Is Storytelling Medium-Agnostic?

By eLearning Inside
April 23, 2021

Generation Z is perhaps the first generation to have grown up without associating reading with printed books. For everyone who did not grow up with a digital device in their hands, books are the most natural thing when it comes to reading. That’s precisely why reading books remains of the utmost importance in our education system. Indeed, experts have measured greater cognitive mental stimulation and brain exercise through the process of reading. Additionally, reading improves communication skills as the more one reads, the more vocabulary and knowledge one can acquire. It also enhances writing abilities and focus, making it easier to convey a message. Creative individuals also note that reading books improves their imagination and overall sense of empathy, increasing emotional intelligence in the process.

However, it becomes essential to ask ourselves whether books are the key to those skills and abilities, or whether the storytelling process can create similar benefits outside of the printed pages. Indeed, there is more than one medium to share stories, and they all have their advantages.

Digital Materials

Reading books provides more vocabulary, more background knowledge, and boosts thinking skills. Therefore, educators emphasize the importance of independent reading for their students. Reading outside of school improves the overall academic performance. But the only reason why those benefits are associated with printed books is that paper books have been the preferred source of reading until the pandemic. Remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis has transformed reading habits. In 2020, digital reading increased by 107% compared to the previous year. When it comes to performance, educators have found comprehension and reading difficulty levels unchanged. The bottom line: Digital books or printed books deliver the same educational advantages.

A woman lies on her stomach listening to an audiobook.
Joyce Buscola, Unsplash.

Back to the Oral Tradition

Stories existed long before people knew how to write. Words-of-mouth and oral traditions have passed on stories throughout the generations. Our ancestors did fantastically well, even though most of them didn’t know how to write or read. While that doesn’t mean that schools should stop teaching writing and reading, there is no denying that there’s a lot of advantages in using the kind of audiobook kids enjoy. Indeed, an audiobook can help kids with reading-related difficulties improve their skills. It is also a source of vocabulary, creativity, emotional intelligence, communication skills, and inspiration. Listening to a story boosts active memory or focus, which are essential skills in the classroom!

Interactive Storytelling

Interactive technology can tell stories in a unique way, bringing the reader to the heart of all events. Typically, readers maintain a passive attitude to their books. But by changing the rules, interactive stories can create a unique immersive world that captivates both the mind and the heart. When done properly, interactive narratives include sounds, visual effects, texts, and choices seamlessly to elevate the experience. The reader uses their emotional engagement with the story to question their decisions, perceptions, and understanding in ways that transcend the printed format. As a result, kids can develop new creative paths, developing an independent thinking process.

Does storytelling exist only in a printed format? Recent surveys have shown that other channels can be equally effective in creating an experience and bringing unique advantages for the readers. Perhaps, the reading of the future doesn’t discriminate between channels, accepting that a good story can be beneficial to those who choose to engage with it.

Featured Image: Nong Vang, Unsplash.