The long summer holidays are a perfect time to let your imaginations run wild.
So why not enter our storytelling competition? Simply write your story down (or ask an adult to write it down for you) and then send it to us – and if you win you will become a Young Author and have your story beautifully illustrated and bound into a real book!
Stories can be up to 500 words and anyone under the age of 16 can enter.
The closing date is August 30th so start writing now and submit your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck and happy storytelling!
Young Authors believe that a window into a child’s mind can be enlightening and inspiring. In our new series of blogs Out of the Mouths of Babes we speak to children of different ages to capture their ideas about a range of topics and to explore their thought patterns at their particular stage of development.
By around age 5, children are starting to draw links between events and understand some basic principles of cause and effect (healthy eating makes you strong). Children of this age may ask a lot of questions and they are likely to be interested in listening to adults’ explanations of things around them. Beware: children of this age don’t have much of a filter and tend to repeat things they’ve heard from adults!
At this age, children’s language and vocabulary is continuing to grow rapidly. Their expanding imagination combined with increased memory capacity makes them interesting storytellers. Children of this age might enjoy reciting familiar stories, as well as starting to explore ideas of their own. Playing with words and sounds through rhymes, songs and stories is often a favourite pastime.
When my brother and I were little, our mum would snuggle up next to us and say: “All right, tell me a story.”
The tales we told her were probably thin versions of whatever picture book or early learning story we were reading at the time.
But what seemed like just a game to us was really a fantastic learning opportunity. She was teaching us to translate the information and knowledge we had picked up throughout the day into words.
Put simply, she was training us to be creative thinkers.
As an adult, I now realise that there is no better preparation for school, career or life in general than learning to tell stories as a child. Here are some of the benefits:
Developing and enhancing creativity. Creativity is like a muscle—you have to use it to strengthen it and keep it strong. Small children are imagination machines. Encouraging them to tell stories teaches them to harness that imagination.
Encouraging language development. Telling stories helps a child develop language and vocabulary. The more they practice and the more they explore words, the more confidently they will be able to put their thoughts into sentences.
Building confidence and self-esteem. Children require reassurance and confidence as they take the path to independence. Being able to invent their own stories and discovering that their ideas count is a wonderful boost to their self-esteem.
Encouraging a love of words, language and reading. Nothing serves a child better than a love of words, language and reading. For the rest of their lives they will be rewarded and enriched.
So how do you get your child to start telling his or her own stories? Here are a few tips:
- Incorporate story-time into your daily routine. Start by telling your child a story and then ask them to tell you one.
- Give prompts. If your child is struggling to come up with an idea, don’t be afraid to give prompts or suggestions.
- Ask them to elaborate. Be engaged with your child’s story—ask about the characters, their feelings, their motivations, their actions.
- Make it fun! This shouldn’t be a chore; it should be your child’s favourite part of the day. Get started today!