When did you first fall in love with reading? For me a trip to my local library at age five unlocked a whole new universe for me when I checked out Babar The Elephant. The Founder of Traveling Stories Emily Moberly, wanted to bring that love of reading to children. “I was teaching English in Honduras and would read during my breaks. My students asked why would I want to spend my free time reading when I could do anything that I wanted! This triggered so many deeper reflections: it meant they did not enjoy reading which really shocked me, and how could I, as their English teacher, help inspire them to want to read and how could I get them to fall in love with reading.”
In 2011, Traveling Stories created the StoryTent: a mobile literacy program that would provide one-on-one reading support and motivational incentives to kids. For every book read, kids earn a Book Buck, which can be redeemed for prizes.
Traveling Stories Is Changing Kids Lives and Futures
7,000 children have participated in Traveling Stories worldwide, and some parents too! According to Moberly, “Many of our kids’ parents are now also connecting with reading, some have even decided to return to school!” Moberly states the goal of Traveling Stories “Is to empower kids to outsmart poverty, and we do that by getting them to fall in love with reading. We believe in rewarding kids for reading. Kids come to the StoryTents, which are located where the kids are (primarily shopping malls and farmers markets) and they get to choose which book they want to read. We pay them with Book Bucks for each books they read. Then, the catch, is we allow them to redeem toys and prizes in exchange for their Book Bucks. In some areas kids are amazing at saving their Book Bucks for larger prizes such as skateboards and scooters. We’ve even seen some kids team up to collectively to buy larger prizes, and negotiate among themselves trading prizes. We see so much entrepreneurship in them and can only imagine what they’ll grow up to be.”
Do You Want Traveling Stories to Your School or Next Event? “Show us a need and a demand and we’ll help deliver it,” says Moberly. Visit: https://travelingstories.org
Emily’s Tips on Teaching Literacy to Kids
Read Jim Trelease’s incredible book called The Read-Aloud Handbook. This book is a precious and valuable resource with so many case studies, facts, and a complete collection of suggested readings for the kids. Another tip from Emily, “Kids mimic what their parents do. If they see their parents reading, they’ll want to read. If they see their parents spend hours upon hours watching TV, then guess what: kids will want to watch TV. Kids are people, and people don’t respond well to the old saying “Do as I say, not as I do!” You want your kids to reach for the stars? Then provide a ladder, and climb it with them!”
7 Ways to Get Involved in the Literacy Movement!
You can volunteer to become a Reading Role Model
You can donate 🙂
You can inspire a love of reading with the kids in your life
You can help us out by meeting the kids’ wish list for the prizes
You can sign up for our newsletter and stay in touch
You can become an ambassador
Or… just come visit us at 2801 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 302 to drop off gently used kids books!