Fireflies: "Tell Me a Story" Box: Birds of a Feather         

May 23, 2013

"Tell Me a Story" Box: Birds of a Feather

Painted $1 birdhouse treasures from Michael's Craft Store 
Storytelling is one of the most important life skills we can teach our children.  For critical and creative thinking skills to develop, we must provide opportunities for our children to process new ideas and connect the dots of language development.  That is why it is so important to read aloud to young children and engage them in language-rich communication experiences...such as storytelling.

The Fireflies' "Tell Me a Story" Box  
was created to help children become confident communicators.  You won't want to miss our next Chasing Fireflies Podcast when we discuss why oral language experiences are important and how you can use the Storytelling Box to encourage storytelling in your home.

Check out this post,
to learn more about Fireflies’storytelling.

"Birds of a Feather" Storytelling Prompts

Suggestions for this month’s Storytelling Box:
  • Small birdhouses or images of various birdhouses
    Michael's Craft Store has a variety of small wooden birdhouses for $1
  • Birds (images or miniature birds)
  • Small nest or materials needed to build a nest
    pine needles, straw, small pieces of fabric, etc.
  • Small twigs/branches to be used for trees
  • bottle caps for bird baths
  • seeds (leftover popcorn?) to feed the birds should they become hungry during the story
  • An object from one of the books enjoyed together (ie Hugo's Eiffel Tower!) 
Meet "Red Bird", "Sunflower", and "Colorful Bird"!
Check out Chasing Fireflies Podcasts to learn more.
It's time to bring your TMAS Box out of hiding and place it in a special place.   When your child sees it, they know that there are new surprises (storytelling prompts) in the storybox, and that it’s time for another storytelling adventure!   With great enthusiasm, open the box, slowly pulling out each of the bird-themed items (with awe in your voice).  The first few times, you may want to begin by modeling a story.  If you do, make it simple and short - you do NOT need to incorporate every item in the box in your story!

Encourage your child to tell a story and applaud the effort they put forth.  You may need to ask a few questions just to help the story along, but allow the story to be fully owned by the child.   Remember that the goal is to develop confidence and rich communication skills in your child.  You want them eagerly anticipating the next family storytelling adventure!  When you hear a gasp when they spy the TMAS Box, you know you've captured their imagination and created the beginnings of a wonderful family legacy tradition.

Chasing Fireflies Podcasts:  5 year old Davis rolled up the bird images as he told his story
and placed them in their homes.  Now why didn't I think of that?  

1.  Keep a recorder close by and record each TMAS experience.  You don’t want to miss a single family legacy storytelling gem. 

2.  After you have shared this month's Chasing Fireflies book selection, or your own favorite books about birds, engage your child in conversations about birds before asking them to create their own story.  Children must have a reference point; information on which to hang their ideas.

3.  Fill your family “Tell Me a Story” Box with items that reflect this month’s theme; Birds of a Feather. See the suggestions listed above.

4.  Be sure to make your storytelling time an event.   Your voice and body language should express excitement and anticipation.  Both should convey that something magical is about to happen!

5.  Keep storytelling time short.  I really think there can be too much of a good thing.  Keep your child engaged by letting them tell just a few stories and leave them wanting more.  Put the box away until next time and make sure your young storyteller knows you cannot wait to hear what they come up with next time!  For 5 year olds, aim for a 10 - 20 minute experience and add 5 minutes for every year.  The bottom line? You know your child better than anyone else.  You will be able to read when they are becoming disinterested or frustrated.  Try to finish before the storytelling experience becomes a negative one.

5.  Don't forget to listen to our the TMAS Box Chasing Fireflies Podcast where we discuss this topic and share a real TMAS Box exchange with a dear 5 year old storyteller!  Subscribe in iTunes.

Deni Corbett

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