TAMIL NADU

Initiating children into reading habit through storytelling

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: “Once upon a time when the moon was green and the sky was recovering from rainbow measles, there was a magic shop owned by a frightening monster.” Thus began the story of Shreekumar Varma, one of the six story-tellers who narrated the bed-time grandma stories to a group of children here recently. The storytellers took the children through a world of bizarre characters such as big bad pig, blue cat with orange tail and red whiskers.

The event, organised by Scholastic India, had a large gathering of kids and their moms who were treated with imaginative stories of Mr.Varma, Aysha Rau, Shoba Viswanath, Kaushik Viswanath, Anitha Bennett and Jaspar Utley.Aysha Rau’s story also had a social message, on pollution.

With animated gestures and effective voice modulation, Anitha Bennett held the kids’ attention with her story on ‘Three small wolves and a big bad pig.’ Shoba Viswanath and Kaushik Viswanath rounded off the session with ‘Seven kids and kozhukattai.’

With their perfect timing and spontaneity, the mother-son duo became hit among the kids. As the mother narrated the story, her son brought it alive with amusing expressions, leaving the 50-odd kids in splits. All the storytellers made sure there were enough imaginations.

A majority of childrencame up with more questions. A few kids rested their backs on their schoolbags to take a quick nap as their moms listened with wide-eyed enthusiasm. “This is a step towards initiating children into reading habit. Stories are the best way to encourage kids to read books. This is the first initiative of such kind and we are planning to conduct storytelling sessions every quarter,” said Tahsin Chacko, Regional Manager, Scholastic India.

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