Reading and listening: how to support the remote encounter?


Recently I asked this question to my friend and actress Arianna Saturni, from Rome, Italy. Arianna is one of the founders of the cultural and theatrical association Sovragaudio.

We had a nice conversation reflecting together on how to read a story on the phone, how to support an un-expert reader, how to favour the concentration of the child. She came up with several interesting considerations that I report here below.

Luckily, Arianna decided to continue following the project and to collaborate with me as an expert. In the following week, I will involve Arianna in co-creation sessions aiming to find new ways to support the readers and the listeners. I already see lots of possible activities to do together with Arianna, Grith (the illustrator) and Francesco (the writer)!

Arianna also agreed in producing with me the training videos for the Storytellers since the analogue experience prototyping happening in the next week.

Thank you Arianna, happy to have you on board!!!



Typography to help the reader

Typographic sings can help the reader, but too many may trap her/his reading. Like if it was a bit a music score.

Idea: To start a new line may be a good way to signal to read that line all in one breadth.

Words to support the concentration of the child

Just listening and focusing on the meaning of the words is much harder than looking at a book while somebody is reading it. Moreover, the reader voice is mediated by a second media (phone, robot). Long descriptions generally won’t work well. Reading should be slow.

Idea: Words used in the story should be simple, powerful and evocative.

Projected images to support the engagement of the child

The images should not be in conflict with the story being read. Images should come a bit later than the word: first the child imagine by herself/himself and then see the illustration (which is just one way of imagine it, the illustrator’s way) .

Ideas: In descriptions, the images should be rich of details so that the child can focus in finding them while listening, encouraging an active participation of the child.

Images should contribute to set the mood, like scenography, like in graphic novels where you have very few words.

Images should be from the point of view of the protagonist (like in the wonderful book & app “A bear called Mur”).

Printed images inside the book to support an engaging reading

Images seen by the reader should highlight important steps in the narrative, should signal story nodes so that the reader gets aware of the importance of the particular words she/he is about to read. The reader and the child should follow the same visual narration.

Idea: When Red Riding Hood sees for the first time the wolf, the only picture we should see in the foreground would be the wolf eyes.