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Booked up for bedtime therapy

Readers want funny stories told in a Scouse accent, while the authentic voice of the criminal is thought to be cockney

READING is the best cure for stress, and if you read in bed with a Liverpudlian you will get a lorra lorra laughs as well.

Six out of 10 people told a Bedtime Reading Week survey of 1,000 that reading makes them happy. Sixty-five per cent like to read in bed and one in four likes to read in the bath.

One in 10, mostly men, admits to taking books to the loo. Bedtime Reading Week, which ends on Sunday, promotes reading aloud to a child, partner or friend for five minutes a day. With World Book Day (yesterday), it emphasises reading for pleasure for children and adults and the importance for print-beleaguered professionals such as teachers of making time to escape into a book of their choice.

"Bibliotherapy is confirmed as the new therapy," said a spokesman.

Meanwhile, an online poll on asked readers which accent they would most like to hear a funny story read aloud in: Scouse got the vote, but Cockney was voted best for crime. If you want your pupils to listen to more poetry, hire a Welsh or Scottish teacher - these are the most alluring tones for poetry readings after Received Pronunciation, which is also the preferred accent for classic literature and horror.

All primary and secondary schools should have received pound;1 book tokens to distribute to pupils for World Book Day. These can be redeemed by March 30 in participating bookstores (full details on Publishers have produced five limited-edition pound;1 World Book Day titles by children's authors including Jeremy Strong, Diana Wynne Jones and David Almond. Children's laureate Anne Fine this week launched her My Home Library scheme to encourage children to collect books at home.

Bedtime Reading Week events include bookstore storytimes on giant beds and pyjama reading parties in schools - more details on the website. Meanwhile, in another World Book Day survey commissioned by Waterstone's bookshops, only a third of 174 parents of six to 15-year-olds said that they read to their children every day, and nearly half the fathers surveyed had never read to their children.

The National Reading Campaign suggests taking summer holiday reading back to school for Swap a Book day on September 8 (also International Literacy Day), and is encouraging workplaces and organisations (including schools) to hold book-swapping events throughout September. See or email for help planning an event.

Anne Fine, Another Voice, 22

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