Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Value of Storytelling

 Welcome to the July Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival. 

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is “English”, including Speaking, Listening, Reading and Viewing. I think our bloggers have covered all of these and there are lots of resources and game ideas, plus a giveaway. Please read through to the end to find links to the other participating blogs.
This month's Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival is being held in respect of the Literacy and Numeracy Week coming up at the end of the month.  As I read up on what the Week is all about, I thought about what it might mean to me and my children at the ages they are of 3 and 4.  The most important factor that popped into my brain was 'storytelling' - which is what I decided to write about today.

Storytelling is one of the oldest traditions of mankind.  It happens in all cultures, not only to entertain children (and adults too) but to perform the most important task of passing on traditions, cultural history, and as a communication tool.  Storytelling plays a vital part in the learning process for babies and children, it can help them understand situations and feelings, it brings a sense of closeness to the child and the teller of the story, and it can be incorporated into lovely daily routines that help a child feel secure and in control of the world around them.

Storytelling and books also help parents to get involved early in their child's learning, which research has shown to be a most important factor in educational achievement.

Story time at the end of the day is one of the most treasured times of the day for me as a Mum... well when my husband doesn't turn it into silly play which he so often does!  But seriously, sitting quietly with my sons reading their favorite books each night is very special to me.  I am a complete bookworm, and have always hoped that my children would turn out the same.  That remains to be seen in our family, but we can only do our best and show what an amazing place it is when you get lost in a book.

Some of our favorite picture books to date (some old fave's and some new ones too) are:
  • Fix It Duck by Jez Alborough
  • The Very Hungry Caterpiller by Eric Carle (my favorite book as a young child)
  • George the Dragon and the Princess by Chris Wormell
  • Duck by Janet A Holmes and Jonathan Bentley
  • The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky
  • A Very Proper Fox by Jan Fearnley
  • Little Monkey by Kimberley Ainsworth
There are lots more of course, but they are just some honorable mentions for ones that get a LOT of use.

Some ideas on extending the practice of storytelling also deserve a mention here in my post.  Just a few things that spring to mind could be:
  • Act out the story with props or puppets, let your child's imagination go and create a puppet show from the story in the book.
  • Let your child (even if they can't read) turn the pages and "read" the story on their own out loud.  It is really quite amazing listening to the story they tell.
  • Use really crazy, funny or over the top voices for the story.  Lots of fun!
  • Use a book to spot different colours, or shapes, or name the animals.  The list goes on.
And finally, if you have a child or children aged 5 or under, I have to recommend one Australian organisation to you - The Little Big Book Club is a not for profit arts organisation committed to the promotion of literature, reading, and Australian authors and illustrators.  I have been a regular reader of their website for many years, and a few months ago discovered they have a facebook page too where they post information, giveaways and more.  I can't say enough about this amazing organisation and what they do for young Australian families and the creators of picture books for kids.

Storytelling to me is a truly vital part of life for both children and adults, and I hope that my sons keep their love of books through their lives and in turn pass it down to their children.  Then I know I will be happy!

Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.
Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on “English.”
  • Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey has written about why her family thinks storytelling is so important, some storytelling ideas, and a few of their favorite books.
  • Julie at Works For Me Homemaking is encouraging sound play with preschoolers and not just for fun. It is an important tool to develop sound awareness skills and enhance early literacy development.
  • Staci from Teaching Money to Kids reminds us that sometimes language and interaction need to be explicitly taught and practiced, and has some ways to teach the language of sharing.
  • Leechbabe from Stuff with Thing asks what happens when your child interprets everything said to them in a very literal way? How do you aid their understanding of the funny things people say?
  • Squiggle Mum was reminded recently that you don’t have to be a literacy specialist to know how to read aloud to a young child.  After all, it ain’t rocket science…
  • Lisa at SMMART Ideas has a LETTER MATCHING activity to help you practice spelling words, or even foreign language vocabulary.
  • Deb from Science@home has a giveaway to help you go on an expedition on your bookshelf.
  • Colin Wee at Super Parents is teaching his kids to argue by learning how to create a reasoned argument for English creative writing and the OREO Acronym.
  • The Planning Queen from Planning With Kids had her own bookclub when she and her son read the same book.  It was a great experience to have a book discussion with her son where she hadn’t been reading the story “to him”.
  • Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori agrees with Maria Montessori that young children have a natural love of learning. Thanks to matching Montessori sandpaper letters with small objects, her son decided as a toddler that learning to read was just a fun game.
  • Amanda at HomeAge posts that we all know The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but Eric Carle has so much more to offer to young readers, particularly those interested in the natural world. With bright, beautiful artworks and simple, repetitive stories these books are a wonderful way to entice the young “reader”.
  • Miss Carly from Early Childhood Resources has steps and advice in creating a literacy rich environment for children of all ages.
  • Christie at Childhood 101 points out that  the process of sharing stories through oral storytelling is an age old tradition amongst families, but does it have a place in our busy modern day family life?
  • Sarah at Bringing up Baby Bilingual describes her public library’s Writing Buddies program where high school student volunteers lead groups of at-risk fourth and fifth graders through a series of outer-space-themed writing activities.  Writing prompts and resources included in the post!
  • CatWay at Adventures With Kids asks What is phonics all about?  Is this something I should know more about to help my child learn to read and write?
  • Narelle from A Bunch of Keys has some simple suggestions for making your own literacy resources for children at home.  Includes ideas for books with simple rhymes, books with puppets, books about family trips and making felt boards.
  • Zoe at Playing By the Book has gone fishing for words in illustrated dictionaries to support her early reader.
Thanks for visiting our carnival, we hope you enjoy some of these posts and have found some interesting blogs.

