“The opportunity to create a small world between two pieces of cardboard, where time exists yet stands still, where people talk and I tell them what to say, is exciting and rewarding.” Chris Van Allsburg
In an early child care program, storytelling is a major component of each day. During circle time or morning meetings, teachers will often read a book to the class, weaving an intricate story that the children can picture in their mind. While storytelling is an integral part of childhood, it also becomes a gateway to early literacy skills which are the building blocks of reading and writing. Children hear the words and become familiar with their respective sounds. They also gain exposure to new vocabulary words and exercise their imaginations.
Chris Van Allsburg is most noted for creating The Polar Express, Zathura, and Jumanji which were also made into major motion pictures. The illustrations of these works along with the incredible stories make it easy to see why these books in particular become great options for movies or other storytelling options. Reading any one of these books aloud to an early childhood group has many benefits. This is a special time when the words and pictures in a book become a conversation of sorts between the reader and the audience. The reader has enormous power in their delivery of the information. They can take on different character traits, emphasize certain plot points, speed up or slow down the story, change their volume, add sound effects and more. These things are all part of reading to children in a developmentally appropriate manner which is crucial to storytelling.
A few of Chris Van Allsburg books
Reading to infants and toddlers warrants a slow and exaggerated storytelling pace, often focusing on the child’s reactions, questions, and curiosities. When reading to a preschool child the tone may change and the storytelling may become more dramatic and fast paced, depending upon the story. Storytelling is important for all ages and becomes an interactive bonding opportunity between children and their caregivers.
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