Teaching through stories

Teaching through stories


Family Matters

Thomas Kulanjiyil, PsyD, PhD, is a founding member of PARIVAR International. He currently serves on the faculty of College of DuPage. He is co-editor of the book, “Caring for the South Asians-Counseling South Asians in the West.” Dr. Kulanjiyil can be reached at tk@parivarinterntional.org. For any personal or family issues contact Parivar Family Helpline:(877)-743-5711.

By Thomas Kulanjiyil

For long years, story telling has been a part of early childhood education across many cultures. Children love stories. Stories instill in them not only a sense of curiosity and imagination but also incentive for active learning. Children exhibit amazing ability to grasp stories with interest and keenness. If the child is old enough to read, parents can encourage them to read.

Choosing stories: Some principles that can help choose the right kind of stories are the following:

l Choose stories that are age appropriate

l Choose stories that detain children’s attention and interest

l Choose stories that they can grasp and connect with

l Choose stories that teach them moral values such as friendship, honesty and responsibility

l Choose stories that introduce them to right kind of characters to emulate

l Choose stories that are culturally relevant

l Choose story books with pictures and illustrations

l Often children need parental guidance to select the right kind of story books.  Local libraries often have good collections of story books, appropriate to different age groups.

Reading styles: Of the many different story-telling styles, I would like to suggest four that might be appropriate to the Indian parent.

Describer style: In this style of story-telling the focus is on narrating events in the story. The child is helped to identify characters, events and sequence of the story, often in a chronological manner.

Comprehender style: This type of reading encourages child to look deeper into meaning of a story. It helps the child process the information and appreciate the story line with clarity. The child is enabled to figure out the moral lessons of the story.

lPerformance-oriented style: Introduces the theme of a story and asks questions after. This style enhances children’s listening and comprehension abilities.

l Dialogic reading: In this style the child becomes the storyteller, and adult an active listener. Adult asks open-ended questions. This way of reading stories help children develop aptitude for reading and writing.

Story-time: Stories can be told at any time of the day. However, bed-time stories are quite common. Stories can be told also as a spare-time activity.

Some of the best memories you will be able to give to your children will be story-time. During this season of this holidays, where children             have a lot of time at their disposal, let me encourage parents to take time to read to your children good stories.  Encourage them to read for themselves; and read stories with them.

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