Articles February 20, 2020

How to Make Time for Stories

In recent years, many of us have significantly reduced the time we spent reading. Drawn by our devices, we now tend to turn to them at every possible available moment – as we line up for the bus, as we wait for doctor’s appointments, and even at the dinner table. We might no longer carry a book in our bag, ready to pull us out of boredom or plunge us into an imaginary world at any given moment.

Recent circumstances have also required us to spend a lot of time on our laptops and tablets these last two weeks, even more than we usually do. We rely heavily on technology. Technology, however, isn’t the enemy of reading. In fact, we can use it to our advantage to increase quality reading time and reduce our mindless browsing or gaming time.

Let’s explore these simple steps to increase your daily reading time, leave our worries behind, and delve into the wonderful world of stories.

1Start your day with a book

Do you still feel sleepy when your alarm rings? Do you wish you could spend a few more minutes in your cosy, warm bed before starting your day? 10 minutes of reading will allow you to do just that. Here are a few tips to get you in the mood: Choose a book from your shelf or your Kindle or pick up the last library book you checked out. Set it on your bedside table when you go to sleep. The next morning, as you wake up and do a few stretches, reach for the book. Take a few seconds to look at the cover. Read the title, the author’s name, the illustrator’s name. Appreciate the artwork, design and colours. Flip the book over. Is anything written on the back cover? How thick is the book? How long do you think you will need to complete it? After you have finished observing the book, open and read a few pages to a chapter. That’s all! Now you are relaxed and ready to start your day.

2Replace one of your gaming apps with a reading app

We all have that one, addictive, mindless gaming app on our phone or tablet. After a long day of work or studying, we find comfort in a game that doesn’t require much brain power. Here is a challenge for you: replace that addictive gaming app by an equally enthralling reading app. That’s right…hit the button and delete the gaming app. Now go to your phone’s app store, and choose one of the following:

For Kindergarten and Primary Years:
Epic!
This platform features over 35,000 books, fiction and nonfiction, in various formats, including “Read-to-me” books read aloud by expressive voice actors. All you need is your teacher’s classroom code, in order to access the collections for free.
Vooks
If you wonder what a mix between an ebook and a video would look like, try Vooks. The original books’ illustrations are beautifully brought to life in this lovely collection of books you can stream. Families can try the first month for free!

For all ages:
Sora
Most schools offer free access to over 1,000 titles on Sora, the reading app powered by Overdrive. You can of course also sign up for Overdrive which is available for download on Kindle as well.

For High School and up:
Serial Box
Serial Box is a collection of serial stories written in TV serial-style episodes rather than conventional chapters found in novels and it’s an addictive format. Parents need to know that this is material geared toward adults (16 years and older) and hence, themes are often mature. Each week, a new episode is released which will typically take 45 minutes to read – much like an episode in a TV series.

3Become the storyteller

Let’s say you need a bit of time away from the screen. Maybe your eyes are getting tired and you don’t even feel like picking up a paper book. How about you become the storyteller? It’s easy, here’s how:

First, pick a character or two (your dog? That old lady returning from her grocery shopping that you can see through the window? Or maybe even… you?)
Second, choose a setting (your dream house, the one with an indoor theme park? The jungle? The beach? A new planet that hasn’t been discovered yet?),
Third, say these words out loud: “Once upon a time…” and colour your character. Maybe your character will face a challenge or get into trouble. What happens next? Think about your characters. What is unique about them? What do they like to do? How do they dress? In which era is your story taking place? In the past, the present or the future? What kind of place? Which language do people speak there?
And finally, share your story. Why not use your device to record your voice as you tell it? Tell it again the next day, adding details along the way or changing up the sequence of events. Tell it over and over again until you are happy with your story. Then share it with your friends and family and encourage them to share theirs. Remember that there isn’t a right or wrong story – every story you make is uniquely yours, from your imagination and you make the rules.

By Julia Besnard, THS Prep & High School Librarian

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