A storyteller at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Michael Loader, believes that books have a profound impact on the wellbeing of children. As a representative of the charity Read for Good, Loader visits the hospital to support children’s mental health, wellbeing, and education during their stays. He believes that storytelling is a powerful tool that allows children to escape their reality and find solace in their imagination. By engaging with stories, children are not only entertained but also provided with an educational outlet when they are unable to attend school. Loader is currently encouraging young people to participate in the BBC’s 500 Words competition, highlighting the importance of creativity and imagination in children’s lives.
For children like Victor, who is a regular patient at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, storytelling provides a much-needed source of entertainment and engagement. Victor’s mother, Nickee, has noticed the positive impact of storytelling on her son’s experience in the hospital. Initially, he wasn’t very interested, but over time, he has become more engaged with the stories. Nickee believes that the repetition in storytelling appeals to Victor, and she appreciates the effort made to provide entertainment for children in the hospital.
In addition to the benefits of listening to stories, Loader emphasizes the importance of giving children the opportunity to write their own stories. He believes that this process allows children to tap into their imagination, creativity, and the freedom to create their own world. Loader encourages children of all backgrounds and abilities to participate in the BBC’s 500 Words competition, where they can write a fictional story without worrying about spelling, punctuation, or grammar. The competition aims to foster a love for storytelling and provide an outlet for children to express themselves in a supportive environment.
The BBC’s 500 Words competition is open to children between the ages of five and eleven. Renowned authors, including Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Francesca Simon, Charlie Higson, Malorie Blackman, and Sir Lenny Henry, serve as judges for the competition. Children can submit their stories by visiting the BBC’s website, with a deadline of November 10, 2023, at 20:00 BST.
In summary, storytelling has a significant impact on the wellbeing of children, especially those in the hospital. Michael Loader’s work as a storyteller at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, in collaboration with Read for Good, aims to provide educational support and entertainment for children during their hospital stays. Through storytelling, children can escape their reality, engage with their imagination, and find solace in the pages of books. Loader also encourages children to participate in the BBC’s 500 Words competition, highlighting the importance of creativity, imagination, and self-expression.