Welcome to the July Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by”>Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and
learners all the time.  This month our theme is ”English”,
including Speaking, Listening, Reading and Viewing.  I think our bloggers have
covered all of these and there are lots of resources and game ideas, plus a
giveaway.  Please read through to the end to find links to the other
participating blogs.



Playing by the book said...

I'm 100% with you on the importance of storytelling :-) I'd love to be able to tell stories without reading them from books - I've listened to some fantastic oral storytellers and their tellings are always so vibrant and vital, and that's what I try to emulate when I'm reading with my kids.

homeage said...

I know all about the silliness of Dad reading a story! The noises I hear from the bedroom when he is chosen for "milk and stories" often make me wonder how Princess will ever settle to sleep!

I am also now heading over to The Little Big Book Club to check them out. :) We've tried really hard to vary our reading this year, but we do return to the same books and authors often, which is great because kids love to have familiar books and learn to "read" them through repetition, but it would be nice to find some more new books to read :)

Deb Chitwood said...

Thanks for bringing back some great memories – reading aloud to my children every day and their dad making up silly stories for them. Even though my children are grown up now, those were priceless times. I think story telling is very important even in religious education. Programs like the Montessori-oriented Godly play (which uses story telling) bring the Bible to life for young children.

CatWay said...

I love story time with my boys too. I don't know about a lot of your family's favourite books, so I will have something new to look for at the library now. said...

Thanks for that link, I'm definitely checking them out! I love it when my 2 year old 'reads' to me, she loves doing the same as us and is developing a love of books even now.

Julie said...

Love your list of books. A couple of new ones there for me to check out. Just when I think my kids have EVERY great book available... I also love the "Little Big book club". I like to use that site for craft ideas based on our favourite books.

SMMART ideas said...

...Just recently thought that we need to put the kiddos down a half hour earlier and fill that time with more book reading. I feel that we can never have enough snuggle time that the girls need.

If you read a lot of books, the library isn't the only source of borrowing books, here in the US, we have sites like there's something like this in Australia too!

Colin Wee said...

I read some business article about the power of story telling when you need to communicate to people - and it's true. It's a fantastic way to keep people enthralled and for them to remember and identify with your way of thinking. I don't hold myself back when I go into story-telling mode. :-) Colin

PlanningQueen said...

Thanks for the link to The Little Big Book Club facebook page! I visit this site often and it will be much easier to keep up with what's happenign there now.

Sarah said...

Hooray for storytelling and book reading!

And as an ancillary, let me share a piece of advice I received when pregnant: my sister-in-law recommended that my hubby and I always take time during the day to read silently by ourselves, to show that adults read for fun and to model ways to entertain oneself without needing stimulation from the outside world.

I love having what feels like a very valid reason to say, "In ten minutes, sweetie. Mommy wants to finish this chapter first."

Your Cheeky Monkey said...

Thanks everyone for your great comments and further fantastic ideas on this topic :-)

miss carly said...

I absolutely adore storytelling. I have been known to get a little to 'into' the text and go a little wild with voices and movement..

Narelle said...

This post made me remember my childhood and my Dad making up stories to tell me at bedtime. He wasn't a very good reader so didn't read to me much from books. But I used to love these stories he made up, always featuring me of course ;) It's important to realise that oral story telling is just as good as reading from books. Thanks for reminding me of this :)