Children have an inherent love for stories as it exposes them to a world of amazement and fun.It makes storytelling an important tool for the psychological and intellectual development of kids, especially pre-schoolers.
As kids, we have grown up listening to various stories narrated by our parents or grandparents. These stories were inspired by fairy tales, folklores, real-life scenarios, etc. Listening to these stories has not only enhanced our imagination but also inculcated core values in us, improved our vocabulary, and brought us closer to our cultural roots.
Today, there are several tools to entertain and educate kids varying from watching videos to picture books. However, there is a huge difference in the intellectual requirement between these experiences and storytelling. In storytelling, the listener must focus and engage with the story using their imagination. This kind of focus helps in building cognitive, social, and emotional abilities in children and imbues the following benefits:
Storytelling encourages kids to envision the characters and the setting and weave a unique world using their creativity. It enables a child’s imagination to run as wild as possible and opens their minds to many new ideas.
Enhances focus and listening skills
Kids have a very short attention span. Their little minds get distracted and lose interest very soon. Storytelling encourages them to be patient and listen to the storyteller. It teaches them to focus more and develops their listening skills.
It improves the ability of children to freely express them. It encourages them to communicate their feelings and thoughts without any hesitation. They also learn new words which they grasp during the narration. It helps in broadening their vocabulary and increasing their verbal proficiency.
It exposes children to a wide variety of cultures, events, traditions, and places. It allows them to understand the world around them in a much better way. They develop empathy towards unfamiliar people while imagining themselves as various characters from the stories. It helps them to differentiate between the various cultures in the world and respect them. It also allows them to explore their cultural roots and offers an understanding of their traditions and values.
Post-storytelling activities are equally important to amplify the effects of storytelling. Asking follow-up questions about the story, follow-up discussions, and asking the kids to retell or re-enact the story will boost their cognitive thinking and memory power.
In addition to all the above benefits, the joy that children experience during storytelling is what makes it so fascinating. Alfred Mercier, an American novelist, and poet quotes, “What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” Storytelling is indeed a perfect example to prove that he was right.
There are different types of storybooks available in the market today, ranging from old classics to participation books which are loved by kids and can be used to impart all the benefits of storytelling in them. These books will also encourage kids to read more and instil a love for storytelling in them.