Storytelling has been around for thousands of years. It first began with visual stories where early cave dwellers painted on walls. Then, oral traditions emerged where stories were passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. Today, most of the storytelling is transformed into written narratives that are typed and printed into books with or without pictures. For children, storytelling which is also referred to as Storytime is one of the most influential learning experiences a child can have because it helps them learn about themselves and others through the lives of the characters in the story. Research has shown it builds vocabulary, improves literacy skills, and enhances social skills. Do you remember Storytime with your teachers when you were a child? I do. I loved sitting on the rug with my classmates and listening to my teacher read the story in class. I would cling to my teacher’s every word and soak in all the images and colors in the pictures. Those early Storytime experiences made reading fun for me and my classmates! Therefore, you would think that the older children get, the more interested they will be in reading stories just for fun. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. A survey conducted by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) between 2019 and early 2020 revealed that “the shares of American children between the ages of 9-13 who say they read for fun on an almost daily basis has dropped from nearly a decade ago and are at the lowest levels since at least the mid-1980s.” Increasing those low levels may seem a bit impossible for just you and me. But I assure you that it isn’t! We only need to do one thing; consistently expose our children to Storytime experiences where they cultivate good reading habits.
Parents and teachers of all ages, cultures and of all faiths know all too well that building good habits in children doesn’t happen overnight. They understand that a child must be actively taught to form the desired habit repeatedly. Indeed, studies have shown that it takes a child roughly two months to form a habit that is tied to daily routine. Since that is the case, the more children are exposed to Storytime experiences, the greater their reading habit will be. On Saturday, November 18th from 3pm-5pm Esperanza Art Center will host a Latina Children’s Stories event where children will be exposed to Latin American authors in a way that is interactive, artistic, and super fun! It is the perfect environment to build your child’s reading habit.
You and I can increase the lowest level of children interest in reading that have ever been recorded since the 1980’s by exposing them to Storytime experiences like Esperanza’s Latina Children’s Stories event. If we do this, our children will build good reading habits with the potential to extend from generation to generation; just like how the origins of Storytelling began.