Storytelling has been around since time began- it was the way people passed down their history and legends before we started writing and storing things. Storytelling is still a valid and important part of society.
Encouraging storytelling in your family builds imagination. It helps children to think outside the square. It helps them to stretch their imagination, especially when they’re told that anything is possible in a story.
Storytelling is different to just reading a book or a story to your children. Storytelling can involve the whole family, everyone being involved in the story making process. Something that comes to mind in this case is a movie, Bed Time Stories with Adam Sandler. If you don’t know the movie, Adam Sandler’s character’s life changes when he starts telling his niece and nephew bed time stories. They were pretty special stories because they magically came true.
This is the sort of effect we want to have on children when storytelling. Children have an amazing capacity to dream and imagine. If bed time stories were told rather than read, everyone can have a chance to say what they want in the story.
Telling oral stories has a place in life. It is especially used in tribal family groups in order to pass down legends and family history. In the past, these stories passed down morals and values to children in this process and because these stories are told from when the child is very young, they subconsciously remember it and it will hopefully guide the way they live or behave.
As children grow, they are able to take part in the storytelling process, as long as they know that anything’s possible in a story. There should be ground rules- turn taking and one person at a time and all that sort of thing, but the most important rule should be that they are allowed to say anything- they have to use their imagination.
Storytelling has even more advantages- it helps to improve a child’s literacy skills and helps them to predict what is going to happen next- they learn to tell stories, they learn to use their imagination and they learn to predict, to look into the future. This is a skill that they’ll be able to use in other areas of life.
Children will also be able to learn vital life lessons from storytelling- especially story telling as a group. They will learn that their a consequences for actions and that when you make a choice or a decision on something, it affects more than just them. Story telling can also boost a child’s confidence and will help them to build on their vocabulary and language skills. Story telling will help children to develop communication and conversation skills.
While reading stories to kids is great and does help them to an extent, actual story telling where it’s a complete creation on its own will help to develop far more skills. Telling stories is a way to tell history- get out family photos and tell of the time you were running in the street and hurt yourself. Tell of times you were travelling and what you had to do.
To help your child to learn literacy skills, keep structure in your story telling. Set the scene and the characters. Have a complication that helps children to learn consequences for actions. Most of all, though, make it fun- children will come back for more. Use toys and props- as characters and settings and other parts of the story. The children will love it, even more so if they can be a part of it!
Enjoy story time with your children. They grow up so fast that before too long, they won’t be interested in it anymore!