Childhood is one of the most magical periods of our lives. We don’t always appreciate it, but many of us would love to be able to go back in time and relive those precious moments. While this is not possible (yet!), we think it is vital to understand the importance of storytelling in childhood, so we can give the best possible start to the next generation of children.
Psychology tells us that storytelling in childhood leads to children being more successful at school and in their professional development than their peers who did not have this start. The advantages of reading have been known for many years now; however, a lot of people still forget that the simplest and most effective way to give a great intellectual start to your child is to read to them as much as possible.
In today’s modern age, access to books is easier than ever before. They are available in digital and non-digital formats, as audio books, illustrated, paperback and pop-up versions, with puppets and masks to compliment the experience. So, why is storytelling still not as popular as it should be? It may well be that we underestimate the importance of reading in general; easy enough to do if you have never been surrounded by books, or no one has ever made an effort to make books interesting and appealing to you.
In order to help you understand the advantages of reading to the development of children’s creativity and their success in life, we will list the main reasons why storytelling is one of the best things to do…
Reading stories to children enables them to imagine worlds and creatures that are out of the ordinary. It allows them to draw pictures in their heads that are exciting and full of adventures. A keen and active imagination is essential for a writer; reading to your children could hone their writing skills before they’ve picked up their first pencil! If you are unaware of the power of your imagination, you are more likely to be less confident than your peers. It also means that you won’t be able to participate actively in role play and socialise on the same level as your friends. Storytelling is all about your imagination and the lack of boundaries as to what you can create.
Storytelling in childhood as a super power
If there is one quote that sums up the “super powers” of storytelling in childhood, it would be this one by Janet Litherland: “Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.” We could not agree more. Reading stories is an amazing way to make sense of the world you live in. They build not only your knowledge, but your emotional intelligence.
Creating a bond
Whether you are a parent, a teacher or a childminder, you probably already know how intimate and exciting storytelling time could be. Storytime gives you a unique time one-on-one with a child. Children are naturally drawn to stories and hearing them from an adult makes them even more special. You don’t have to be a professional narrator to make storytelling a truly spectacular event to a child. You only have to pick the right book and everything else will fall into place.
Knowledge makes you confident
Even if you have never liked reading stories to your children or listening to them as a child yourself, you will probably agree that knowledge makes you confident. You can’t ever have an argument without knowing some facts. You can’t know some facts without reading them somewhere in the first place. Facts don’t have to be boring – bury them within a story and not only will children be riveted, but they will remember them for a long time later. Knowledge is power – if you want to be confident and have the ability to stand your ground and raise a point, a story is your best way forward.
If you are still unsure that reading and storytelling is as great as we describe it, why not visit a storytelling event? If you can make the trip, we definitely recommend you check out Shakespeare’s Globe Family Literary Festival, Shakespeare’s Telling Tales, which is taking place in London from the 29th – 31st July. It highlights the importance of storytelling in childhood, and with author talks from the likes of Michael Morpurgo and Malorie Blackman, to creative workshops and storytelling sessions for all ages, everyone will be able to find something to suit their creative needs! Let us know if you go and share your experience in the comments below. In the meantime, we would love to hear your views on the importance of storytelling in childhood…
Interested in furthering your creative writing skills online? Why not find out more about the Creative Writing for Beginners and Constructing a Novel courses from Penguin Random House, delivered to you 100% online by The Writers’ Academy?
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