How to Empower Young People to Tell Their Own Stories

how to empower young people to tell their own stories

At an early age, children feel so enthusiastic to share their stories, real or invented. Some children are chatterboxes who can’t stop talking. They want to tell us everything.

However, while growing up it becomes more and more difficult for them to share, especially, putting their stories on paper and claiming it as a book. Why does it happen? Why should we encourage children to tell their own stories? And how can we achieve it? 

How can we Foster Storytelling?

When children start going to school, they start working on their literacy with certain format exercises, tasks, tests, and exams. These are grammar and vocabulary practice activities and the kids learn to do everything to fit in the format and pass an exam.  

Children are rarely exposed to free-format activities and are not always encouraged to express themselves as they feel and see.

That’s why with time, it becomes very scary to share their unique stories without being worried about corrections, format, and judgments. 

By telling or writing their own stories children learn to speak about what truly matters to them, what they are afraid of or what they dream about, and maybe, even how they can make a better world.

If only children learned this skill from a young age, they would feel more confident to share their stories, and the world would be a more peaceful place with a greater mutual understanding.

Furthermore, sharing a story enables you to be more attentive to the story of your peer and, thus, to be more empathetic to others.

Two Steps to Empower Storytelling

There are two major steps to empower storytelling in our little ones focused on confidence and reading.

Role Modeling and Love of Reading

The first step is role modeling. It works best of all. Especially, parental role modeling makes wonders. If you, as a parent start sharing your personal stories from your life, what you have gone through, what you felt, and what was the lesson of your story, your child will feel more and more comfortable and confident to do the same.

Have a look at this article “Want your child to love books? Share your reading story.” Do you remember your grandparents’ stories? Their stories touch our hearts and always carry some lessons. They always evoke lots of curiosity, excitement, interest, and even admiration.

Another way to empower our young generation to stand out with their stories is to instill a love of reading.

Books open a whole new world of storytellers. You can find those who are of most interest to your child, those that inspire them and teach the best about our world. 

It would be awesome if you could show them examples of young authors and their stories. Human nature is that we learn the most from somebody whom we can relate to, right? For example, an eight-year-old Dillon Hellbig from Idaho, the USA, created a hand-made book about his Christmas adventures. He secretly left his book on the shelf in the library and, now, there are 55 people on the waiting list to read his unique hand-made book.  

children holding paper, bookmarks, and stickers

Make Your Local Library Your Child’s Favourite Place.

It would be fantastic if you could bring your child to an author’s visit at the local library or online.

Yes, nowadays many libraries combine live and online sessions, so you can easily join a meeting with an author from another part of the world. Can you imagine?

It will be even more beneficial if you tell a story of this author to your child, how and why they started writing, and why they write about this particular topic in a certain genre. 

From Reading to Writing Stories

The second important step to empower storytelling is showing children how to do it.

While being inspired and motivated, if you don’t have a definite plan with simple actionable steps, you can’t achieve anything.

Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Start a common journal about something, e.g. while traveling you can write about your best impressions 
  • Start a journal of regular letters to each other 

Such journals will always mean a lot to your family and will be part of your family history.

  • Buy some creative writing activity books to try on your own with your child
  • Sign up your child for a writing class at your school, in the local library, or online
  • Find and join a community of young authors, where the creative atmosphere will help to unfold your child’s creativity and will bring them the confidence to share their own story
  • Encourage your child to take part in a competition (e.g. Write Your Best Adventure Experience and Win a Prize)

Workbooks to empower storytelling

Empower Storytelling beyond the Picture Book Age

Storytelling is often associated with an early age when parents read fairy tales to their children, but as children grow older, parents stop giving so much meaning to it. Maths, science, and languages seem to be more important.

However, stop for a moment and think, about which story in your life inspired you and helped you to move forward in your life.

If you decide to empower your child to tell their own story, maybe, one day their story will help somebody as well. 


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Iryna Skibenko

Teacher, Author, Founder at Smart Story Space
Coming from Ukraine, I have travelled to around 20 countries. I am the author of 3 adventure stories for children (9-11 yrs old) with 17 years of teaching experience of the English Language. I graduated from Donetsk National University with Master's Degree in the English Language and Literature. 1 year ago, I founded Smart Story Space, where children master their English through reading my adventure stories and writing their own stories. My students come from different countries, so they have a maximum exposure to communication with foreigners. By creating and sharing their stories with each other they gradually gain more confidence, find their voice and become global citizens.
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