“There have been great societies who have not used media, but there are no societies that haven’t used storytelling” was a inspired quote that Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, of Disney Junior Worldwide, used during the kickoff of the Disney Junior Get a Book Give a Book program.
If you have a young child, you know how import stories can be. My children love their daily ritual of bedtime reading, and love the story times that school or the local library offers.
Yet, there are thousands of children who want a book and want to read, but don’t have access to books. As LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow fame, and the co-creator of the popular Reading Rainbow iTunes app stated, during the kickoff presentation during the 2014 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Disneyland, “unless a child is proficient at reading at the Grade 4 level, they are not likely to graduate from high school” per a PBS study he referenced.
So Disney Junior partnered with First Book, a non-profit social enterprise that provides new books to schools and programs serving children in need nationwide. First Book works with eligible organizations and classrooms including: Title 1 schools, after-school programs, libraries, military support initiatives, and others reaching children needing books the most. Disney will donate up to 1,000,000 books to First Book in support of the Give a Book Get a Book initiative. The Give a Book, Get a Book program runs 4/1/14-9/30/15.
When I went to the Disney Store recently, and bought some Disney Junior plates and spoons for the kids, they gave me a Give a Book Get a Book code when I checked out. Then I went home, entered the code online, picked a region in the US to donate my book, and then I got a free Disney e-book for my own child! Just go to GiveaBookGetaBook.com to enter the code you received with your Disney Junior product, (which you can also get when you buy items from the online DisneyStore.)
During the kickoff of the Give a Book Get a Book program, Disney invited the children of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration attendees to a special book reading with the real life people behind the voices of popular Disney Junior Shows, like David Arquette (voice of Jake in Jake and the Neverland Pirates), Tim Gunn (Baileywick on Sofia the First), and Ariel Winter (Sofia the First), reading the books to the kids! It emphasized the importance of reading to kids everyday, and even make reading interesting by having different voices of the characters when you are reading. While it would be fabulous to have Tim Gunn in my house reading to my kids, it would be just as fun for me to make silly voices, low voices, high voices when I’m reading. You may think it is silly to sound like a bear, but your kids will love it, and it will make reading interesting!
Reading introduces the tradition of storytelling, increases vocabulary and improves critical thinking. You should aim for 30 minutes a day of reading to a child or a child reading on their own. Here are the ways to foster the dialogue!
- Ask questions about a book they’ve read, their favorite TV show, or an event in their life to kick-start a child’s storytelling ability.
- Try different voices when reading to make the story come to live and to teach your children about different characters.
- Share stories from your childhood, your family history, or even your imagination to increase a child’s love of storytelling.
- Encourage opportunities for your child to create their own stories. Set the scene and let their imaginations run wild.
- Sing stories through music. Songs are stories set to a tune.
Now, as much as I love that you are reading this post, go read a book! 🙂
This post is part of my Disney Social Media Mom Celebration series. During the event, I received free product. However, it was a paid conference and no product alone influenced my decision to write about it.