Telling Stories with Kids: Once Upon An Apple

Did you know that the human brain is hard-wired for stories? (University of California, Dr. George Lakoff) Last week, when tucking in Little Sister, she asked for a book. When I went to the shelf to choose one, she said no, she wanted a book just in my mouth. It took some thinking, but I realized she wanted me to tell her a story, not read one. That’s the inspiration for this play-of-the-day.

Because a story can make a concept come to life, it’s easier to connect to and understand. The power of our imagination comes into play, helping us learn and remember. Kids and adults alike stretch their thinking when listening to and following along a story.

Here’s a simple story for kids that starts with some humor: Differences

Knock, knock. Who’s there?
Apple. Apple who?
Knock, knock. Who’s there?
Apple. Apple who?
Knock, knock. Who’s there?
Orange. Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn’t say apple!

An orange and an apple can be the main characters in this “book-in-your-mouth.”You can start the story with Once upon a time…or however you choose. Maybe some dialogue: “Hello, Apple.” “Hello, Orange.” “The most exciting adventure happened to me, today.” “Ooh, tell me about it.” “It all started when I rolled off the table and into a bag of books!” After that, kids might want to add their ideas to the story, or they may have a completely different suggestion.

As adults, we take the basic structure of a story for granted but children are only beginning to understand that stories have a beginning, middle and end. Many have dialogue and usually one main event or idea. This same pattern will help kids when they start to learn to read.

Telling stories instead of reading them gives kids a chance to make the pictures in their own heads rather than relying on the book to supply them. This is called visualizing. As we tell a story, we model how to think on one’s feet and use available resources. Language and emotions also come into play.

What kind of story adventures can you and your child have today? Will you roll off the table?

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