By Carole Brungar
As I write this, we’re one week into our country’s amazing effort to self-isolate. How do you keep things ‘real’ and ‘normal’ for children when the world around you has come to a standstill and nothing is as it was? It’s a challenge for an adult to adjust. Working from home, and maybe loss of job and, or income. Suddenly our support networks have been removed. So while we’re trying to cope, how do we make sure our children cope?
The answer lies in the make believe worlds of storytelling. Not every family has a large home library and during this crisis we can’t visit libraries or swap books with the neighbours, but we do have access to the internet which opens a whole world of wonderful stories.
While learning to read is important, don’t underestimate the true value and power of listening to the written word. Storytelling in oral form has evolved over hundreds of years, but started well before printed stories were invented. Listening to stories not only boosts the child’s vocabulary, but exercises memory skills, and while helping develop the child’s ability to concentrate, draws on their imagination to project into further stories or day-to-day life.
I remember back to my childhood, and my favourite day of the week was a Sunday because each Sunday morning, before my parents were awake, I would turn on my little radio and listen to the stories. I loved the soundtracks, the inflections in the voices, the ability of the various narrators to keep my attention and grow my imagination. The enjoyment in storytelling is in the way the narrator tells the story.
And if you’re looking for inspiration, check out David Walliams who is reading a short story every day from his ‘World’s Worst Children’ book series. You can find the author and his stories here: https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/
Audible has also made their children’s stories free for the duration of the lockdown period. You can find their selection here: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen.
For younger children, you can find a selection of picture books being read by well known narrators at: https://www.storylineonline.net/
So don’t forget, your library isn’t just defined by the books you have on your shelves. There are a wide range of resources at your fingertips to keep eager minds engaged.
About Carole Brungar
Carole Brungar is a school librarian and award-winning author, managing to write in her spare time. She has a Bachelor of Communications and a background in journalism and photography. Her latest book Going Home is a love story set during the Vietnam war.