The reason storytelling has been a mainstay of communication for centuries goes far beyond imparting words to tell a story. Words come to life when spoken aloud. People have to listen, stretch their minds, and make the pictures in their head.
With young children this is especially important. The brain develops first by hearing. Think about it; the primary method of instruction in school through third grade is oral. Take that a step further to telling a story, adding voices and ideas to make a child think. Those words translate into complex thoughts. Children learn to problem solve, be brave, become accepting. Storytelling opens a door to learning new things.
Perhaps my storytelling parallels my chapter reading, because they both give children the best learning. There is no spoon feeding or visual or even a tangible. It takes concentration. Yet children beg to hear those words. Boy, do they listen!
Last summer I wrote many of my ‘Jennie Stories’ on my blog. One of my followers vividly remembers “The Peas and the Piano” story and pleaded with me to post it. Of course all my stories are true, which is another element that children love; Jennie is just like the children when she was a little girl. That’s a special bond.
“The Peas and the Piano”
It happened like this… I really hate peas. I always have. At dinner it seemed like we had peas all the time. My mother would put three peas on my plate, and I had to eat them. It was awful, so she would give me three glasses of milk, one for each pea. Oh, it took forever to swallow each pea with a full glass of milk.
When my parents went out to dinner my big brother and sister babysat us, and we ate dinner in the breakfast room. Now, our big upright piano was in the breakfast room. When we had dinner there my brother and sister didn’t pay close attention to us. So, I would put each pea on my flat, open hand. Then, I would aim it under the piano and flick it with the finger of my other hand. Bingo! Peas gone, under the piano.
This went on for a few years. One day my mother announced she was moving the piano to wash and wax the floor. Moving the piano! Oh, no! All those years of peas were there! I left the house on my bike for the whole day. When dinner time came I knew I had to go home. I slowly walked into the house. There was my mother. One hand was on her hip and the other hand was holding a dustpan filled with a mountain of old, dried peas. I was in big trouble!
This is one of my many ‘Jennie Stories’. Children love them. It’s language and learning and fun, all in one. More stories to follow…