Hear me out, I like reading, but I love a good story, and good stories don’t always have to be read. In fact, some of my favorite stories have been drawn, played, sung, danced, and acted. Humans are natural storytellers, and today we have more ways to tell a good story than ever before.
But when many of us think of our favorite stories, our minds wander back to images of books. We think of titles that sit on our bookshelves, like Anne of Green Gables and Lord of the Rings, and in doing so we limit ourselves to just one form of storytelling out of hundreds. What about your favorite story that was drawn in a graphic novel, or watched on a DVD, or played in a video game?
Here’s something I’ve noticed; occasionally when you ask children, especially reluctant readers, what their favorite books are, they go silent and shrug, but when you ask these same kids what their favorite stories are, their faces light up and they have plenty to say. Why? Because they can't wait to talk about the plot of their favorite video game or the origins of Spiderman.
Children who don’t seem passionate about reading can still be passionate about their favorite stories, and that's a really cool thing! Because, like reading, storytelling is essential for healthy childhood development. It (a) improves vocabulary, (b) helps children understand symbolism, (c) allows children to connect images, sounds, and words to create a working narrative, and (e) teaches them to create and use narratives in their own lives. Understanding that good stories can exist anywhere and allowing young folks to choose the forms of storytelling that they especially enjoy can help connect them with these vital skills