Storytelling is an ancient oral tradition. Cultures around the world used stories to preserve history and facts. Ursula K. LeGuin, a children’s book author, has said, “There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” The tradition of storytelling continues and today it’s been proven to benefit children’s education and emotional health. Here is how the power of storytelling works.
According to statistics, there are millions of Americans who cannot read. Helping children fall in love with reading at a young age can help them be better prepared for the future, and reduce illiteracy in America. Reading books aloud can help children do just that. In fact, research shows that it can help foster their imagination, expand their vocabulary, develop logical thinking skills, and increase their attention span.
Storytelling also helps with a child’s mental development. Health experts say that children can use storytelling as a way to express themselves, just as they might use their drawings to illustrate how they feel. Their stories are considered to be a symbolic language. If a child feels that they can’t freely express themselves, a counselor or a parent may encourage the child to tell a story about how an animal or magical character feels instead.
Tips to make storytelling time a delightful gift for your family
- The right book. All books are indeed special, but not all are great for reading aloud. The perfect book not only needs to age appropriate, but it also needs dramatic flair such as repetitive phrases that kids can say with you like “I do not like them, Sam-I-am.”
- Timing is everything. If the story is too long you’ll lose the children’s attention, even if the plot is interesting. Keep the story under 10 minutes if you can.
- Sound effects and props. You’re goofy voice is sure to get their attention, but go a step further. Try to incorporate horns, bells, and whistles into your story and even let your kids get in on the action. For other props consider getting stuff animals or toys that are mentioned in the story.
- Practice! As with everything practice makes perfect. The more you practice on the timing and the props, the better your story time will be.