How stories make kids smarter, stronger, and kinder

by | Jan 8, 2019 | Research | 0 comments

We’re all storytellers. The latest drama at work. The nightmare commute. Father Christmas. They’re all titles we recognise. We’re so used to telling them that we’ve forgotten they’re stories.

Stories are maps that help us to navigate life. Over 65,000 years ago, cave dwellers used painting to pass on survival tips. Today, books teach us how to deal with life’s struggles. Think of them as a practice ground, preparing you for whatever comes your way. Stories make you feel safe. That’s why reading can be such a relaxing experience.

One Third Stories combines storytelling and language learning. Our authors write stories that kids love. Our experts add the language that kids need. The result? A method of learning that makes languages stick.

Experts know that engaged learning is good learning. The more interested you are, the easier it is to learn (and remember what you learned later). That’s why we’re so picky when it comes to our stories. We want every book of ours to delight and entertain (so that the learning bit comes easily).


A great story lights up your brain

Stories light up more areas of your brain than simple word learning. When you learn words, the language area of the brain is activated. When you read stories, more parts come into play. Detailed descriptions stimulate the parts of the brain associated with what you’re reading. For example, if you read a description of a smell, the part of your brain linked to smell lights up. If you read a sentence about a stomachache, you might even feel a funny sensation in your tum.


You feel what you read. That’s why the experience of reading is so vivid. Reading (or being read to) stimulates the brain like nothing else. Kids who experience stories early on are better equipped to learn new languages. They learn new vocabulary and grammar sense, just by enjoying their favourite stories.

Stories nurture empathy

The best characters make the best stories. They dare to do what we dream of doing. They travel across strange lands, go on epic adventures, and meet a whole host of fascinating folk along the way. We learn how to see the world differently through their eyes.

Stories help us to understand other people. We get to know the inner world of our favourite characters. We see how other people react to challenges. The best part? Reading stories exposes children to a cast of characters much more diverse than we’d normally meet.

The brain doesn’t see a difference between a fictional conversation and a real conversation. You learn just as much from the interaction. You develop social skills as a result. Narratives can change the way that you think and act. It’s vital for children to read stories that model resilience and empathy, so they can develop those skills for themselves.

Psychologists explain that everyone has their own idea of how others think. The more we find out about people, the better we are at understanding them. Stories are full of encounters with characters from all walks of life. That makes it easier for children to understand different cultures when they come across them in real life. It’s this kind of empathy that’s crucial in an age where communication is global.


Reading boosts all forms of intelligence

Intelligence goes beyond knowing a lot. Knowledge is important, but it’s not enough on its own. Problem-solving skills and emotional intelligence are crucial too. Stories enhance all forms of intelligence. Listening to stories has the same effect.

You learn new words and facts from books (boosting knowledge). You predict how a story will end (using problem-solving skills). You learn how characters interact (enhancing emotional intelligence). For something so simple, stories have far-reaching benefits.



Bond over bedtime stories

The bond between you and your child is precious. But it’s a challenge to find quality time together when you’ve got work, the house, and a million other things to think about. Make bedtime reading a priority. You get to sit down for once; they get to relax with you. Choose books that you both love and bedtime stories will soon become routine.

This shared experience means kids love reading for life. Kids that love reading, read more and reap the rewards.

Storytelling and language go hand in hand

Stories inspire us. Languages connect us. Whether you’re telling your five-year-old a bedtime story or entertaining a loved one with a silly anecdote, it’s language that underpins every one of our interactions. And with studies showing that bilingualism makes kids smarter, it’s more important than ever to make sure that we start learning languages young.

Kids deserve the chance to connect on a global scale. One Third Stories brings storytelling and language together to help children take their first steps into a world full of words.


How does it work?

Our Story Boxes are delivered to your door every month. Each box has a different theme, designed to captivate kids’ imagination. Every month, you get a storybook and plenty of fun activities. The four key areas of language (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) are all covered using the Clockwork Methodology™, our innovative approach to language learning. If you’d like to give our stories a try, download our free sample here.

References for article

Your Brain on Fiction. Annie Murphy Paul, The New York Times (2012)


Can Reading Make You Smarter? Dan Hurley, The Guardian (2014)


Teaching for Literacy Engagement. John T. Guthrie, Journal of Literacy Research (2004)


Reading and Life Success. Jerry Diakiw, Huffington Post (2017)


Theory of Mind: Understanding Others in a Social World. Brittany Thompson, Psychology Today (2017)


Why Bilinguals Are Smarter. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, The New York Times (2012)


Reading Aloud to Children: The Evidence. Duursma, Augustyn & Zuckerman, Archives of Disease in Childhood (2008)

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