Storytelling changes children’s worlds because it helps them learn new ideas and develop their identity to set them up for life.
When we tell a story, children can find new ways to interpret ideas and situations about the world. In a fairytale, for example, a child can step into a character’s shoes or examine the plot through the language and imagination depicted in the story and related images in the book. This helps them understand and interpret their own ideas or point of view about the story. They can then relate these to situations in their own lives. Lois Lowry’s fiction masterpiece, The Giver , explores how novels can develop individuality, broaden ideas and create change.
As children begin to relate to characters and the plot, which may sometimes mirror their own lives, they can cultivate their own identities. The children can form opinions about situations in the story, their own preferences of story genres or develop ideas about their own morals . This can help them establish individual ways of interpreting their own lives in the real world. A recent article in Texas explored how racially-aware storytelling helped African-American children develop more positive racial identities
The World Literacy Foundation recognizes the benefits of storytelling and has programs to make books available to children all over the world. Projects like Aprende Leiendo in South America, Reading Out of Poverty in Australia and Michigan Reads in the USA, help ensure the power of storytelling is fostered in as many children as possible.
The way forward
Storytelling can change children’s lives and make the world a better place as they develop their own ideas and identities. They can contribute their unique sense of self to their communities and the world as they continue to grow. Let’s share stories with children as often as possible.
Written by: Rida Safeer
Edited by: Eliana Furnari