By Diane Forrest
Last night I was talking with a friend of mine who was having trouble sleeping. I asked him if he wanted me to tell him a bedtime story to help him sleep. Then I started thinking of some of my favorite stories. One of my favorite ones is about the 7 Chinese Brothers. It is about these seven brothers, who all look alike. They all have a special talent, and they help get each other out of a certain problem that would cause their death. The story ends on a happy note, and everyone is saved.
May is National Share a Story Month. The month is organized by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. The charity was founded in 1965 with the aim to promote children’s interest in books and reading, getting involved with libraries, schools and playgroups.
The main aim though, is to form book groups for parents and children to meet, discuss books, hear from visiting authors and just enjoy some good old-fashioned story telling!
Words for life.org offers some suggestions on how to celebrate this month. They include:
1. Share your favorite childhood stories
Think back to when you were a child and the stories that have stayed with you throughout the years. One will probably have had a big impression on you, so why not share it with your child? It might be something completely new to them or it could be a book that they love too, a classic such as Where the Wild Things Are. You don’t need to have a copy to hand either; you could tell it from memory and have some fun making it exciting, funny, sad or intriguing.
2. Ask your child what their favorites are
Most children have at least one book that will have made an impression on them, whether it was one particular story or a series involving the same character or even a non-fiction title. (You may know before you ask your child which is their favorite story if you have had to read it time and time again!) Discuss what makes the book so special and why they like it. This helps your child think about books in a more analytical way and helps them form opinions that they know you respect.
3. Read a bedtime story
Most children love being read to. It’s not just about the story; it’s also about curling up and spending special quiet time with you, without interruptions. You can enjoy board books with babies and younger children, and longer stories with older kids. By taking ten minutes or more out of your busy day you are not only helping them with their literacy but are also telling them that you love them and that spending time together matters. What a lovely thought before going to sleep!
4. Create your own story
For thousands of years there were no books and, even if there were, most people couldn’t read. Instead they gathered to listen to storytellers for entertainment. It’s still a popular way to spend an evening now – think of ghost stories around a campfire or listening to a stand-up comedian talk about their life – so why not have a go at making up your own story? If your child can talk, involve them in it too. This is a fun way of passing the time when travelling and on rainy days and is more interactive than solitary reading. If your child gets really involved, you could always write your story down together and illustrate it with pictures or photos.
5. Visit your local library
One of the best ways of getting your children and yourself into reading is by joining your local library. They usually have all the latest bestsellers, as well as old favorites, and you don’t have to pay a penny to borrow them. Many libraries have special children’s sections, with regular story times and music sessions, so you can sit and relax without worrying about making noise. The only trouble you may have is when it’s time to leave!
So this month.... stop by your library and stock up on some good stories or make some up on your own. Some of the best ones come from your own life.
(All images from Google)