Guwahati, Nov. 12: This morning was a special one for a group of children as they listened to the ways of narrating their favourite stories from experts at a storytelling workshop organised by Anwesha, an NGO, at the 9th Festival of Books for Children.
Along with their teachers the students, too, learnt how a story should be presented with the right body movements and voice modulation.
As grandmothers are missing to make the evenings of children pleasant with wonderful tales, Anwesha, which is working to inculcate reading habit among students, has decided to train schoolteachers so that they can fill up the void.
“Today, I have learnt that expressions are important while telling a story. Otherwise, it will be dull. I also told the story of how a woodcutter became a carpenter. I like many tales including The Crow and the Pitcher and The Three Fish,” said Spondon Bordoloi, a Class III student of St Stephen’s School.
Monisha Bordoloi, a Class IV student of Shantipur Lower Primary School, said: “I like the stories of Burhi Aair Xadhu. My mother tells me stories from it. I also enjoy reading it. Today, I enjoyed myself. I have learnt how to tell a story.”
Prakash Borpujari, an anchor of All India Radio who is also associated with the storytelling and poem recitation programmes, and writer Tultul Barua enlightened the audience with their ideas on storytelling.
“Grandmothers have almost disappeared from today’s nuclear families and the parents are also not interested in telling stories. The schools need to give more importance on storytelling so that the students, up to 14 years, get opportunities to listen to stories,” Borpujari said.
Triptirani Konwar, a Class III student of Kumarkuchi Gaon LP School, is, however, fortunate. “My grandmother tells me stories once or twice a week. She tells me stories of kings, queens and Tejimola. When my grandma tells me a story, I really enjoy it. I want to listen to her everyday,” she said.
Borpujari said selection of stories for children varies from place to place. According to him, a story which is appropriate for a village child may not be appropriate for a child in the city. “Besides, I believe if a story is used to teach something it becomes easier for the students to learn it instead of telling things directly,” he said.
“I have learnt that one should have a golden voice and a good presentation style. I like tales that have morals,” Suman Barman, a Class IV student of St Stephen’s School, said.
Writer Tultul Barua said the positive side of listening to stories is that they improve one’s language skills.
President of Anwesha, Paresh Malakar, said participation of government school in the workshop was disheartening. “We invited them to the workshop. The workshop was more important for government schools rather than private schools. But their response was disheartening,” Malakar said.