It Usually Starts With A Story! by Mrs. P
I always loved when school started, and everyone would ask what you did all summer. In elementary school we often had to write a story about what we did on our summer vacation. You can see by this photo I had an early knack for storytelling. It was fun to make up something fantastic even if my vacation consisted of lying on the grass, looking up at the clouds and seeing all sorts of magical and wonderful images in them. I could always go outside and be entertained by the sky – which, by the way, makes even the biggest Imax movie screen look positively tiny.
With school starting you can help find ways to nurture your little one’s storytelling skills. Asking your child to tell you a story helps to develop an active mind. Kids are naturally creative; your job is to give them an environment that will let their imaginations flourish. When your child brings home a watercolor she painted at school, you can get her in the storytelling mode with an open-ended suggestion like “ tell me about your picture.” It’s tempting to try and guess what she created but much more fun (for both of you) to hear her weave a story to go with the picture.
As a professional storyteller, not only in my Magic Library at www.MrsP.com, but also with my visits to classrooms, hospitals and libraries around the country, I have learned firsthand the power that books hold for children. Without a boarding pass, a train ticket or even a good pair of walking shoes, I can take kids on a journey to the most wonderful places imaginable! And in the process, I help kids develop effective listening and comprehension skills. I strongly believe, however, that kids should also be encouraged to create their own stories. It’s an important exercise in creativity that offers a whole different set of benefits:
1. Helps hone vital writing skills (such as developing clarity of images and ideas)
2. Improves organizational skills (required to tell a well-structured story)
3. Gives the imagination a serious work-out (using completely different ‘muscles’ than when you listen to or watch a story someone else has created)
Generates self-confidence (when a story you created entertains or influences a reader!)
The skill of mastering the written word is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. For evidence of its power, we need only look at Shakespeare’s plays, which still move audiences more than 400 years after they were written; or the Constitution of the United States, which presidents and lawmakers still look to for guidance 200 years after its authors first put pen to paper.
What better way to begin developing such an important skill than with “tell me a story…”?
To help encourage kids to create their own stories and kick off back to school, I hold an annual writing contest for classrooms across the country, which is open for submissions until November, 2013. The contest is for grades K-4. Tell your child’s teacher about the contest as the schools win much needed books. The details of the contest can be found at www.contest.mrsp.com.
TV star Kathy Kinney (“The Drew Carey Show”), portrays Mrs. P and is also one of the creators of the website. The website endeavors to expose young people to great books and stories through a celebrity storyteller, Mrs. P. MrsP.com has no advertising and is completely free, making it a fun and educational online destination for teachers, parents and children. The site also contains interactive games, coloring sheets to download, and activity guides to accompany chapter books like “Alice in Wonderland”. Every story also offers read along options so children can see the words, which is helpful to early readers, and ESL students. Mrs. P is the recipient of The National Parenting Center 2009 Seal of Approval and the American Library Association distinction of “Great Website for Kids.”
This post was written exclusively by Mrs. P for Bonbon Break Media, LLC and Mission Read
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