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The Magic of Stories

  • Minecraft
  • Animal Crossing
  • Among Us

Aside from being amusing adventures in gaming, can you guess what all of these have in common?

Actually, let me make that question a little harder! Can you guess what all of these have in common with…

  • The last show you watched.
  • The last interesting thing you’ve heard.
  • The earliest experience that you can remember in your life.

All of these things involve stories! Think about it…

Stories are all around us. In games, you follow characters and build stories as you go. In shows, you watch stories as they happen on your screen. When you think of interesting things you’ve heard, they usually involve fascinating people or animals and events. What about the earliest experience you remember? I’ll bet it takes place in the form of a story!

Now, let’s do something fun! Take a look at these emojis for exactly 7 seconds…

Now, look away for 2 minutes, then try to remember which emojis you saw.

Okay, now look at the emojis for another 7 seconds but this time, create a story in your mind to go along with them. Again, look away for 2 minutes, then try to remember which emojis you saw.

Was it a little easier this time?

Stories are like magic! They help us to make connections. Connections to our own memories, to people and places, to other cultures, to our hopes and dreams. They make us laugh, cry, get goosebumps, and feel everything in between. They take us to far away places, to years long ago, and even to the future! They inspire and teach us, and they spark something special within us.

When it comes to being spellbound by the real magic that stories cast, nothing beats reading a book. Books allow our imaginations to run wild! More than any other method of storytelling, books open a portal into other worlds and allow us to hang out with all sorts of characters.

As we read, we can paint pictures in our minds of what the characters look like and sound like. We can even paint pictures of who we think the characters are outside of the story! Does a character sing loudly and off tune when they think no one is around? Do they like ketchup on their hotdogs? The book may not tell us, but we can use our imagination to determine fun things about each character! Books give us the magical ability to imagine and create in ways that games and shows don’t.

We can even ask ourselves questions to figure out what happens next, to think about what we would do if we were experiencing the events in the story, or to look back at times when we experienced something similar to what the characters are experiencing.

Yes, stories are like magic. And when it comes to reading stories in books, we have magical powers. In fact, we can even carry our book reading magical powers outside of the book!

How?

By extending the adventure and bringing books into our world! We can do this in many cool ways. We can:

  • Act out our favorite parts of a book. We can make costumes and props, gather friends (or even use stuffed animals) to play other characters, use funny voices, and can laugh and enjoy living out our favorite parts of the book.
  • Write our own versions of the books we read! We can write in a special place, use special writing paper and special writing tools like colored pens or various fonts on our devices, or even record our voices telling our versions instead of writing!
  • Switch things up in the stories we read! We can use our imaginations to write our own ending to a story, to change the space and time that a story takes place, even to change the characters of a story!
  • Make crafts that go along with the books that we read. We can use art materials to create our favorite items from a book, to create a scene from the book, to DIY something discussed in the book, to create anything we want that brings a book into our world.
  • Conduct experiments based on a book. Anything and everything from nature-driven experiments to magic-driven experiments, science can really bring books to life!
  • Create a recipe based on a food or ingredient mentioned in a book.
  • Research things from a book that are interesting. Pirates? Animal habitats? Outer space? How to ride a horse? Digging deeper and learning more is a wonderful way to bring the magic of a book to life.
  • Take a field trip! Visit a museum, a zoo, a park, or any other location that includes a piece of a book that interests you.
  • Play games like “Guess Who?” and “Charades” with the characters in a book.
  • Draw comics, wordless picture books, illustrations, or create digital art based on the books we read.
  • Create fanfiction with friends based on books that we read.
  • Write a letter to the authors of our favorite books. They love hearing your thoughts, wishes, ideas, and often write back!
  • Read in a special place that relates to the book! Reading a tale that takes place at night? Grab some sleeping bags and a flashlight and head outside for a reading adventure! Reading a story that takes place in an ocean? Fill the bathtub with ocean toys and float along as you read!
  • Take reading breaks every once and a while to stop and close your eyes. As you do this, allow your mind to take a trip into the story and become a character living in the moment. Try to imagine what you would see, hear, smell, and what it would feel like. If you can use your imagination to be in the story as you read, you’ll find that nothing else quite matches the fun of reading.

When it comes to reading, the possibilities of adventure, intrigue, friendship, fantasy, bravery, laughs, learning, and everything in between, are endless! What magic will you discover in your next book? 

Aug 10th 2021 Kat McGrady, ED.D., LCPC, NCC. and Boys Town Press Author

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