Who doesn’t like a little ‘magic’?!
Incorporating storytime into the routine of a young child’s day creates a connection to early literacy that seems almost magical in so many different ways. It can also bring closeness within an early childhood classroom based on shared understanding of an emotion or a common enthusiasm for a fictional character.
One of my very favorite stories to share with young children experiencing a bit of separation anxiety and adjusting to a new situation is the beloved classic, Owl Babies by Martin Wessell. This tale of three little owls assuring each other that their Momma Owl will come back so often resonates with little ones. Little owl Bill’s refrain “I miss my Mommy!” gives words to what a young child may be feeling…and the Mommy Owl always comes back, as little Bill “knew that she would.”
Social-Emotional Connection to the written word.
Teachers and therapists have long used “social stories” to help young children overcome fears and shape positive behaviors. Books like the Nap Time for Kitty or Pony Brushes His Teeth let very young children know what to expect and help them to master every day routines.
There are a number of great transitions books that can pave the way for children entering a new school or classroom. One of my favorites is Pete the Cat Rocking In My School Shoes. Pete’s positive attitude -coupled with a great pair of school shoes- helps him explore each new part of a new school with enthusiasm. It is no surprise that Pete the Cat has become a much loved literacy character in so many classrooms.
Shared Stories-Part of the fabric of classroom culture
Shared books and stories can create a classroom culture of shared understanding. When I look back on over 30 years as a Preschool and Kindergarten teacher, my memories of certain children or classes often include the books that became important to that class or individual children in it. One particular Preschool class asked over and over for Bernard Most’s book If the Dinosaurs Came Back. They loved sharing their thoughts on what it might be like if the ‘dinosaurs came back’ and had to use cell phones or drink out of juice boxes. (I agreed; it would take a lot of juice boxes…) A not-to-be-forgotten Kindergartener, with a flair for the dramatic- as well as Mathematical Thinking Skills- would often paraphrase Eric Carles’ words from the Very Hungry Caterpillar whenever she wanted more snacks “I ate 10 raisins and I am STILL hungry!”
There is a magic in good books shared to create a culture, build a classroom community and help young children deal with emotions as they lure young children down the path to Literacy and Learning.
Ginny Streckewald, M. Ed., holds a Masters’ degree in Specialty Education focusing on Early Intervention. She has over 35 years of inclusive teaching experience with young children, and has worked closely with premature and developmentally delayed infants and toddlers. Read more posts by Ginny Streckewald –>