Storytelling stories are one of the most powerful tools parents and teachers have in their arsenal. Children, specially the younger ones, would often balk at being lectured or given direct orders. And why wouldn't they? Even adults don't like sermons. If you want to offer guidance to children, in a way that is enjoyable not just to them but to you as well, then perhaps it's time you look for good stories to tell.
Why are stories so effective in teaching values and offering advice?
For one, fantasy is the language of children; they like letting their imagination run wild. When kids are being read stories, they can immediately place themselves in the same situation as their hero or heroine. They can relate with their struggles, and are challenged to make similar choices.
In this sense, a story is better than a direct command or rule, because kids can see how values being taught to them are applied in realistic (well, sort of) situations. They can also appreciate the consequences of making moral decisions, because at the end of the day, the good guys win and the bad guys get to face the result of their actions.
But more importantly, using stories makes sure that a child pays attention. Good storytellers are engaging readers; they use different voices to sell the story, and may even make animated gestures. Kids don't feel bored listening to stories; in fact they might request the same story read to them over and over again. The more a story gets repeated, the better the values taught are emphasized.
Where to get great storytelling stories
If you're on a budget, consider visiting your community library, even your state library. More often than not they have a collection for children; you would only need to present a residential certificate to receive book borrowing privileges. More so, many state libraries sponsor storytelling days for kids as part of their literacy program. If you enroll your children or students on these programs, not only do you get to teach them values, you also encourage a love for reading.
You may also visit your local bookstore, or browse web-based bookshops for good storytelling stories. There are many publication companies that cater to children. You can stick to the classics we've all heard as children - Cinderella, Snow White, The Princess and the Pea - but don't be afraid to check out new titles. There are many new good authors out there worth trying out.
If you're hesitant because you're not sure if you're picking up the books with the values you believe in, don't fret. Many bookstores allow screening of books; you can read them before you purchase. Subscription to the mailing list of various publishing companies may even avail you free samples for your perusal.
You may also seek advice from communities who regularly screen storytelling stories. Parents associations, media watchdogs, librarians and churches often have a list of recommended books for parents. Seeking help will ensure that you don't only protect your kids from ideas you don't want them to hear, but you also get recommendation for age appropriate stories to narrate.
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