Thursday, April 30, 2015

Y is for Young

Young children – meaning babyhood through toddlerhood – love to be told stories.  Of course the stories have to be short, involve things they know about and perhaps even involve lap sitting.  All these things I learned from the youngest among us.
Two years ago while attending a meeting with educators where Colorado's Lt Governor, Joe Garcia  was speaking (his two pet projects are Early Childhood Education and Higher Education), I was given three precious minutes to explain why storytelling is important in Early Childhood Education.  I spoke with storytellers who work with the youngest children and mapped out a plan for my three minute speech which went well. 

But not everything goes according to plan.  While the Lt Governor did not jump on the “Band Wagon,” the director of the San Luis Valley Early Childhood Education Council did.  The upshot being that I was to teach a college class in Storytelling for Early Childhood Educators.  The class was full.  The class was fun.  The instructor learned a lot.  And so did the students.

One thing we addressed was the Vocabulary Gap where we centered our discussion on the merits of storytelling in teaching vocabulary.  (More Vocabulary Gap websites here.)  It’s the second best way, you know, following closely on the heels of conversation to teach vocabulary.  It’s the eye contact, the closeness, the feeling of “I’m the one being paid attention to!”

So tell stores to the little ones in your life.  As they grow older they may ask you, as my grandsons ask me, “Read us a story from your head, Grandma.” or "Let's make up stories together!"

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