Children enjoy listening to stories. During our childhood, we remember asking our parents, grandparents or anyone elder to us, for amusing and interesting stories, simply because we enjoyed immersing ourselves in the world of fantasy. Besides providing pleasure, hearing stories has several benefits. It stimulates children’s minds, cultivates reading habits and increases their ability to think creatively. Despite being advantageous and captivating, new read-aloud stories are largely absent in our society. Younger people are still hearing tales, such as Kharayo ra Kachhuwa, Singha ra Musa, Dhukur ra Kamila, Kalu ra Bheda, which are marvelous but old. We can clearly feel the lack of new creations. Thus, with the aim of increasing the number of read-aloud stories and encouraging authors to write more of such stories, OLE Nepal has been conducting writers workshops. This sort of workshop had been conducted in Butwal, Pokhara, Biratnagar and Chitwan last year.
Participants were all from Nepali literature background. However, they weren’t well-versed in writing stories for children. Their target audiences were mostly adults. Hence, to make the participants understand the philosophies of writing children books, we initiated our workshop with significant presentations which eventually led to concentration on the writing styles.
During the workshops, the brainstorming session was an interesting part where the participants had to think about the plot of their stories. To make this activity more enjoyable, we urged the participants to reflect on their own childhood experiences, identify subjects they found entertaining and base their stories on such subjects. Once the stories were completed, our team of experts along with the participants organized group discussions to evaluate the first drafts. The feedbacks and suggestions that emerged from the discussions helped in re-writing the stories. This cycle of evaluation and revision went until the best piece of work was produced. By the end of this session, we were able to produce new revised stories.
To make these narratives more engaging and imaginative, OLE Nepal will give relevant pictures to the stories making them visually appealing. Once the illustration is complete, the stories will be edited and published through our E-Pustakalaya.
Challenges were expected. And, most of them arose from the fact that the writers were not used to children’s writing styles. It was hard to make authors write stories that touched the themes of fantasy, adventure and likewise. They mostly wrote about themes that were realistic and inclined towards giving some serious morals of life which is not really expected from story books for children. It was also challenging to make them write short stories as they were used to writing lengthy books. Furthermore, many of them wrote on a poetic prose rather than the preferred narrative prose. Nevertheless, through the dedicated efforts of OLE Nepal and our team of experts, we were able to conduct the workshop successfully. The program was highly fruitful in terms of encouraging the participants in writing more for children.
Given their engaging potential and intellectual benefits, stories greatly improve learning experiences of young children. For OLE Nepal, which is dedicated to enhance primary level education, collection of stories provide children with wonderful options to choose from. Likewise, it will serve as another fitting medium to increase the collection of learning resources for children in our E-Pustakalaya. We eagerly look forward to organizing similar events in near future.