There are many examples where parents and children are benefiting from Featherbed Tales. Below are a few of the special cases which have been highlighted by our users.
We would love to hear about your special experiences too. Click on a title to read more...
Kickstarting the imagination of a reluctant reader
Noah is two. He doesn't like books and doesn't like to sit down to read a story. Noah's Aunty Bev has recorded a couple of Featherbed books and shared them with him. Mum, Jasmine, has been astonished by Noah's reaction to the books. She said "I have to really engage Noah to make him sit and read a whole book. With the recorded stories, he's instantly engaged."
Around 50% of all children are like Noah and don't like reading but enjoying stories helps children to get the best start in life – with those who are good readers having better life chances. The interactive nature of Featherbed Tales stories helps engage reluctant readers and make stories more personal and meaningful. As his mum reported, “Noah is now asking for his Snap Snap book every bedtime.”
Aunty Bev commented "I really love how I could personalise the story, add Noah’s name and tell him to get ready to Snap Snap with the crocodile. Not only can I be a part of his story times, but I’m also helping him to get a head start.”
Row Row Your Boat To Get Ready For School !
Emma teaches Kestrels (reception class) at a primary school in Derbyshire. Emma’s class love nursery rhymes and she has recorded them singing the Featherbed Tales nursery rhyme books.
Children who don’t know at least 8 nursery rhymes off by heart when they start school tend to fall behind in reading at primary school. Nursery rhymes are hugely important for young children because they help them to recognise sounds and patterns of speech through rhythm and rhyme, building their speech and language skills before learning to read.
Because the recordable books are so easy to share, Emma is including a link in the newsletter which goes to new parents. Through the link, the children can look at the pictures, the words and sing along with the nursery rhymes too.
This way Emma’s next class of excited 4 year olds can get a head start in building their language skills. And not only that, the personal interaction with the teacher and future schoolmates can help children increase familiarity with the school during the important and sometimes stressful transition to school.
Lots of children don’t know nursery rhymes when they start school. This can be for lots of reasons, for example, in families where English is not their first language. Featherbed Tales can provide a way for schools to help children who get less support at home with learning and help build their early language skills. And as Emma’s current class know, you can never know too many nursery rhymes!
Emma commented, “Nursery rhymes are so important for young children. Featherbed Tales is a great tool to help children read along, join in and learn nursery rhymes at home.”
A father and son learning to read together
Ben is a single dad. He has an 18-month-old son, Josh. They live in a rural area without public transport. Ben can't drive and it is difficult for him to find work. He is from an Irish traveller community but is now isolated and lacks a local network of support.
Over time, in discussions with a support worker about learning to drive, Ben has opened up about not being able to read and write, which prevents him from learning to drive and reduces his employment prospects.
Ben is now receiving support to develop his literacy. The support team has identified Featherbed Tales as a useful resource for him. Ben's local library provides all Featherbed Tales' stories free of charge for library members, so the team have been assisting him in joining the library and accessing their resources.
Featherbed Tales can help in several ways; each of our stories has a pre-recorded audio track (voiced by wonderful actor Howard Chadwick) so Ben and Josh can have fun reading together and build confidence with the written words. They can also learn nursery rhymes together and start to create their own recordings, supporting speech and language development as well as reading skills.
In this example, Featherbed Tales has played an important role in helping the library to reach and connect with a family from a community often marginalised, excluded and difficult to reach. In addition Featherbed Tales can help Ben and Josh enjoy storytimes together, for Josh to start to develop the building blocks of early speech and language and enhance reading skills for both of them at the same time.
Memory boxes for the Motor Neurone Disease Association
Featherbed Tales is working with the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association to create beautiful digital story times in the familiar voice of a parent or grandparent, for when their loved one is no longer able to speak. Listening to a story is known to reduce stress and provide reassurance by transporting children to a magical imaginary world. In addition, listening to stories in the voices of those we love brings further comfort to children and, indeed, to all of us.
