When I was a grad student studying for my library science degree, I took a class in storytelling. The class was an elective, and I picked it with the intention of stepping outside of my comfort zone. Which I did. Waaaayyyy out. I am convinced that more than just entertainment, a gifted storyteller could enhance a child’s learning experience in the classroom, library, or even at home. I tested my new-found skills during my internship in an elementary school library the following semester, and the kids loved it.
But it just wasn’t my style.
As the stay-at-home parent, I’m typically the one who reads with our almost 3 year old. Our picks consist of selections from her overflowing bookcase, as well as picks from our regular trips to the library. Some of the books we’ve read so many times that she now “reads” them along with me. But with the exception of editing the occasional word or phrase to aid her understanding, or to make more appropriate to words we allow in our household (you know how that “potty word” sometimes manages to slip in there, despite your best intentions to screen the book before reading?), I read directly from the text.
Cuddling with one or two or twelve book had become our norm. We read throughout the day, including both right before a nap and right before bedtime. Then, in the last couple months, the Toddler has had to rely on Daddy to meet some of her read-aloud needs, as I’ve had my hands (literally) full managing a newborn.
Her Daddy can take the same book, one I’ve read a hundred times, and turn it into something I’ve never heard before. The characters are renamed to people in her own life, the locations are changed to places she’s been, and even some of the scenarios are changed to provide a double meaning that goes over her head, but has me biting my lip to keep from laughing as I listen to them. It’s a completely different reading experience, a time she’s come to enjoy just as much as our own storytimes. And the next time she and I read that book together, she will make sure to correct my “inaccurate” tellings with the new telling her daddy has taught her.
That’s alot of new tellings to keep up with. Thanks, hon.
I think this is a skill special to dads. My own dad also does it, when we visit their home. There’s just something about breaking out of the mold and doing it their own way that seems to appeal to the those men in our children’s lives. In our house, it’s something I encourage. Not only is it good bonding between father and child…it usually means I can sneak in a shower longer than 5 minutes.