We launch a Storytelling Month to celebrate multilingualism and your stories

31 Jan 2022

storytelling month logo

Today we kick off Storytelling Week by launching the brand-new Storytelling Month to celebrate the value and skill of speaking multiple languages and the ways that these voices and stories shape our community.

The virtual initiative, which forms part of the National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign, is to run until International Mother Language Day on February 21 and promote community literacies – with an equal focus on speaking and reading.

It will celebrate the richness of people’s stories and experiences, lots of different cultures and raise awareness of the breadth of languages across our Hub areas.

The Storytelling Month will promote a love of reading and dialects through fun activities in our 14 Hubs but also central scrapbook resources and booklists, which will be available on Words for Life and the National Literacy Trust website in early February, for families and children to get involved in.

Across the month, parents and children aged three plus will be given free access to a diverse range of voices. Volunteer storytellers in your local neighbourhoods will be capturing imaginations and inspiring families to play a part in preserving their mother tongue, while central resources help children, families and teachers explore traditions and create a piece of history to look back on.

With free videos ranging from a reading of Enormous Turnip in Czech, the Little Turtle and Little Rabbit Have a Race in Mandarin Chinese and Romanian fairy stories, Storytelling Month is packed with weekly activities and resources that will help young people and parents build new skills and improve their literacy.

There will be a range of exciting activity, including:

  • Three scrapbook resources, which are tailored to children 3-5, 5-7 and 7-11, to explore your heritage, family or life history and experiences, and boost the literacy of your whole family on Words for Life
  • A storytelling competition with master-storyteller Richard O’Neill
  • Dual Language booklist and Folktales & Fables booklists for teachers and parents on the National Literacy Trust website
  • Story reading videos on our Hubs Facebook pages for more fun and inspiring ways to celebrate you and the special people in your life.

The activities across the month will improve representation of cultures, dialects and languages in storytelling, and empower our local families to share their stories with others. It also gives those who only speak one language the chance to be introduced to new languages they may not have come across before.

The launch comes after 2 in 5 children who speak multiple languages said they want their multilingual skills to be more recognised in school, according to a National Literacy Trust research report.

We also know that a third of UK children do not see themselves in the books they read and 2 in 5 multilingual young people say that reading about characters similar to them makes them feel more confident about themselves.

Imran Hafeez, Bradford Stories Manager, said: “ Together with local poets, authors and literacy champions in different communities, are launching an action packed Storytelling Month for you to enjoy and join in with.

Literacy is not just about reading and writing, it’s also about the ability to express ourselves and be heard. This is something we’re focused on at the National Literacy Trust. Having strong literacy skills can strengthen communities and enables us to celebrate our identities. When people feel like they have the chance to tell their stories and can listen to others, this helps us create empathy and form connections.

“We believe that books and stories have an important part to play in the wellbeing and happiness of families. So, we are encouraging parents and children to share stories together every day, whether that’s reading stories aloud, listening to audiobooks as a family or watching story time videos by our incredible volunteers.”