All children will hear a story on every day of their lives if an ambitious new campaign is successful.
The “Every Day’s a Story Day” campaign asks parents and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges throughout the country to “place a renewed focus on storytelling and sign up to our pledge to support this aspiration”.
It calls on them to make “Scotland the world’s greatest nation of exceptional storytellers”.
Quick read: Technology replacing books for bedtime stories
Get started with reading: 64 books to inspire reluctant readers
Children’s own stories: Pupils are writing about Brexit, Theresa May – and unicorns
The campaign is being driven by professional body Early Years Scotland (EYS), which says it is critical that children hear stories because it helps them:
Have an equal and excellent start in life
Build strong and supportive relationships
Enrich and enhance language and literacy
Develop thinking and problem-solving skills
Foster a love of books and stories from the earliest years
Step into new worlds and other cultures
EYS chief executive Jean Carwood-Edwards said: “When we think about storytelling, we often automatically think of books as we know that they open up a magnificent gateway to joy, discovery and new horizons.
“However, made-up stories, and stories shared through film, puppets, audio, play-acting, to name but a few, also create so many special memories, and bring countless benefits for children and families.
The campaign has already recruited a number of well-known figures to champion the cause, including: radio presenter and comedians Des Clarke and Fred MacAulay, journalist Clare English, actor Stephen Purdon, sports journalist Graham Spiers, Sanjeev Kohli of Still Game fame and broadcaster Catriona Shearer.
Children and young people minister Maree Todd is also a story champion, and she said: “Storytelling is a memorable and important part of children’s lives. It helps them make sense of the world around them, helping them feel secure and build their confidence, and strengthens the bond between the storyteller and the child.”
She added: “I’m honoured to have been asked by Early Years Scotland to become one of their story champions, and will continue to work to find new ways of encouraging children and adults to love storytelling.”
Another story champion is BBC broadcaster Kirsty Wark, who said: “The quiet time when you sit with your child and read to them is magical. I remember telling them everything from Messy Baby to Little Women.
“But afterwards, do ask your child to tell you a made-up story of their own. That will feed their imagination even more – and what is so wonderful is that it’s free.”
Marc Lambert, chief executive at the Scottish Book Trust and another story champion, said: “You’re never too young, or even too old, to join in with the magic of a story. A story can open up so many new experiences, possibilities and worlds for a child, and in sharing stories, children will learn about themselves and others.”
Sports journalist and story champion Graham Spiers said: “I love reading bedtime stories to my kids. For me it is special ‘together time’ at the end of the day. Sometimes I read from a book or sometimes I’ll just make up a ripping yarn as I go along.
“I find these minutes together almost sacred, just you and your child, with the light fading outside – even better, if the child has nodded off before you reach your conclusion.”
EYS wants children, parents, carers and staff – in all early years settings, primary schools, colleges and universities – to pledge their support by signing up to the campaign online.
People can sign up as: “story stars” – children who love stories; “story settings” – places of learning that promise to ensure that children have a story every day; or as individual “story supporters” – parents or carers who want their child to hear a story every single day.