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“A powerful learning experience.”
Thanks to Michelle Worthington for sharing her motivation behind the development of her animation series, including The Wind and the Mouse, and The Mouse and the Egg from The Willing Kids Program. These animated, reading recordings are a visual, sensory treat and an ideal companion to the newly released picture books.
Animation can play an important role in helping children to fall in love with books as it provides variety in the way an author and a teacher can deliver messages. The visual impact can capture a student’s attention at the start, and animation’s ability to break down complex topics into simple messages allows for age appropriate learning. Animation plays an important role within a traditional educational journey, blending visuals, text, and narrative to create a powerful learning experience, with many teachers now using short animations in the physical and virtual classroom for learning extension. With remote learning, half the battle for teachers was creating and maintaining a pace that kept their students engaged. This meant adding a variety of learning modes, and animation was a perfect way to mix it up. It helps break up the journey to becoming a life long reader as it is a highly engaging, visual format that can really the capture attention of even the most reluctant readers.
Animation is a way of connecting, not only to the world around us, but to worlds that only exist in our imagination. If your child prefers to read graphic novels, comic books or watch animated stories, that has to be totally ok. For all its intrinsic educational value, reading is entertainment. Fun online reading games, reading apps and read along YouTube videos all have their place in modern literacy. How can we expect children to grow up to be life long readers if we place restrictions on the mode that engages them the most, whether it be paper or screen? There is room for both. Books have always come in all shapes and sizes, so reading is reading, no matter the medium. Focus on your child developing a passion for reading and everything else is just icing on the cake.
Writing an animated story is similar to writing a short script, but for the story to become authentic, it can’t feel scripted. It’s the same kind of balance that picture book authors need to find when giving an illustrator room to tell their own story. Also similar to picture books, defining solid impressive characters will be the starting point of a compelling animation script. Fewer characters with more dialogue will build an emotional connection with the viewers. This makes the animated video look more realistic and keeps your script integrated with the central message of the story. Animations are fun to watch and a great challenge to create, as they require creativity, ingenuity, and detail.
It is a growing problem but a common fact that children are less interested in reading books as a single passive experience. If this is their sole experience of story time, we are in danger of them becoming disinterested in reading at all. The importance of animation as a means of storytelling will become more and more obvious as children’s lives become immersed in modern technology. Stories can be portals through time and space and the more children are exposed to the organic value of reading and the meaning it has for them in their day to day lives, no matter the method of delivery, the more chance we have of keeping books alive.
Article by Michelle Worthington.
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