Sunday, May 16, 2010

Becoming a Storyteller

No, not me. Your child! Helping your child become a storyteller is a great way to help your child learn to read and write.

At Toddler Time last week we did "This Little Piggy" on the children's fingers. First we do it the classic way - the piggy goes to market, stays home, has roast beef, has none, goes wee wee all the way home. While learning this rhyme is good for learning sequencing, it really doesn't have a whole lot of meaning for the child. What's going to market? What's roast beef? But if you've been to Toddler Time and experienced what we do next with the rhyme, you've seen how it comes to life when we replace those phrases with familiar ones. This little piggy went to the zoo. (Yay!) This little piggy stayed home. (Oh, poor thing!) This little piggy had watermelon. (Yum!) This little piggy had none. (Why not?) Now the sequence means something to the child, and they can have fun replacing the phrases with favorite places and foods, and even silly ideas, like eating mud or going to the moon!

Another fun literacy idea for threes and up is to make flannelboard pieces of a folk or fairy tale for them to retell the story with. Cover a cheap bulletin board, or even some sturdy cardboard with a big piece of felt and buy some felt squares of different colors at Michael's or JoAnn's. Check out a copy of The Three Little Pigs, or Goldilocks or Little Red Riding Hood and look at the pictures for inspiration. Draw the figures on felt and cut them out. Maybe stick on some googly eyes. That's all it takes. Your child really does not care if it's a work of art. Now sit with your child and tell the story, moving the figures around the board. Be sure to use funny voices and dramatic sound effects! Then ask your child to tell the story. Encourage him or her in any effort, and don't worry if pieces of the story are left out. Believe me, this will quickly become a favorite activity!

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