We young parents are raising children in a very different time compared to the one that we grew up in. When we were young, people around us including our own parents simply had more time available. The family sizes also have become much smaller than before. Nuclear families with two working parents are becoming the norm today. Moreover, Indian cities and towns have changed dramatically over the years. They do not offer opportunities and environment for social and cultural interactions that we experienced as children. All these changes have resulted in our children not experiencing a few things that we did while we were growing up. Through this article, we attempt to highlight the importance and benefits of the art of storytelling to our children.
Importance and Benefits of Storytelling Tradition:
One important aspect that has changed is the importance of storytelling. India has a rich history and tradition of oral song and storytelling. This took many forms: Simple stories (like Panchatantra), Folktales (like Jataka Tales), Songs, Mythological tales and Epics (like Mahabharat and Ramayan), Bhajans, Slokas, Satsangs, Janapada songs, Couplets etc. There was a time when our parents, grandparents, aunts and neighbours from the community played a critical role in perpetuating this rich oral tradition. This played an important role in our early childhood and formative years. Such a rich tradition has lasting and wide-ranging benefits on early childhood development like:
- Positively impacted language development including Vocabulary, Grammar and Pronunciation
- Helped enhance memory and instil the importance of values like discipline and regular practice
- Were a great source of both moral and practical life lessons
- Helped develop an appreciation and understanding of art forms like Music, Literature, Poetry, Dance and Drama
- Fostered a stronger sense of cultural Identity and an understanding of our rich heritage
- Created great occasions where people could socialise and fostered a strong feeling of community
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It is difficult to fully capture all the benefits in a few points. We all have fond memories of being part of such a tradition. As children, it opened to us a whole world of great knowledge and wisdom.
Some of us, are still lucky to be in a family situation which enables our children to benefit from our rich oral storytelling traditions. But many of us are not. We are possibly raising our kids in nuclear families with little or no involvement of our grandparents or neighbours. Our busy careers might also further reduce the chance of our children enjoying things that we experienced as children. If this is the situation that you find yourself in, what can you as a parent do? Reading storybooks and other books to your child on a regular basis is a good option.
Benefits of Reading Story Books regularly to your Child
Reading books to your child on a regular basis may not be substituted for our rich tradition of oral storytelling and songs. But modern research has clearly established the importance of such an activity. Some of these benefits include:
- Significant and Positive Effect on Cognitive Development and Reading Skills of the Child
- Listening Skills
- Reading Comprehension and Spelling Skills
- Literacy and Language Skills
- Enhanced motivation towards Reading
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- There is a rich tradition of Oral Storytelling in India, passed on from generations like reciting Bhajans, Folk songs, Janapada Songs, Slokas etc.
- It has many benefits for children in their formative years as it inculcates values and also improves child’s verbal proficiency.
- But unfortunately, this art of oral storytelling is slowly getting lost due to various forces of modernity.
- Is there any alternative to this lost art of oral storytelling? Yes! Read the blog to know more.
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 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775714000156 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-8624.00417/full https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49740676_To_Read_or_Not_to_Read_A_Meta-Analysis_of_Print_Exposure_From_Infancy_to_Early_Adulthood http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0142723711422626 http://adc.bmj.com/content/93/7/554.short http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19388071003731554
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Do share your ideas if you know any other good alternative for this lost art of storytelling.
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