her powers of concentration. She’s learning about different accents, and inflections, and how to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words by their context in the story.

One of my favourite things to do now is ask her about the book at breakfast time, and watching her face light up as she recounts all the adventures she heard in bed the night before. What I’m also seeing now is that this love of audio storytelling is igniting her interest in traditional books too; she’s reading a lot more of her own volition – sometimes out loud, and sometimes in her head (separate, but equally important skills).

So I was thrilled to hear that Carpetright had decided to celebrate World Book Day by teaming up with to offer free audiobooks for then entire month of March. All you have to do to is visit the BEDTIME STORIES CAMPAIGN PAGE to enjoy these classic tales (why not check out their fab range of creative kids’ beds while you’re there?).

First up is Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant; also included are How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Leopard Got His Spots, and Sadie’s Broken Heart. If you visit the Storynory website you’ll find dozens more tales to download and listen to.

And, if you vote for your favourite kids’ story by Tweeting the title with the hashtag #BedtimeStories you’ll go in the draw to win £500 to spend at Carpetright, and an Amazon Fire Kid’s Edition tablet – perfect for downloading even more books!

So, don’t just sit there – start listening to your free audiobook tonight, and enjoy some #BedtimeStories of your own.

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