Story sessions for children at ‘Kids’ Corner’

Listening to a story sometime can be more enjoyable than reading one. As the storyteller’s voice rises and dips to match the events that unfurl in the story, the audience remain engrossed.

Recently, about 25 children gathered around and watched intently as a few members of the Ernakulam Women’s Association narrated folk tales to them. “Kids’ Corner”, a programme initiated by the association’s library, invites children less than 12 years of age to participate in this story session.

“Children these days have no time to read, they are extremely busy with their school curriculum. This is just to bring them back to the simple joy of just listening to a story,” says Valsala S. Chandran, the librarian. Technology has impacted children’s reading habits greatly and many of them are not patient enough to sit with a book, she adds. Through these sessions, they would learn to appreciate the habit of reading. It would be an interactive session, too. After a member tells a story, she would ask the children for their feedback or pose a few questions based on it. “Some of the stories we narrate are those that we have heard as children. Folklore which today’s children may not have heard,” says Shyamala Shreedhar, Secretary of the Ernakulam Women’s Association. The children are also made to tell stories, if they would like to. The next session is on July 6.

The recently-introduced “coffee evening”, too, is an initiative to revive interest in books among the association’s members. Two books—one in English and one in Malayalam—will be chosen and a guest (most often an author) will read out parts from the books. “We recently held our fifth coffee evening. After each session, we select the books for the next session. It is a new concept and it has been very well accepted by the members,” says Shobha Thampi, President of the association.

Having started in 1954, the Ernakulam Women’s Association Library, which comes under the Kerala Grandhashala Sangham, has won the best library award for the last three years and has won a Government grant for best performance, says Valsala, who has been the librarian for the last 25 years.

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