By Pippa Goodhart*
I’ve just had the lovely experience of doing a storytelling session at the Petfringe festival in West Sussex. I was sharing two Tiny Owl stories, The Clever Mouse and A Bottle of Happiness, with a small group of children, and their intent faces as they listened were a joy. Because they were reacting so much to the stories events and emotions, it encouraged me to ‘up’ the expressiveness with which I read, giving characters distinct voices, perhaps slightly ‘ham acting’ my own reactions to moments of worry or tension or relief in the stories. And it occurred to me how important it is for children have stories read to them by a variety of readers.
I was lucky enough to have a mother who read to me and my brother and sister every night, and I still read the favourites amongst those stories with my mother’s voice and expressions in my mind. But I remember what a revelation it was when a teacher at school then read one of those same stories, but it seemed a different one when it was read her way.
Each reader brings themselves to reading out loud, and discovering that individuality of interpretation of stories opens a treasure box of possibilities. I realised that once I learned to read for myself, I could make any story MINE!
*Pippa Goodhart is a well-known author of picture books and YA novels.
- Watch this video of Pippa Goodhart’s storytelling event at Greenwich Book Festival
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