Storytelling is a pretty important job as a parent, it carries a lot of responsibility.
The first few stories I ever read to my daughter happened around 70 days before the actual birth. Some people might find that to be a bit strange or awkward, reading to a woman’s belly. But I considered it more of a practice opportunity.
It felt like I was filling my baby’s developing mind with a sense of magic, what to expect when she came out into this world. Not only would she, in turn, recognise my voice, but she’d also develop dreams from these stories. Dreams that would shape her mind and give her an incredible imagination.
In the world of technology, television and tablets, I fear the art of storytelling is losing its magic. There are literally apps and videos of people reading stories, or even illustrated cartoons that have a narrator, but I think it’s even more important to still have that human interaction when it comes to reading a book.
As a parent I enjoy the ability to insert a little magic in my daughters mind, whether you call it narrating, yarn spinning or tale telling, reading a good book to your child is a great bonding experience, and a perfect activity for that quiet one-to-one time. And if you aren’t a great reader yourself, you’ll likely be better than they are, so do the best you can, it’ll mean more to them to have your undivided attention than getting the words right.
I’ve gotten better at it myself, it seems like every short children’s story has a sort of poetic rhythm, and when you find it, you feel pretty good about yourself. It makes the story even better to children, the better you get, the more you’ll make it dramatic, funny and interactive as you gain confidence in building that story’s image in your child’s mind.
We tend to stick to the picture books for now, around 20-30 pages and short, quirky sentences. I think it’ll be some time before Willow will sit down and listen to me read her the 7 books of the Harry Potter series. But she’ll definitely have a fully functional imagination to use when that day comes!
Of course I’m not technically the greatest storyteller in the world, but I like to think between me and my wife, Jodie, we do a pretty solid job of it for our daughter. Not only are we reading her stories, but between the two of our blogs, were creating our own. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll create our own children’s books, but that’s a whole new skill in itself!
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read this, what are your favourite authors/books that live on your bookshelf?
A few personal family favourites are:
- The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson
- Oh the Places You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss
- The Dinosaur that Pooped the Past – Tom Fletcher
- The Lion Inside – Rachel Bright
Of course there are many, many more books on our shelves, and of course, more and more will be added. It doesn’t matter if you buy a book or borrow 10 from the library (Always free for kids), the magic of storytelling is priceless to a child.