Reading is an integral aspect of life. It cultivates critical interpretation, critical thinking, and critical living. Reading can teach, challenge, and convict a person forcing him or her to examine things from a varying aspect not previously acknowledged. And while reading performs all these varying functions it is an enjoyable experience as well. Therefore, as reading cultivates life, we should seek to cultivate reading as a part of life.
There are varying ways to cultivate a reading culture within your circle of influence (especially with your family). First, there are tools to be utilized, which are ever increasing as technology becomes more utilized. Second is simply by the way reading is integrated into your life and how you present that to others (i.e. as a reader, giving books as gifts will often generate reading interest). Reading’s greatest influence begins at home with you, your spouse, and your children. A couple of years ago, some friends of mine started a company called Story Moment (story moment.com), an online project that promotes reading for children.
The husband and wife team, with some input from their children certainly, works together to create stories, narrations, and ebooks for family enjoyment. Currently, there are two series online, Honza and Dash (a 21 episode series about two mice) and The Fantastical Fox Family (which currently has 10 episodes). Available for online or offline use, each episode comes with an audio narration as well as a downloadable PDF book (which you can access and download from your personal dashboard on their website). While lacking a lot of animation because that would certainly add much time to the publication process, the audio is very well done and the text itself in the books beautifully done and pleasing to the eye. The narrations are slow and smooth . . . for some the narration may be too slow, but there is a purpose; the slow narration makes it easy for children, especially young children learning to read, to follow along with the story.
The format allows the series to offer a great function in family life. While certainly children can be setup to listen and/or read the story themselves, it is rightly geared towards a family function. Each episode is about 20 minutes, making it easy to grab a few moments together to enjoy the stories. So now only does it promote reading, it promotes reading together.
Finally, the stories are well-done. They are simplistic both in words and stories so as to reach varying reading levels, and yet still challenging enough that children can find something new in several readings of it. Furthermore, with quirky characters on quirky adventures, each one is unique. Such a reading experience makes it enjoyable for everyone to take part in.
Story Moment is a unique tool that can bring families together through reading. However, it is only beneficial in as much as you use it. There is a cost depending on whether you choose to buy a series outright ($32.50) or pay a monthly subscription fee ($7.00) however the fee is quite reasonable. Not quite convinced, go to the website and enjoy the first episode free so you can experience it for yourselves.
Reading must be integrated into our lives and in doing so we should seek to cultivate it in others. The impact that it can and does have is profound; that impact is also sorely missed when the reading experience does not play a prominent role in what we do.
Disclaimer: I had the privilege of meeting the creators of Story Moment years ago at my home church, long before Story Moment was ever conceived. So they are fellow Christians and friends. However, they did not ask me to post this on the website nor did they influence what I was going to write. Finally, while they did give me a code to try one of the series at no cost, it was not done so with the intention that I would write a favorable review. Instead, all of the opinions here came as a result of my own experience with the site. As one who wants to promote reading to everyone, it was only after I spent some time with Story Moment did I recognize how valuable it would be to share with others, and that alone is my purpose in sharing about it with you.
Second Disclaimer: The background photo above was stolen from their website. I intend no copyright infringement, but only wanted to promote the site.