Storybook Waves and Reading Force have officially launched a new partnership that will help children feel close to their parents through story-telling.

The project, supported by funding from The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, enables parents to be offered a free picture book when they record a Storybook Waves CD, and given a Reading Force scrapbook, enriching the child's experience of the story and encouraging them to share it with the rest of the family, at home or away.

Dr Alison Baverstock, Army wife for 30 years, best-selling author, academic, and founder and Director of Reading Force said: "Storybook Waves and Reading Force are united in our support for Service people and their families, and we are both promoting the value of reading and stories to help keep people close. So it’s wonderful to be partnering in this new venture."

The Revd. Simon Springett,CEO of Aggie Weston's, and a former seafaring Royal Navy Chaplain said: "Aggie Weston's has supported storybook Waves since the project was first conceived, and I am delighted to commend the partnership with Reading Force.

"Much more than the sum of it it's parts, this new partnership significantly enhances the support already offered to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary by the two projects. The recorded bedtime stories created through Storybook Waves have up to now supported families primarily during significant periods of separation. Reading Force has brought Service children and families closer together though shared reading between and during deployments."

Maintaining the link between parent and child

Storybook Waves exists to help maintain the link between parent and child, no matter how far apart they may be. With a team of trained volunteers Storybook Waves records parents reading their child a bedtime story, then add a soundtrack to make a personalised CD so that each child can listen to their parent's voice whenever they want.

Reading Force gives Service children a special scrapbook and encourages families to read a book and talk about it, even if a parent is away from home, and then fill in the scrapbook. Reading Force Naval families have found sharing books is a great way to stay connected and gives children and parents something to talk about on the phone, through Skype and FaceTime, and in emails.

For example, Royal Navy Dad Jim Reed used Reading Force while he was away from home to keep in touch with his young daughters. He wrote in an e-bluey: "I am missing you all so much but love hearing all of your voices when we read together...Send me a video and I look forward to talking and reading with you on Skype soon. Love you my darling girls from xDaddyx."

The Reed family have taken part in Reading Force twice and won prizes in the biannual scrapbook competition.

Record your message

Parents can record their Storybook Waves CO and receive a Reading Force scrapbook and book by contacting their local Chaplaincy or HIVE, or by email:info@storybookwaves.org.

Reading Force is a national initiative for all Armed Forces children of all ages, from babies to teenagers. Families can take part whether they are at home together or separated by deployment, training or other reasons: www.readingforce.org.uk