The Importance of Storytelling

Featured Picture Book

MR. ZINGER’S HAT by Cary Fagan

(Available at your local public library or bookstores, including online stores.)

Mr. Zinger is a storywriter who keeps his story ideas tucked away in his hat. One day a little boy named Leo is playing with his rubber ball outside where Mr. Zinger walks and thinks about his stories. Leo tosses his ball so hard and so high that it knocks Mr. Zinger’s hat right off his head. Leo and Mr. Zinger finally catch the hat. “I wonder why my hat took off like that. Maybe there is something inside it,” says Mr. Zinger. With the help of some key questions from Mr. Zinger Leo learns that Mr. Zinger’s hat is overflowing with ideas and imagination. Or, is it the other way around – Leo is overflowing with imagination? First, Mr. Zinger’s hat and then, Leo’s hat –how were the stories really being created?

Parenting Thoughts

Ten Good Reasons to Read to Your Child

Dr. Mom:

1.  It can be a “snuggly” time – snuggles are very, very good. 45 Sidebar 3

Darling Daughter:  Even when they are 11. J




2.  It teaches words – words are very useful, much better than whining or sulking.

3.  It lays the groundwork for your child to learn to read – reading is the basis for all learning.

4.  It sparks your child’s imagination – many smart and successful people have great imaginations.45 Sidebar 1

Imagination is the key! It is the start of problem solving – a skill everyone needs to be successful in life.As a science teacher, it has become very clear to me that kids who know how and are not afraid to use their minds to “imagine” and be creative are the best problem solvers. 

5.  It can make your child sleepy – sleep is very, very good – for both of you.

Yes, yes, yes! Aaahhh! Sleep.

6.  It teaches about places, things, and how people act – figuring out what works well and doesn’t work well with people is an important part of growing up.

7.  It helps your child begin to think that when one thing happens then other things happen too – cause and effect is the beginning of your child being able to follow rules.

8.  It requires paying attention – sticking to your task is necessary for success.

9.  It reduces screen time – getting information many different ways increases a child’s learning power (for example, from words on a page, listening, seeing things on a screen, and actively doing things).

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10.  It can remind you about the kind of parent you want to be – be sure to keep reading our blog to get good parenting ideas from the picture books you are reading to your child.



Helping Your Child Learn to Read*

Reading stories to your children can prepare them to be good readers themselves. lHere are some tips for how to make your reading to them early can lead to them being good readers in school. 

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  • Point out and talk about the letters on the pages – for example, “Letters go together to make words.” And, “Some words are short (just a few letters) while others are long (many letters).“
  • Point out that letters come in different sizes – have your child help you pick out the big letters and the small letters.
  • Point out that you are going to read from left to right – “First I will read this page, and then the page next to it.”
  • Point out that you will read from the top of the page to the bottom of the page.
  • Have your child help you point to the words as you read them.
  • Point out any words included in the pictures (in signs, labels, thought bubbles, or speech bubbles) – “These words tell us what the little boy is having for breakfast. The carton says, ‘Milk.’”

I liked having Ezzy point out letters in her name. As she learned words, I would ask her if she saw any letters on the page that were in a word she knew – like “cat” or “the.” I would also ask her to count the number of times she saw “the” on a page.

* These tips are from Child Development, May/June 2012, Volume 83, Number 3, Pages 810-820.
What Storytelling Can Do for Your Child
(Note: A child usually can begin telling his own stories by 2-years-old.)
  • Your child can experience things he doesn’t experience in his real life – being on a farm, owning a pet, having superhero powers.

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  • Presents pretend things – learning to pretend and to know the difference between pretend and real is part of growing up (starts around ages 18-months- to 3-years-old).
  • Teaches your child things he might not otherwise pay attention to – how to safely cross the street, deal with bullies, care for animals.
  • Helps your child release feelings that otherwise would be confusing and upsetting to him – anger toward a brother or sister, fear of the dark, worry about going to school.
  • Can spark your child’s imagination.
  • Can give your child an opportunity to create and be proud of his very own story.
  • Can encourage other types of art – drawing, painting, sculpting, dancing, singing, acting.

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  • Allows your child to see what happens when people act in different ways with each other – bossy, nice, helpful, mean (especially from ages 3- to 5-years-old).
  • Allows your child to see different ways that people feel – mad, sad, scared, happy – and what they do about it.
  • Allows your child to think about different occupations and what they are like.
  • Requires your child to think about things in order (what happens first, second, third) – helping her to develop logical thinking.
  • Can be fun to do with other people – each person can add to one story or two people can tell a story about the same subject.

When E was 3 or 4, she and her dad would make up stories as they drove the 30 minutes to daycare every morning. They had two main characters (two fluffy cats), and they went on all kinds of adventures together. (At some point I think they were traveling with the famous explorers Lewis & Clark.) I wonder if either of them remembers any of the stories now? I should get them to tell me the stories now so I can capture and save them.

Read All About It

GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson


 Surf the Internet:
  • storytelling
  • reading to your child
  • imagination
  • pretend play

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