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06/15/2017 - Story Telling at Negba: Not Just Before Bedtime

When’s the last time you heard a good story?
Most would answer as a young child at bedtime, and nostalgically recall eyeing a colorful picture book while daddy, a sister or a babysitter read aloud emphatically, in multiple voices.
Lots of stories are told at Negba. Literally. Every Thursday a different one is read from a designated Reading Corner at each of Negba’s Beersheva after-school homes, entertaining over 50 kids in grades 1-3.

“I wait for it all week, to discover a new story,” said Meital, 9. “And it’s so different to hear it read out loud than to read it myself.” Some of the kids’ favorites include Gumot Hachen (Dimples), Dira Lehaskir (Apartment for Rent), and Aryeh HaSifriya (Library Lion).

While storytelling might seem childish, there is much academic research to support its benefits, including improved listening skills and communication, enhanced verbal abilities, stimulated creativity, and enhanced capacities to learn academically. All these are skills that Negba aims to impart to the children in its care.

With all good storytelling, the reader is paramount. So at Negba, the weekly reader is the coordinator at each after-school home, an authority figure admired by the children. And as a special bonus, once every two months all 50 children visit the Beersheva Municipal Library to hear a story from a professional storyteller, and for some private reading and browsing time among the library’s bookshelves.

"I loved hearing the story Nozot Baruach (Feathers in the Wind) by Shlomo Abas. It was so interesting!" remarked Netanel, 7. “The library is so quiet, you can listen and read with no noise." Friend Elia, also 7, agreed. "It is really fun to hear a story in the library. Of course it's more fun to hear a story. But it depends who's doing the telling."

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