Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

WHY STORIES?

on 14/02/2015

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Having worked and taught various age groups for two decades now, I know for sure just how much stories mean in our lives and how they shape our growth. I have also met a lot of people (parents, educators, grandparents) who like reading but are simply too shy or not imaginative enough to involve kids in the reading process, even though they would love to.

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A student of mine once said he loves coming to my classes because I make them think and care about what they think. Greatest compliment a teacher can get.
So I am sharing with you the Afterword from Winky’s Colours, a children’s book I created while teaching, hoping it inspires you to read not only to yourselves, but to and with others.

Afterword
To parents, friends and educators reading to children

Storytelling is an essential part of human existence. Regardless of
all technological progress, the roots to successful human communication
lie in face-to-face talks, the warmth of our voice, our presence. Please,
never let anything or anyone convince you of the unimportance of your
role in storytelling and reading.
As I have been convinced by children many times, even the best
story can be ruined by a heartless and distant storyteller, just as
successfully as any story is made more interesting as long as the
storyteller involves the audience in the reading process. Having children
intervene while you are telling a story does not mean they lack patience
or the necessary attention span. Perhaps you are actually reading the
story just the right way, and they are already in it, from the first page on.
Just in case you have the heart, but lack the ideas on how to
involve your listeners in the story you are reading, allow this teacher to
share a few guidelines. It is up to you whether you follow them or not.
But trust me, it is also up to you how your children and students learn to
interpret their own actions and feelings, as well as your own, and the
world as a whole. Being a storyteller is a superpower! Be careful not to
abuse it.

♥ Ask them what they would do or feel in a certain situation as you
read it.
♥ Have them draw something from the story, regardless of the
existent illustrations – their use of colour and choice of detail have a
story to tell.
♥ Every now and then, stop and have them comment and guess
what happens next and why.
♥ Let them retell the story to someone else – this will show you how
they understood it.
♥ Even if you don’t have the time to read the whole story through,
read it chapter by chapter.
♥ Enjoy it the first time your children pick up a book to read on their
own, even if they still can’t actually read letters – your mission was a hit!

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Anita Kovacevic

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