September 22, 2022
Treasure Trove: Storytelling and its Benefits
Storytelling is a practice as old as the hills. Stories have charmed adults and children through the ages. At the 22nd Sharjah International Narrator Forum (SINF) which runs under the theme "Tales of the Seas", storytellers from across the world came together under one umbrella to narrate tales of joy, wisdom, happiness and laughter.
“Storytelling is such a wonderful art. This is my first year as a storyteller at SINF, and I see that the children have tremendous energy and enthusiasm. I have a total of 150 stories to narrate but have picked 15 best-sellers, which I am sure will help children view the mundane in a different and interesting way. While each storyteller has their own style and flair, I believe in narrating humorous stories. The idea is to spread more laughter and joy,” said Susan McCullough a storyteller from Germany.
Storytelling is the most fascinating and appealing activity to nurture a kid’s personality. Studies suggest that listening to stories encourages a child's inquisitiveness and creativity endlessly. In addition, by listening to stories, children get to hear many new words. They love to hear their favourite stories repeatedly, thus they become familiar with new vocabulary.
“Stories play an integral part in a child’s development. Telling ancient and traditional stories will help kids to understand and stay tied to distinct customs and origins prevalent in the family. Also, moral stories with underlying messages build up their traits like honesty, truthfulness, gratitude, courage, wisdom, and many others. One of my favourite stories is of the fisherman and his greedy wife. The story has a lovely message and highlights how to improves emotional intelligence and control over one’s emotions,” said Christina Millet, another storyteller who hails from Spain and lives in Netherlands.
While storytelling can be used to enhance the concentration and memory power of children, it can also give rise to imaginative and creative skills. It also promotes active participation in challenging situations and can train them to evaluate precise solutions during difficult situations in the future.
“Storytelling is like magic. It invokes imagination and takes us on wonderful voyages. My story about Dana, a small girl achieving a ‘Dana’ a term used to refer to a pearl in Arabic is about encouraging children to learn Arabic vocabulary as well as believing in their dreams. I am so pleased to be a part of this forum and to have an opportunity to narrate the story of Dana to the world. This is a steppingstone for my tales, and I am confident that going forward I will be a regular participant,” said Eman Al Shehhi, a writer of a storybook.
Considered the oldest form of teaching and an important part of human history, the art of storytelling for children brings language learning alive. In addition to helping them make sense of the immediate world around them, short stories for children can also develop an understanding, respect, and appreciation in children for other cultures, beliefs, and distant lands. At SINF this year, the aim is to bring to focus the importance of storytelling and the varied treasures it holds.