Children for generations have been enchanted by storytelling. Stories are the window to the outside world. They are filled with great characters, wonderful adventures and they ignite imaginations no matter where a child lives.
Think of your favourite story as a child and I bet as you recall it it will bring back fond memories and a smile to your face. These beloved stories get tucked into your heart forever. A digital avalanche has now permeated children's minds and are here to stay so we must embrace it and guide our children to websites that with words, illustrations and animation bring these stories to life. From classical literature to folk tales, and even modern children's fiction, today's child can take her pick to read, listen, and watch. Adults enjoy these sites as well.
Unwrapping some Online Storybook sites for you...
Do you act out the stories to your child? Maybe you haven’t been able to yet, but famous actors from The Screen Actors Guild certainly can as it is their bread and butter. Actors (how about Elijah Wood or Hillary Duff) read aloud stories in their own voice and your child can listen in thanks to the streaming videos. The nicely designed interactive children’s story site is free and is a wonderful initiative made possible by the participation of SAG.
Mrs. P's Magic Library
The magic of stories is in its storytelling. Kathy Kinney as Mrs. P really brings back the fun in “story time”. Most of the stories are targeted for children between the age groups of 3+ to 6+ with a few for 9 and 11 year olds. The books narrated by Mrs. P are all old classics across genres. You can check out the video selections and use the dropdown filters to select the ones you want to watch.
There’s nothing like a good audio story played back for your child before he or she drifts to sleep. Storynory could be your download source as it has a huge bank of free audio stories and poems for children. You can choose from fairytales, classics, Bible stories, educational stories, and also quite a few original ones. Storynory is also available on iTunes in the Kids and Family Podcast section.
Story Cove (Classroom)
Story Cove brings you stories from around the world arranged under the names of the continents. You can open up the “story book” in your browser and let it playback the story for you. You can even play an animated version of the story. Teachers can download lesson plans and use the stories for some tutoring.
International Children's Digital Library
The online children’s library has a single purpose mission of providing free access to children’s literature from around the world. The site is well organized and you can explore the library by searching for books by country, doing a simple search, or by using the many other methods listed. The site supports quite a few international languages. A free registration allows you to save favorite books, set your preferred language, and also bookmarks pages of books you plan to come back to.
It’s not a problem putting kids in front of a camera and telling them to read out stories which other kids can listen or watch. Smories is a just that: original stories for kids, read by kids. On this site, you can expect to get stories that won’t be found anywhere else. There’s also a special version of Smories for the iPhone and iPad. Here’s a more detailed look into this nice children’s website.
Aesop’s fables have been traditionally used to teach kids about morals. This site perhaps houses the largest online collection that you can read or listen to. There are 655+ fables, some with illustrations and audio.
The site has books for young children, older children, and young adults. All books are illustrated and some have embedded audio. Check out The Farm Animals which is a “˜Click-a-Word Talking eBook’ of animal sounds.
MeeGenius is a reading application for the iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Google TV, Google Chrome Web Store, and the Web. The iPhone/iPad app is free as are the introductory books. The collection of free ebooks, just six strong, are a reading pleasure. The books are superbly illustrated and the site can read them out to you or you could read it yourself. To make them easier to follow, audio playback comes with word highlighting. You can also personalize the book by giving your own names (or your child’s) to the characters in the books.
In this age of pixels, it might be a tall order to tell children about pixies and fairies. But a good imagination flowers with a developed reading habit. The web isn’t a book but it has cool resources for children.
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Read on and read always!
It's a wrap.