Wednesday, June 10, 2015

That Same Story Again and Again

As I have mentioned before, I love books. I want children to grow up loving books too. If you want your children to become members of the world of readers, they need to see you reading, both to them and reading for your own pleasure and learning. Young children learn by imitating. 

Books are an essential part of life and starting in early childhood there needs to be plenty of experience of books and reading. This can nurture a love of books that can last throughout life. Every bedtime deserves a story to help send the child off to dreamland. Everyday is the right day for a story.

You may have noticed your three- or four-year-old saying, immediately upon completion of a story, “Tell it again.” Or when you sit down together for a storybook, she asks for the same one as yesterday. And again.....

“How boring,” you think to yourself. “Not that one again.”

You have a developed intellect. Your intellect always wants more and different experiences. The young child has an undeveloped intellect and therefore cannot get bored. Instinctively she is asking for something supportive of her developing neurology which is repetition. Repetition supports developing neural pathways and the myelination process. So put aside your boredom and learn to enjoy the same story again. And again...

All of the techniques of child rearing, helpful as they may be with respect to particular problems, cannot offer an adequate substitute for this necessary food [stories] of the child’s soul. J. E. Heuscher,
(A Psychiatric Study of Myths and Fairy Tales)

Reading to a child is a wonderful sharing experience. Telling a story without the book is a profound gift we can offer to our children, and to each other. A told story is given from the heart of the teller (we know a story by heart) to the heart of the listener. There is nothing like this gift and this activity is becoming rare. The oral tradition seems to be disappearing.

By telling a story to a child, rather than reading a story from a picture book, the child must create all of her own images, her own internal pictures, for the story. This inner activity is the basis for reading comprehension - the ability to create inner pictures from the words spoken.

Tell stories! Your young child is the most forgiving audience, and the most grateful. Give it a try.