Danny the Dolphin, Francisco the Frog, I grew up on homemade stories that my dad would tell us to make us fall asleep. The stories however, as old as I grow, never get old. They remain the same and hold the same value. These stories meant something to me and continue to do so. All of the greatest stories I have ever read or heard always held a special piece of information that made me feel that it meant something to me. In my opinion a story is made great by taking a tiny sliver of the readers heart and ingraining something meaningful to them. Whether they derive the meaning themselves or the author is trying to subject the reader to the idea, there needs to be a small inkling of personal meaning within the story.
Another way this idea of meaning is manifested is the way in which readers relate to characters. When I was turning eleven years old my mom got me the first of the Harry Potter series. I remember reading about Harry turning eleven years old and getting his letter to Hogwarts. There was a special connection to harry that I had. Each year I read a book he and I were the same age. We had friends that meant the world to us. And while our struggles were severely different, we both had them. Relation does not come just from the characters however, good stories can help readers relate to the storyline, the conflict, anything they can see emotionally into, is a way that the reader can find deeper relation to the work.
A direct vein from personally relating or finding value within the story is the vein of learning. Stories allow us to be entertained while learning important lessons. And like learning from the past, we do not have to experience certain trials because we can learn from how others handled them. I believe the same goes for stories, whether true or not, fact or fiction, knowledge can be gleaned from the facets of the story. Specifically knowledge that pertains to us individually as readers is what makes a story great.