The MND Association focuses on research, improving access to care and campaigning for those people living with or affected by MND in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This fatal disease affects the brain and spinal cord attacking the nerves that control movement so that muscles no longer work. It is a fast progressing disease and over 80% of people with MND will have communication difficulties, for most this means a loss of voice. Featherbed Tales is working with the MND Association to give families the opportunity to create, capture and store memories of their loved one reading a story. Once created these beautifully illustrated narrated stories can be kept as forever memories and shared with family and loved ones. The simple nature of the recording process (which can be done via mobile phone, tablet and desktop) means that families can create recordings together or narrated individually and play back whenever and wherever they are. Laura Willix, Children and Young Peoples’ Service Development Manager at the MND Association said: “I am so proud of this project. I hope that all of our families take up the offer and record one of these precious stories or poems while they are still able.”
Anyone with MND and their families can access all of the Featherbed Tales' collection free of charge - including stories, nursery rhymes, poems and short stories as well as our recordable greetings cards. This means that individuals can also record greetings cards for special occasions in the future with personal messages in their own voice.
Featherbed Tales are being offered by the MND Association through their counselling services, by request and through their newly launched memory boxes. Supported by the Nick Smith Foundation the MND Association has created a range of memory boxes for families to suit children of different ages. These are filled with a range of activities aimed at prompting memories to be made and captured for the future, enabling children and young people to create a life-long resource to treasure.
At Featherbed Tales we are delighted to be able to offer our full range of stunningly illustrated recordable digital books to individuals with MND and their families through the MND Association free of charge. We hope Eenor Mouse, Little Ellie and their Featherbed friends can bring some storytime magic by connecting families through the voices of their loved ones. We will continue to develop our range of recordable content and functionality and welcome feedback and suggestions from families.
Supporting the wonderful work of Home-start in Suffolk
Collaborating with others as well as bringing storytime joy to children and families is very close to our heart. We welcome the opportunity to partner with like minded organisations and individuals, working together to achieve so much more than the sum of individual parts. We believe this way we can start to address the widening inequality in children's educational outcomes.
We were delighted to be approached by Homestart-in-Suffolk to work with them on their fantastic Character Creations Competition 2022. This wonderful competition which receives thousands of entries each year involves primary schools across Suffolk. For Foundation and KS1, the 2022 competition was based around the Featherbed Tales picture book story "The Lizard's Tail". Our story is about Lizard's friends who all have amazing and special tails, but Lizard doesn't think his tail is special until one day....
Children were asked to draw their own character with a fantabulous tail! We were looking for a bright and colourful character who would fit right into our storybook and who could meet Lizard and all his friends! We were delighted with all the wonderful entries received and Daisy Lowe from Claydon Primary School was our worthy overall winner. Well done Daisy!
All the children in the school took part and Caroline visited Claydon School to present Daisy with her fabulous WINNER's prizes and give certificates to all the wonderful runners up at Claydon Primary School too. Our fabulous runners up from Claydon included Finn, Henry, Toby, Ned and Noah.
Caroline spent the day at Claydon, having worked with the marvellous KS1 English lead, Jayne who developed a wonderful programme of events and activities around the Featherbed Tales stories. This included using the fun fact sheets in our storybooks, exploring animal characteristics, different habitats, creating special recordings of our digital picture books to keep, and of course lots of interactive storytelling and singing. What a great and fun day was had by all!
As part of her prize, Daisy's character creation joined Lizard and his friends in a specially created page which has been included in our digital picture book and in a special reprint of the storybook. Daisy's chameleon looks perfectly at home!
Congratulations to all our great and creative runners up including Molly and Charlie from St. Gregory's, Anastasia from Great Welnetham, Harry, Caitlin, Tabitha and Solly from Waldringfield Primary Schools and Joâo Pedro who is homeschooled. Thanks to everyone who took part and shared with us their fantastic character creations! And thanks especially to Homestart-in-Suffolk for getting in contact with this wonderful idea.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Caroline and Featherbed Tales as partners in the Home-Start in Suffolk Character Creations Competition. Their input when putting the concept together was invaluable and Caroline was a great support throughout, providing some amazing materials for the children to access as part of the competition.
Featherbed Tales is a wonderful idea and we encourage families we work with to explore the service (free of charge) through their local libraries. I am so pleased we have been able to work with them and their energy and passion helped to make our competition a real success.”
Ali Watson – Home-Start in Suffolk
Featherbed Tales is available free of charge for residents in Suffolk, County Durham and London Borough of Newham through their local library.