The importance of narration: A perspective by Sooper Books Narrator Phil
Since the earliest days of humanity - sitting perhaps round a campfire after a hearty dinner of succulent mammoth and tasty roots - stories have played a vital role in the evolution of our species. Knowledge and wisdom were passed from one generation to another through stories and storytelling.
Wow, that was big stuff! But there’s actually a lot of truth in those statements.
In children’s stories we can entertain as well as teach children about the world; conveying basic moral lessons, touching on human kindness and community. Good stories can also introduce kids to new people and new ideas.
Kids can be a bit like sponges in that they soak in so much of what they see, hear and experience in their everyday lives. This is true of what happens when it is time for a story. Their minds are working away like mad, absorbing the language, words and ideas they are hearing.
But stories can also fire children’s imaginations and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child’s face light up when they are engrossed in a brilliant tale.
Reading Aloud As A Shared Experience
Reading to young children has almost endless benefits. It almost goes without saying that reading stories to little ones makes them and the readers happy. Kids feel valued that time has been given just to them. This aids self-worth and self-confidence. And, apart from feeding their imaginations and improving vocabulary, a story, especially at bedtime, is comforting, relaxing and really bonding. And, great news for the grownups, it can also improve a child’s sleeping patterns!
Stories read at bedtime can provide the quiet time that’s so important to get a child in the mood for sleep. Story time becomes part of the bedtime routine. A quiet and relaxed environment is therefore really important.
Busy family lives can make it challenging to find the time to read with your children daily. It’s a dead easy option to switch on the TV and put the child in front of a cartoon (we’ve been there!).
But reading to a child simply for the love of it builds a warm and tender connection between the parent and the child. Sometimes, expressions from stories, jokes or even (in my experience, certainly) the voices of certain characters are recalled into adulthood. Reading aloud, simply for the sake of doing it, encourages a lifelong love of reading. It has been shown that kids who read for pleasure fare much better academically.
Starting right from infancy, stories read every day to young children can help with language acquisition, communication skills, social skills, and literacy skills. Experts know that reading to your children stimulates a part of the brain that helps them understand the meaning of words and ideas. And it activates their imagination and curiosity about the world around them.
I encourage you to try narrating our stories to your children, to let yourself go and create silly voices for each character.