Storytelling: The Importance of Storytelling

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The art of storytelling has been present since ancient times as a means to entertain, educate, and even preserve culture. It is the art of conveying a series of events in words, images, and sounds, which are often supported by creative thinking or an exaggeration. Ancient storytelling was thought to be strictly oral and combined gestures and expressions from the storyteller. There are many benefits of storytelling, as it conserves a culture's oral language while presenting ideas and concepts to its listeners.

World Storytelling Day is a global celebration of the art of storytelling that has its roots in Sweden circa 1991-1992. On March 20th of that year, the Swedes organized a day called All Storytellers Day that it is now celebrated around the world. It is celebrated every year on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere and on the first day of autumn equinox in the southern.

On these days, people from around the world come together to listen to stories told in various languages and in different locations. The point is to share stories, inspire, and learn from each other. It is the first global event that celebrates the importance of storytelling.

I came across a local group called the SouthCoast Storytellers Guild that tells stories to children in orphanages, correction facilities, and book fairs as a means to stimulate creativity and imagination in their listeners. The benefits of storytelling are far reaching as it encourages children to read on their own and opens doors to other imaginary worlds. I spoke to Ms. Mary Ann Newton, a long-time member of the Orange County Story Guild, who says that one of the reasons storytelling is important is because “stories from different places show not only how we may be different, but how much we are the same. Telling a story face-to-face to an audience makes them as much a part of the story as the teller. It’s about eliciting human reaction from the words spoken, whether it’s laughter, tears, horror, or surprise.”

In this day and age of digital technology and new ways of telling stories, it is important to continue on with the art of storytelling, whether they are your own personal stories or ones you read as a child. I know that my daughter loves to hear stories from my travels, family history, etc. It is a way for me to share our past with her in a fun and educational way.

You can read more about World Storytelling Day at

Does your family take part in World Storytelling Day? What are your children's favorite stories?


Photograph courtesy of the Orange County Story Guild. The picture is of Linda King Pruitt and her husband Bob Pruitt.

Melissa Northway, M.S. is a mom, writer and children’s book author. Her award-winning book "Penelope the Purple Pirate" was inspired by her little tomboy. Penelope is a modern-day Pippi Longstocking who teaches girls and boys the importance of having fun while teaching them to be kind and respectful of others and their differences. You can reach Melissa at: www.melissanorthway and follow her @melissanorthway.

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