Narrating Stories to Children
The Hare and the Tortoise, The Thirsty Crow, Jack and the Bean stalk are some of the stories we have grown up hearing to, they are stories that made up a part of our childhood exciting. Even today, we carry these stories and morals we have learnt, as a reminder to retain a level of rationality when dealing with life situations…This is the power of storytelling!
At present, the art of storytelling is rare due to the technological advancements like cell phones, e-books, kindle, etc. that children end up watching stories online. The drastic changes in society where, there are more working parents and nuclear families, parents reading and telling stories is getting very uncommon. To know more about the importance of storytelling, I had a conversation with Ms. Mittal who is a trainer and a preschool teacher, she says;
-Ms. Mittal S. Gandhi (Kidsarium Preschool Co- Founder/ Coordinator/Content Developer/ Early Childhood Care EDucation/Montessori Trainer)
It is imperative for parents to read and narrate stories to their children as, this helps to strengthen the bond between the parent and child. It is important for both parents, to take an active role in reading and narrating stories to their kids. Storytelling builds fundamental values like respect, empathy, forgiveness, honesty and loving everyone around. Through storytelling, parents can also comprehend their child’s personality which can aid in dealing with their day to day behavioral patterns. By reading and narrating stories, children develop their sense of listening and turn out to be exceptional readers and good orators.
Why is it significant for a parent to read stories for their child?
Enhances vocabulary and communication skills
By reading stories, the child gets introduced to novel words and their meanings, children tend to ask certain words which they do not comprehend as you read, so telling them their meanings help them to exercise new words in their speech , and as they understand the meaning, they are able to retain these words much better in their mind. Through storytelling, there is a certain conversation happening between the parent and the child, there is sharing of views and ideas, which helps build stronger relations between them.
Enhances the child’s imagination and broadens their horizons
Children have a very active imagination, telling stories improve the child’s mind and brings different perspectives in his/her ways of thinking. Through stories, children are able to expand their imagination and knowledge.
Builds morals and values
Moral based stories help children understand the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. They learn golden words like sorry, thank you, please, excuse me, etc. and factual or historical based stories give them insights on different cultural backgrounds.
Creates interest in reading and enhances their listening skills
One of the main aspect of storytelling is to improve the child’s listening skills. Children from the age of 3-6 years can grasp knowledge quickly, it’s an age where they tend to talk more and listen less. Narrating stories gives them the practice of listening and builds patience, gradually they develop their keenness towards exploring more stories and shows efforts to read them.
Tips to keep in mind while narrating a story
- Pick a comfortable place for you and your child before narrating a story, create the right setting for storytelling.
- Select story books that are appropriate for the child’s age. Begin with picture books and then gradually to behavioral stories and then to factual and historical tales.
- While narrating a story, give proper facial expressions and make the right sounds, involve the child to be a part of the narration.
- Ask questions like what did you learn from the story? Which is your favorite character? Which part of the story did you like? Engaging your child makes a lot of difference.
- Stories need not be just in books, you can talk and share about your experiences and use props like puppets, photos, toys, etc.
As a parent, the more creative you are, the more fun stories can be for kids. Reading one story every day is a good way to begin, choose a convenient time, pick a good storybook and enjoy storytelling with your little one!
― Dr. Seuss
You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.
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