How brilliant is it that we can kick off 2024 by celebrating National Storytelling Week, running from 27th January – 4th February? People of all ages come together to share and enjoy stories. This year’s theme ‘Dream up a world,’ inspires us to explore the limitless possibilities that storytelling offers.
What’s So Amazing About Storytelling?
Do you remember how lovely it was to fall asleep to someone reading you a bedtime story? How about laughing uncontrollably as one of your friends animatedly shares how their work day unfolded? Or getting caught up in a book you couldn’t put down. Some would say, nothing beats a great story.
During National Storytelling week, it’s worth reflecting on the significance of stories. Stories have the power to change lives, shape societies and connect people. Thus, storytelling is woven through the fabric of our very existence.
From Campfires to the Digital Age
Since the dawn of civilization, stories were used to pass down history and cultural values from one generation to another. In ancient times, stories were shared around campfires, etched onto cave walls, or sung in poetic verses. These narratives held the collective wisdom of a community, preserving its identity and passing it down through the ages.
Fast forward to the present day, and we witness a storytelling renaissance. The digital age has brought us a variety of storytelling mediums. From e-books and audiobooks to podcasts and interactive online platforms. Social media has become a modern-day storyteller, with individuals sharing their experiences, dreams, and aspirations with a global audience.
Thankfully Stories are More Accessible Today
I love the feel and the smell of a brand-new book. But as my sight has deteriorated, and my appetite for thrillers hasn’t, I am ever so grateful that technology has made stories so much more accessible. I wouldn’t even want to dream of what the world was like devoid of audiobooks.
Here are some accessible ways for visually impaired people to access stories and share their own.
- Audiobooks can be purchased from different online stores, accessed through your local library or the RNIB Talking Books services. Audiobooks are also available to stream on a RealSAM Pocket or with a RealSAM Hub subscription.
- Braille Books are available through the RNIB and other charities and libraries.
- Large Print Books can be purchased and can be available in libraries.
- eBooks can be read using a screen reader or your operating system (OS) magnification. They can also be adjusted to have the font, colours, brightness, and contrast you need to read them comfortably.
- Podcasts are accessible online, on apps and social media platforms. On the RealSAM Pocket or with a RealSAM Hub subscription you’ll be able to pick from a vast collection of podcasts.
- Audio Description makes movies, shows, and other stories on video form accessible to people with sight loss.
- Live Audio Description in theatres and performances are beginning to be more and more available today.
- Social Media is overflowing with stories in written, audio, and video formats that could be accessed with a screen reader or magnification. And today, there are many blind and visually impaired creators sharing their stories and lived experiences.
Happy National Storytelling Week
During National Storytelling Week, we hope you can find some awesome stories to enjoy—and also tell your own. Can you dream up a new quirky dimension or a future world that’s even more accessible? Whether it’s through a classic novel, a captivating podcast, our favorite show, or a heartfelt social media post, each story has the power to change someone’s day.
By Guenivir Kendrick