If one were to ask you that what has carried the ancient history and ancient fables into the present? Your answers would be books, scriptures, fables, epics etc. Right? Aren’t they all primarily stories? Weren’t they all written by people who experienced the happenings of the past first hand or researched them to find enough facts and figures to build up one comprehensive story. Yes! Everything we know today was created someday and passed on to us in the form of a story. This is what Shreya Biswas, a renowned story teller based in Bangalore had to say when I asked her if Story Telling was the latest fad.
She added that story telling is the most ancient art that one may relate to. Only that we have got used listening to similar stories for such a long time that we do not see the beauty of a story well told anymore. We still recognize movies and books as effective modes of storytelling, but have lost the essence of storytelling in our households. This is more so because of the increasing nuclear family culture and both parents working. Traditionally it was the grandparents who were looked upon for story telling sessions. Nowadays couples move out of their parents’ home for reasons both professional and personal. With both the parents working little quality time to spend with the kids Story telling takes a back seat. No amount of repetition can ever overemphasize the benefits of storytelling for kids –
This is the most obvious benefit of telling stories to kids. Some parts of the story are familiar to kids while some are added to build up an interesting story. The current knowledge combined with the unknown, enables kids to unleash their imagination and creativity.
Facilitates Learning the Fun Way
During an interaction with Ms. Shreya Biswas I came to know that story telling is becoming very popular with the corporate world too. The reason behind this is that learning new concepts at every level is a perceived as a tedious and monotonous task. In order to induce some fun into the learning process story telling has been re-invented for even the professionals at every level. Also, learning through stories and illustrations reinforces of the concept and imbibes it deep inside the human memory.
Improves Verbal Skills
When a story teller uses articulation and voice modulation to tell a story with a lesson, it makes a mark on the psyche of the listener. Considering kids are very observant and absorbent the language gets imbibed within the young minds and helps them use the language they have listened to at a later point in time.
Better Emotional Quotient
In an interesting story telling session the kids will learn to relate to the events and characters in the story. While they wait for the climax they will listen to the story not only with lot of patience but also with immense curiosity. A climax well received by the kids will also help them in comprehending and communicating their thoughts and feelings better.
Cross Cultural Exposure
As children listen to folk tales from various parts of the world, they explore the cultures and practices prevalent around the world. They experience and learn to appreciate these cultures and draw lessons to be included in their own life. One behavioral impact of cross cultural sensitivity is that children become more co-operative in a group at school or at home.
Although all of the above can be attained from story reading too, yet story telling is unique in its experience as it is more interactive and co-creative. This mostly results in better collaborative social skills among children. Also in the absence of printed pictures or texts, the listeners are required to rake their heads harder to be able to understand the context and content of the story.
The story telling event where I went to and happened to interact with Ms. Shreya Biswas was a board game launch event. This adventure board game weaves a jungle safari for its players simultaneously revealing interesting facts about various inhabitants of the jungle. There are six different versions of this safari ranging from the jungles in Africa to the Ocean Wonders. Kids can chose from a wild-life set-up of their choice and embark a thrilling and enlightening journey.
I really enjoyed the story-telling session by Ms. Shreya Biswas where she created an enthralling atmosphere and told a story about how the crow turned black. Another of her stories set up in a jungle in the Karnataka, taught the kids about what is ‘herd mentality’ and how one should not become a victim to such a mind set.
Taking inspiration from this captivating session, I have begun to alter the story reading time with my son and begun to tell him stories on some days without a book.