Lesson 3: Storytelling

Lesson 3: Storytelling

Day 2, almost done.

For context we are in the middle of moving to a new house. It is a whole another level.

We have hit the stage of moving where there are just piles everywhere and it is not doing much for my capacity.

Anyway, Day 3 is about storytelling. Psychoanalyst Philippa Perry talks about how stories are both descriptive and prescriptive in her book How to Stay Sane  (this title is very compelling for right now). This means they describe what we did, but also shape our behavior in the future. Likewise, Lawrence Cohen in his book The Opposite of Worry, (yet another title I just want to live inside) writes about how important it is for children to feel like the protagonists in the stories of their lives. Throw in the fact that stories are a fundamental building block of literacy, build oral language skills, and help children with resilience and self-regulation and we have a winning daily practice. Schools call this many things- my sister’s preschool calls it daily news, in my own classroom it was part of our gratitude circle, some call it share. Call it whatever you like!

Lesson 3: Storytelling

Skills:

Literacy: story structure, vocabulary,  retelling

Oral Language: sentence structure, length of sentences

Other: Working memory, planning and organization

Ages: All Ages

Materials:

nothing required, but pictures (on paper or on an iphone) can be a nice tool

Process:

  1. Say, “Let’s think about somethings we did today that would make a good story.” Generate a list out loud, or flip through pictures on your phone if you took anyway. Name a few that could make a story.
  2. Choose one, “Let’s tell the story of….” Aim to choose one that allows you to name your child’s agency, resilience, curiosity, generosity- basically any moment that you want the child to recall when they think, “What kind of person am I? I am the kind of person who…”
  3. Tell the story starting at the moment and using dialogue, actions, feelings. It is VERY easy to just summarize. “We went to the park, you fell off the money bars, but then you tried again and got across.” Instead try to slow that down and say it like a sports announcer, “You put one hand on the monkey bars, you thought, “okay, go as fast as you can…”
  4. Tell it WITH your child, not TO your child. “What happened next? What were you thinking?”
  5. TRY, if you can, to get a little positive self talk in there, but you don’t have to it if it doesn’t flow. Something like, “and you said, “I can do it if I try again” can become a little mantra to your child
  6. That’s it! End your day with it!

Notes:

  • Do this for yourself too, its a very empowering experience. All of us feel dark right now. All of us are freaking out, but you have done hard things before. You have faced darkness before. Tell yourself the story of how you got out of it that time. We will all get out of it this time. Even if the worst comes to pass, it will pass.
  • Remind your child of this story (And  other stories) when they need a boost- “ah, this is just like the monkey bars! What did you say to yourself when that happened?!”
  • Take turns telling stories in your family. It is how we evolved.

Okay, I tried to make it through the day only checking the news once. It made for a better day and then once I checked I needed to go hide in the bathroom. Moving will be done after this weekend, that increased stability will help. Let any feedback or questions in the comments.

Thinking of all of you.

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