Experiences can come alive when told in a story. Words tell the story and a child’s imagination creates pictures in their mind, making the story vibrant and real. Advocates of some methods of reading instruction suggest that children learn to read from books that don’t have pictures for this very reason. They believe that giving only the words aids the child in developing an imagination and creativity. In a day when television, videos, and movies are the norm, and where children start watching them from infancy, it’s wise to take a break at times and allow the imagination to work. This can be accomplished not only by reading books without words, but by listening to stories. Parents, grandparents, and older siblings enjoy reading to children. But sometimes a child’s eager mind works faster and for a longer period of time than a loved ones voice can last! Quality stories on CD and online podcasts are a good resource when this happens.
Here’s an example from history that can help you and your child create word pictures in your mind as you listen to the words. Purposely try this listening experiment and see what pictures and scenes your minds creates. When the story is over, spend time talking together, comparing what scenes your imaginations have developed. Share using all your senses: sight, taste, smell, touch, and hearing. The story we are using for this experience comes from Your Story Hour. It takes place during the Civil War in America and is about the night riders and George Washington Carver. You can listen to the story here. Don’t forget to turn on your imagination!