Imagine the following scene…
A room full of children varying in ages from 5-11 playing with toys. Two children are throwing toys, two others rolling around on the floor, and still two more are playing very loudly and not following directions. The adults in the room have tried redirecting to new activities, attention getters, giving warnings, separating children, etc. And yet the room does not get any calmer.
Enter the storybook…
The group has been gathered together for story time. Amongst the moans and groans comments can be heard such as “picture books are for babies” or “I don’t want to read a story…it’s boring.” And yet the storyteller ignores the comments and begins reading the story. She is animated and uses voices to tell her tale. You can feel that she really believes in the power of the story and within minutes ~ actually more like seconds the group of children that had just been so wired up is mesmerized and fully engaged in the story.
I remember when I first started reading picture books to groups of children I dreaded it. I would get performance anxiety and I was unsure of myself. I would think to myself, “why are these children going to sit here and listen to me read this story to them?” and “I have a horrible storytelling voice.”
As long I as had that attitude, of course I was unsuccessful. But somewhere along the way I learned to love reading aloud. I started to see how much children enjoyed having picture books read to them. Their eyes get so intense. Sometimes they smile and laugh. Other times their eyes go wide or they make faces. Sometimes they will reach out and try to touch the images on the page. I just love it. I also began to notice that children of any age, from 3 up to 11 could really enjoy the simple act of having a story read aloud to them.
I learned to believe in the magic of story time. Because if you believe in it with all your heart chances are children will believe in it and love it too.