Saturday, 7 February 2015

National Libraries Day

My #shelfie :)
How appropriate that National Libraries Day should come at the end of National Storytelling Week :) You can join in by tweeting photos using #shelfies and share your love of libraries with #NLD15

In my family, we use libraries very regularly. These days they seem to offer so much more than just the lending of books with regular storytelling sessions, games clubs, school holiday activities, internet sessions, talks and reading groups.

We're blessed to have a local library in our village with friendly and helpful staff. I find the threat of library closures depressing, especially knowing that  our little local library is well used by the different generations and by people from all walks of life.

I have always used libraries. As a child, the library gave me access to whole series of books one after the other, without having to wait for birthdays or Christmas to get the next one. As a teenager, came access to the adult section which opened my eyes to history and many new and wonderful topics. As mum with young children, it was joy to go and let them choose their own books and I read many, many picture books with them and we all made new friends at storytelling sessions. As a student, it was so easy to go and pick up a book that 'might' be useful for an assignment without having to worry that it was wasted money. And now as a writer, I borrow piles and piles of picture books trying to find ones that will introduce new areas of interest to my children and yours through Picture Book Explorers.


I'd love to hear what your local library offers beyond books. Is it different in other parts of the country, and in other parts of the world. I'm in Yorkshire, England. Please tell me about your local library in the comments :)

Monday, 2 February 2015

National Storytelling Week - UK

This week is the 15th annual National Storytelling Week in the UK running from 31st January until 7th February which also happens to be National Libraries Day :)

Why is storytelling so important that it deserves a whole week?

"Storytelling and reading aloud are powerful tools for a child's development, and for sparking a lifelong love of books:
  • Reading aloud is shown to be the most important thing you can do to help prepare a child for reading and learning
  • The more words a child hears spoken to them, the more words they learn
  • Reading aloud ... opens up new worlds to children and demonstrates the joy of reading."
Scholastic Books

There are a few literature-rich curricular from America that already know the benefits of reading aloud to children. Along with good quality children's literature from the last couple of centuries, many will recommend books of fairy tales, folk tales and other stories that originated from an older oral tradition.

Charlotte Mason was a British educator. Her method goes a step beyond reading aloud by encouraging narration, primarily to develop skills needed for composition writing. One means of narration can be as simple as a child retelling the main points of a story they have just heard, leading to a more in depth retelling by an older child, that in our house sometimes borders on a dramatic production. In this way, narration also develops and encourages the storytelling skills that people have enjoyed for millenia.

"The Boyhood of Raleigh" by John Everett Millais 1870
National Storytelling Week is a celebration of the oral tradition organised by the Society for Storytelling. You can find a list of events here.

If you're on twitter use #NationalStorytellingWeek to join the National Story Week conversation and #picturebookexplorers to share your stories of using Picture Book Explorers to encourage storytelling :)

Picture Book Explorers ~ Greyfriars Bobby would be a good fit for this week with its exploration of oral storytelling activity.

Encouraging storytelling through games:
ORT - Traditional Tales Story Game Flashcards
Letterland Make-a-story card game
Storyonics - Amazing Adventure Stories: 6- 106 years
The Creativity Hub Rory's Story Cubes