Art of Storytelling: Elements of a Good Storytime
Storytelling is the way of the world, says Ashley Jefferson an Early Years Professional. Storytelling is an important part of every culture, it is the medium in which culture, tradition, practices, language, behaviour, and history is passed on from one generation to another. Storytelling in early childhood affects how children learn to communicate, interact, and socialise with their peers and caregivers. In the digital age, storytelling has adopted a more modern way. In fact, the child can already watch storytelling videos online or play with games and applications that tell stories. However, traditional storytelling using printed books is still unparalleled when it comes to the benefits that it brings to the child.
How important is storytelling in a child’s early years of development? What are the elements of a good storytime? What benefits does storytelling bring?
Just like any other form of art, storytelling requires skill, practice, and vision. It’s a trial and error process and definitely not something that’s learnt overnight, mastery takes time. The beautiful art of storytelling affects so much the everyday lives of people. In fact, everything has a little bit of storytelling element to it. Great leaders, successful professionals, and significant people in history are great storytellers themselves. Storytelling is a skill that gives your child an advantage that brings them a huge step closer to a successful career. With constant practice and love for the craft, any child can become a master storyteller!
Everyone can become a master storyteller with the correct toolkit and enough practice to develop the storytelling talents they need. Here are some of the key elements for a good storytime:
Know your audience
Understanding your audience means that you speak to them in a relatable language that they’ll be able to appreciate. This will also help you choose the kind of story to tell and how to tell it.
Choose a good book
It’s very important especially when you are reading to children. Children are more engaged with stories that they can relate to, a great choice for storytime would be a personalised book that features them as the hero of the story! A study conducted by the National Literacy Trust suggests that a sense of wonder increases the children’s interest in the books when they are reading text with personal relevance to them. The same study also suggests that children are more participative in book-sharing activities (in preschools) when they are reading books with personalised elements!
Engage with your audience
An important element of an effective storytime is engagement. Engagement allows you to interact with the kids, and make sure they are attentively listening to your story. Moreover, good engagement ensures comprehension of the text. Ask questions related to the story and encourage the child to share thoughts they have in mind! Make the child the hero of the story, this is not only empowering to the child but also encourages them to stay attentive longer.
Go beyond words
Storytelling is so much more than just reading the story. Go beyond words by opening communication with the children. This is your chance to engage in meaningful conversation with the little ones, ask them about the story, the characters, the plot, and the learnings that they have. As the storyteller, be open to discussing more ideas, and then, explore these ideas with the child, share stories and develop their language and vocabulary. Promote good communication through storytelling!
Enjoy the whole process!
Enjoy the whole storytelling process, it’s such a fun and explorative activity that benefits you and the child. In order to keep the child excited for the next storytime, they must be able to enjoy the whole storytelling experience. Have fun and unleash your inner child!
Art of Storytelling and its Underrated Benefits to Children
The art of storytelling has so many underrated benefits that many parents don’t know about yet. These benefits benefit the child even in adulthood. When mastered, the skill of telling a story gives the child the advantage they need to excel in their academics and later on in their careers!
Storytelling instils values and virtues in the child.
Children absorb learnings like a sponge and storytelling is a great way to instil values and virtues to them that they need growing up. Little ones enjoy listening to stories. When you give children enough time to engage in storytelling, you are teaching them values that they can keep with them as they age.
It boosts their listening skills and makes them more attentive.
It’s not always simple to keep a kid’s interest very long. It can be challenging for many children to focus for long periods of time. Either they jump right in and start chatting more, or their thoughts start to stray. But, when children get more used to listening to stories, they become more attentive and this improves their listening skills!
Regular storytelling to children increases their cultural understanding. Books are the gateway to the world, and reading stories to your little one is the best way to open their eyes to the different cultures and people around them!
One of the more important benefits of storytelling to children is that it improves their communication skills. Children’s capacity for expression can be improved by reading to them and telling them tales. It encourages kids to express their ideas, emotions, and thoughts through words. This is very important to ensure the emotional and mental well-being of your child. Reading stories to your little one improves your bond and it leaves a beautiful memory that will encourage them to build a lifetime love for books.
“The world is shaped by two things — stories told and the memories they leave behind.”― Vera Nazarian