Well, Ralph and Lisa from www.smories.com have a wonderful way to do just that.

When we allow our children to use the internet we always need to be cautious of what they are viewing. However, we shall have no need to worry when they visit this website. Smories is an innovative project for children, which will allow them to see other children become story tellers.

There will be a range of stories on various subjects submitted by unpublished authors for children to enjoy without fearing for their safety. It is always good to encourage a child to read, but sometimes they also need to be read to. As another child will be narrating the story there will be less chance of them becoming bored at some adult droning on at them. With the story teller nearer their own age group children should be able to more enjoy the experience.

This new idea put forward to benefit children the world over could be a step towards a new “future of digital storytelling” for our most treasured possession, our children.

The story begins….

Earlier this year, Lisa Swirling and Ralph Lazar were travelling from the Kalahari Desert to Cape Town with their two daughters in a rather hot and dirty Land Rover. We all know how hard it is to keep children entertained in cold wet England on a half an hour journey let alone in the heat of the Kalahari Desert. Their eldest daughter had the idea of filming herself whilst she read tales written by famous children’s novelist Enid Blyton on her iPod. She was not to know the entertainment value of this to her younger sister until they found they had been watching the recording for over an hour. Finally a way to keep children occupied during a car journey!

Then Ralph and Lisa had an idea inspired by their daughters. Children find that the internet is a great source of entertainment due to the various forms of media and interactivity available at the click of a mouse. So the pair decided to use their daughter’s ventures into the world of the moving picture and combine this with a world of opportunity in the form of the internet.

Their idea will see many children benefit from access to the free site, where they will find other not so tall people telling new and exciting tales. Unlike that of an audio book they will see another child reading a story to them that they themselves are very much enjoying telling. Also, unlike a film there will be no need for ‘PG’ stickers or suchlike, as all stories will be vetted before they reach your personal computer screens. This also offers the chance for the listener to hear short stories which will keep them interested, as we find that as films last so long even the most hilarious cartoon character may lose its audience half way through.

The idea of having children read to children also breaks the language barrier sometimes faced by an adult storyteller. Sometimes as adults, we may read too fast or not show enough interest in the stories we are telling for the young listeners. Whereas a child can read a story without having to think about these things. They automatically read at a speed, which is comfortable for them. Simple stories should also provide giggles and smiles to the teller as well as the listener as children have the ability to find themselves lost in the world the author has created.

Smories as of the 1st May will be taking advantage of the platform provided by popular video website YouTube. They intend to launch a smories channel which will provide all children with a user friendly searchable collection of video recorded children’s stories with little people just like them providing a great big source of narrative entertainment.

The story continues…

To provide a wide range of stories available to their young viewers and their big kids (yes mums and dads that’s you) They are looking to the world of all the aspiring children’s authors out there. Anyone one can submit a story to smories to be brought to life by those to whom the text is meant, the children. This will not only benefit our offspring but will also provide a great way for budding children’s writers to get their stories heard. Smories will also see the participants of the projects given all rights to their stories, protecting them from plagiarism via copyright. Although we all know that the best benefit for the writer will be the knowledge that children are enjoying their creations.

To create an incentive (apart from bringing safe fun entertainment to children that is) Smories have launched a competition, which will see successful writers receive a cash prize for their efforts.

There will be a prize fund each month of $1,500 the first month’s competition will close to new submissions on the 30th April. The competitions will see submitted stories narrowed down to the best 50 entries which will be recorded and made available to view on the smories channel. Out of these 50 tall tales for little people Ralph and Lisa will have the tough job of selecting the 5 best entries who will receive cash prizes, the prizes are as follows;

!st – $500, 2nd – $400, 3rd – $300, 4th – $ 200 and 5th – $100.

And of course all of the prizes come with a free massive great big smile at the thought of children not only hearing your stories but seeing them brought to life by another child.

There is also an online facility for people to provide their comments and general feedback about the project at www.smories .com. They also hope to be able to provide the entertaining tale telling in the form of downloads, which you will be able to transfer to your iPod or mp4device and create playlists for all those long and tiresome journeys out.

I hope you can support Ralph and Lisa in their efforts and submit a story of your own. We here at The Economic Voice would like to congratulate these two for their wonderful innovative efforts and contributions towards the community.

We wish you all the best.

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