It’s Story Time!

“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” —Maya Angelou

Story-telling session. Image courtesy: Vinitha Ramchandani

Story-telling session. Image courtesy: Vinitha Ramchandani

One of the latest researches being driven in many organizations today is related to developing story-telling capability in leaders to enhance their effectiveness. Being able to tell a story is an art and also a skill, which, often, is a key success ingredient for people in many professions. If you follow a story telling ritual at home, the good news is that your child may already have a head-start in this area.

Many parents make stories a bedtime ritual with their children while some designate some time during the day. Some parents get the child to choose their favorite story and it might mean repeating the same story for many days till the child chooses another one. Some parents look for a new story to tell. Some rely on just audio story telling while some engage the child in visuals as well.

Stories are a great tool for facilitating the development of a child. Stories are not only able to get a child to listen and comprehend but also encourage thinking. Children are able to memorize key aspects of the story and ask questions.

Some simple steps that parents and child caregivers can take to make story telling a joyful event and to maximize the learning for a child are:

a) Get access to a story repository. Sign up for a conventional library, which can provide children’s books or get access to online stories (in text format). While you can make a child listen to pre-recorded audios, listening to a story in your voice is likely to be much better appreciated by the child. Don’t shy away from making up your own story some times too. It is a great way for you to get your message through.

b) Designate a specific time during the day as ‘Story Time’. This is uninterrupted time with no eating, no phone calls, no television or other interruptions.

c) Allow the child to have a say in which story / kind of story he / she would like to listen to. Everyone loves choices. Children do too.

d) Talk slowly and clearly. Children need to follow the words, need time for comprehension and to visualize.

e) Encourage imagination. Paint the scene by using more words than might be written. Point to the pictures to enable visualization. Use facial expressions to bring out emotions.

f) Make it participative. Do not hush the child when he / she laughs about something or asks a question. Encourage observation and curiosity. Ask questions about new words or what just happened. It is important to ensure that the child was able to comprehend the story and it is interesting to note what the child registered from the story.

g) Have fun. Story time is not a serious time. While the message might be serious from your perspective, making it a fun experience for the child will drive the message home much faster.

Story telling is a wonderful way to get a child to pick up a language. One of the experiments we have recently started at home is to get my daughter to tell us a story every day, at bedtime. I am amazed by her imagination and how she is able to string together various events during the day, bring out aspects she wants to communicate in the form of a story. It is a great way to also encourage her to develop fluency in English too.

It’s Story Time!

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.