Reading and Literacy

Smories: Stories Written for Children and Read by Children

Smories: Stories Written for Children and Read by Children

Imagine being stuck inside for recess on a rainy day. And imagine that there are young children who are sitting, waiting to be read a story. This is where Smories come in.

Smories are stories written for children ages 4 to 8, read aloud by children and then filmed and posted to the website.

The Smories website is a safe website because it is meant for young children. Children like to watch and listen to other children, and they like to play on computers and with new technology. But, on Smories children are not able to easily click away from the site and roam the internet.

So the next time your students are inside for recess, pull up the Smories stories on a computer screen. The children are magically entertained, leaving that precious 15 minutes to sit, relax, and get some marking done or enjoy the magazine article sitting on your desk.

Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar started the site in March 2010, after watching their young daughter film herself telling stories and then replay them as a form of entertainment on a long car trip.

Fifty new stories are uploaded every month, so the phrase “I already know that one!” will never be heard again.

The site is set up in a very simple way. There are rows of thumbnails with kids’ faces on them. Roll the mouse over a face and the title, author and age group of a story pops up in a box. Then, to watch a story being read, simply click on the thumbnail of the story you want to hear.

Writers—whether they’re professionals, amateurs, teachers or parents—can submit stories to the site. Lazar and Swerling choose finalists. Stories are not edited; the way it is submitted is the way it’s read aloud by the kids. The submission is merely read over to make sure it contains appropriate language and subject matter for young children. By submitting stories to the site, writers are able to test their work “in a straightforward and transparent way” on real children, says the site. By having a story read on Smories, little-known writers are able to have world-wide exposure to parents, kids and teachers that they might not otherwise have.

The site is called Smories simply for the fact that it rhymes. “‘More stories at Smories’ has a nice ring to it!” Lazar wrote in an email.

For now, the children reading aloud are all from the United Kingdom, since that is where the site is based. But Swerling and Lazar are hoping to integrate more North American narrators into the site.

Lazar and Swerling are open to feedback about the site, since it is so new and still developing. To listen to stories, find out how to submit a story, or for more information about the site, visit Smories today.