The power of tweaking a word [Fieldwork]

Courtesy of Gioia Onorati photographer

Courtesy of Gioia Onorati photographer

The last month I have been pretty active with interviews. I managed to talk to mom Gioia, who has two boys, 8 and 6 y.o. They both can read and write and since they were little ones, they loved to be read by their mom.

Gioia told me that they loved to be read the same story thousands of times. Usually she would sit on a particular chair where she had a proper light for reading and she would read to them. they have their favourite space for reading and being read at home. The stories they read are not long and they agree on which one to read before together.

Gioia said that reading books to children is the best way to explain difficult, abstract concepts to them.

She also told me that pictures are really important to get a part of the story impressed in the kids mind. So from time to time she turn the book towards them, so that they can see the picture. The picture can work as well as a bookmark, so if they do not end the story, they can follow the day after by starting from the very last picture they was together.

She had a nice anecdote: once by mistake she changed a word in the story of "The 3 little pigs" and from that a new story emerged! Now she uses to check if her children are paying attention by changing a word in important part of the story: if they realize that, they are really paying attention. This leads me to the following insight:

An entire new story can be originated by only changing a word. Words can act as a steering wheel for the storytelling.
— Mom Gioia

She also told me that the reading is a very important moment in the day: its her moment with the children to close the day. 

Gioia is a photographer and a very visual person. She thinks that illustrations, not photos, are better understood by children because they are not so realistic.

She loves to interpret the stories she reads by modulating her voice to deliver characters' emotions to her children.