“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”
It’s National Storytelling Week!
Why stories are important
Learning to read is important, we all know that. Research shows that people without good literacy skills do worse in education and are more likely to be unemployed or even suffer from health and relationship problems.
But there’s evidence to suggest that the benefits of being read to frequently as a child go way beyond just literacy skills. Former CBeebies presenter and dad Alex Winters went on a mission to find out just what’s so important about stories.
How stories shape our world
The stories we hear as children shape our view of the world.
Most small children live their lives in quite a limited environment. Reading stories to children can show them far-flung places, extraordinary people and eye-opening situations to expand and enrich their world.
It can also be a great way of helping them deal with real life situations that they need help to deal with. Researchers have found that the brain activity that occurs when we read fiction is very similar to experiencing that situation in real life, so reading about a situation helps children work out how to solve it in reality.
Making children into nicer people?
It gets even more surprising when you look at the effects of reading fiction to children on their social behaviour.
Scientists have found that children who have fiction read to them regularly find it easier to understand other people – they show more empathy and have better developed theory of mind (the ability to understand that other people have different thoughts and feelings to us, which is essential for understanding and predicting other people’s thoughts and behaviour).
Enjoy some new stories read by Mrs Lipscombe, and have a go at some of the activities and challenges below. We would love to see the stories you come up with, so do send them into school! Have fun.
WRITE A ‘DAY IN THE LIFE’ OF YOUR FAVOURITE STORY CHARACTER
Think of your favourite character from your favourite book… what would you do if you were your favourite character for a day? What would it be like to experience a day in their ordinary life?
Think about the details of your favourite character, and write a description of a ‘day in their life’.
A picture paints a thousand words…
Have a look at these pictures. What comes to mind when you study them? How do they make you feel? Choose one to write a story about!
In the garden of life, nothing was quite as it seemed…
During the day, everything was peaceful. In fact, the garden was completely silent. The only sound that was ever heard during the day was a gentle whispering that seemed to be carried on the wind: a sweet melody of nature, celebrating the beauty of the earth and all creation.
The lady of the garden seemed to be sleeping. She lay there, motionless, all day.
Then, as the sun began to find its resting place beyond the clouds on the horizon, and darkness crept over the garden, an enormous, green eyelid suddenly opened. She was awake…
Can you continue the story about the garden of life? Describe the animals and creatures that magically come alive at night.
Have you ever wondered how the Earth was created? Yes, yes, yes, we’ve all been told various theories like the ‘Big Bang’ by so-called ‘genius’ scientists with brilliant minds, but what if in reality it is much more simple?
Well, the truth is that they made the Earth. The Creators.
Look! There’s one of them now, placing his enormous booted foot in the middle of the river. Can you see how he holds his tape measure up against the skyscraper? He’s just making minor adjustments. Often, their work is far more impressive. Sometimes, it can even be destructive. It depends on their current plan, and their current mood. You see there’s not just one of them. Oh no! There are hundreds of them! The Creators move among us: planning, plotting, building, inventing.
When they built the Pyramids in Egypt thousands of years ago, that had seemed impressive. When they built the Colosseum in Rome, that had been another step forward. In modern times, the construction of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai had been a huge advancement. However, their most recent plans are to take the human race to an altogether new level of advancement. The Earth has seen nothing yet! A new age beckons. Everything is about to change…
Can you continue the story about the creators?
“Houston come in. Houston come in. This is Apollo 11. We have touched down on the surface of the moon. Over.”
“Apollo 11, this is Houston. You are clear to begin your mission. Over.”
Gazing around in a state of awe and wonder, the astronaut stood and admired what he saw. Outer space was a thing of pure beauty: a never-ending chasm of blackness, illuminated by stars that sparkled like beautiful diamonds.
He took a few steps forward, smiling at the joy of the feeling of weightlessness that never ceased to amaze him. Happy that his oxygen levels were high and his friends were close by, the astronaut set about his mission.
All seemed to be going well, but then the warning alarm on the ship sounded…
“Houston. Houston come in! Houston, we have a problem…”
Can you continue the story of the Apollo mission to the moon?
Every time a musical note is played, by anyone, anywhere, Music World grows. Just a tiny bit at a time.
Glorious, green mountains rise up; bubbling streams flow from the frets, and twisting trees form from the strings.
This is just the beginning: who can tell what instrument will transform into a host of new life when the next note is struck?
Can you continue the tale? What is about to happen? Which instrument is about to burst into life?
It might help if you draw the instrument first!
You could write a newspaper report, reporting about this strange new world!
Alternatively, you could do an acrostic poem about a musical instrument!
Choose 3 random items from around the room. Have a go at telling a short story (you might even set a time limit of 2 minutes) incorporating the 3 objects! Can you mention them all in a way that makes sense? This is a real tester of quick thinking and creativity!
Whilst taking your permitted daily exercise at the beach, collect a handful of stones. At home, you can paint them, or stick stickers to them, or use sharpies to draw on them to create some story stones. Use them to make up or retell a story!
If you’re anything like me, you will have heaps of family photos in stored in boxes! Can you have a look through some, and choose some to tell a story about? You could retell the story of the day the photo was taken, or just make it up!
Draw a Picture Game
With your family, everyone starts off by drawing any picture they like on a piece of paper. Then you swap drawings with the person next to you. That person now tells a story based on the drawing they have! Can you add something to the drawing to tell your own story?
Grab an empty jar from your kitchen and some torn up pieces of paper. On each small piece of paper write a random word or phrase. This could be anything, such as ‘cat’, ‘princess’ or a phrase like ‘in the forest’, or ‘under the bed’. Put all the torn up pieces of paper inside the jar. Then take turns to take out a piece of paper. Whatever the word is on that paper, that person must tell a story using that word or phrase.
If you get stuck, you can use prompts, such as:
”What does your character see or hear?”
“Who else is there?”
“What does the place look like?”
Tell a story from a map
Have you got an old map lying around your house? If you don’t, you could draw a map of an imaginary land! Use the map to help tell a story! Who are your characters? Maybe they are aliens from a distant planet, or perhaps a family from the Ancient Greek times has found themselves in your land or map! Tell their story, what happens? Where do they go?