Tell Me a Story – Family Literacy

“Tell Me a Story” is a family literacy program initiated in 2006 by the Swiss Institute for Children’s and Youth Media SIKJM. The program consists of free storytelling sessions for families with migrant backgrounds with children between two and five years. The sessions promote native tongue language and literacy.

This project aims to raise awareness of the importance of telling stories, singing, playing with words and rhymes. It encourages parents to use their native language (the language they speak best) in order to give their children a good linguistic foundation at an early age.

Together with their children parents attend storytelling sessions regularly where they enjoy stories in their native language. These sessions take place in libraries, community centers and schools and are moderated by a language animator, trained by SIKJM. The animator invites participants to play, sing, and read picture books showing parents how they can boost their children’s literacy skills in everyday activities.

These animators also play a vital role in the promotion of the project. They invite families actively to the storytelling events and inform early literacy. In addition, they act as mediators between cultures and help families to overcome cultural challenges. For example, they counsel parents in other educational issues or let them know about other resources in their community, such as libraries or language classes for adults, students, and pre-school children.

“Tell me a Story” was awarded the Orange Award 2010 by Unicef Switzerland and Orange Switzerland and was added to the Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database – LitBase of UNESCO.

Photo © SIKJM / Goran Basic