The benefits of storytelling

The UK’s National Literacy Trust says the best chance for children to learn to read well is to ensure that they have a rich language experience early in life.

  • Enjoying stories in any format – narrated or signed – helps children learn how to concentrate.
  • Storytelling helps physical development. Turning the pages of a book, navigating a website using a mouse or keyboard, and via touch on a mobile device like an iPad or an iPhone, develops motor skills.
  • Exploring images and ideas develops our imagination and our senses – sight, touch, smell and sound – and helps us learn conversational skills, like turn-taking.
  • Reading helps to introduce children to the structure and vocabulary of language – written, spoken and in sign language
  • Stories help develop emotional intelligence and picture books will help children to find meaning within their own life. Children can pore over emotional situations contained within books that may help to relieve personal frustrations. They can encounter exciting and imaginative experiences far beyond their own environment or even their dreams.
  • Storytelling is a great shared experience, helping children bond with their siblings, their friends and family, and their teachers and carers.
  • The confidence to communicate helps reduce the social isolation experienced by many deaf children and those with special educational needs.
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“But the ability to read is only half the story. Success in the new digital world requires literacy skills both in the traditional sense (reading, writing, comprehension) and also in a completely new, socially interactive sense.

Participation, collaboration, intuitive problem-solving, critical thinking, mindful attention and radical creativity — these types of literacy will be equally important in the globally networked world.

We want active and empowered readers who control media, not the other way around, and new technologies along with traditional reading experiences are going to shape the future reader.”

Kristen McLean, executive director of the USA’s Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC)

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