Yesterday I held a coffee morning for other mums / dads and small children along with a photographer and a reporter for the local paper, the reason for this is that this week (30th January to 4th February) it's National Storytelling Week and they wanted to know our opinions on sharing stories with our children.
National Storytelling week is an annual event which aims to raise awareness of this ancient form of entertainment - check out The Society for Storytelling for more information. Storytelling is the ancient tradition stretching back for as long as humans have had speech, known as the 'oral' tradition where stories are shared in groups. The storyteller is an artist, an entertainer and an educator who uses words to take you on a journey of the imagination. Each person will hear something different as the story is created in the space between the teller and the listener.
Storytellers tell traditional folk tales, written tales, anecdotes, urban myths, stories from history, religious or moral tales and stories they have created themselves or which have been created for a specific event. Some storytellers will create a story spontaneously to suit the audience. They tell stories from memory rather than reading them from the book, memorising stories image by image not word for word and may tell a story differently each time they tell it, interacting with their audience, choosing stories and images to communicate with them and some use music, dance, song, pictures or puppets.
Storytelling supports literacy development, storytellers can improve concentration, listening skills and help develop and enrich spoken and written language. Hearing and retelling traditional tales can provide scaffolding for children’s own imaginative stories, giving the child a variety of frameworks to work from.