The 100 – 79. Listening to Stories is a children’s book about the importance of listening and sharing stories with others.
The book recommendations by age is a great website that helps people find books to read. The site has reviews for children’s books, as well as the bestsellers of each month.
Have you ever wondered what value there is for youngsters in listening to tales apart from plain entertainment?
Young children benefit from tales because they help them make sense of the world. Without their own experiences to rely on, tales serve as guideposts for the young mind, pointing them in the correct direction and keeping them safe from harm. It also offers youngsters an idea of what they can achieve in life. There’s definitely a book for you whether you’re a guy who wants to be a ballet dancer or a girl from an immigrant household who wants to be an astronaut. They are inspired by stories and gain confidence as a result of them.
Listening to tales having a beginning, middle, and conclusion may also help youngsters organize events, facts, and ideas. Children learn the grammar of storytelling and that things frequently come in threes through listening to tales (the fox, owl and snake in the Gruffalo, for example). Understanding this arc is important in many aspects of life, both in and out of school, whether it’s solving a math problem or choosing what to wear. Almost everything we do has a backstory.
Most children like telling stories, but they may need assistance in putting events in the correct sequence and linking events in a logical manner. Listening to tales is an excellent method to strengthen and improve this ability. Reading John Burningham’s Would You Rather…? to your three-year-old will teach them not just the vocabulary for some of their favorite things, but also how to ask this crucial question without having to work out the sentence form. (This will come in useful when they have their next tea party and want to serve their teddies cakes, cookies, or chocolate.)
And, if you can immerse your kid in tales from a young age, you’ll be creating a bank of words, phrases, characters, and situations for them to draw on later when they’re ready to try their hand at creative writing; a sort of compost for their developing imaginations. ‘Put excellent stuff into your thoughts, quality ingredients,’ advises author Tom Hodginkson in his book How to Be Free. Quality ideas and a self-sufficient, resourceful individual are produced by a diet of excellent writing. ‘Feed your thoughts.’
We’re not here to tell you what to read, as we are with all of our recommendations at 100 Toys, but to empower you to make your own decisions. That implies demonstrating what to search for rather than providing a list of titles (although there are a few we think are worth mentioning specifically, many of which you are probably already familiar with.)
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Nursery rhymes and fairytales
It’s easy to doubt the relevancy of many classic nursery rhymes and fairytales nowadays. Princesses in castles and pigs that construct straw homes all sound a little antiquated. Many of the ancient tales have a terrible aspect to them, such as Hansel and Gretel being abandoned in the woods or Sleeping Beauty being cursed in her crib by an evil fairy, which may be too much for our innocent infants to hear.
These masterpieces, on the other hand, are significant and survive for good cause. Children frequently learn about ethically problematic characters for the first time when listening to tales like the Gingerbread Man or Cinderella (aka baddies.) The villains’ actions – reckless, impetuous, greedy, and deceitful – frequently mirror urges that young children have to learn to control or reject. Consider Goldilocks, the young girl who sneaks into someone’s home and takes their food, or Jack, the giant who steals gold coins from him and then kills him by chopping down his beanstalk. One of the reasons for their difficult behavior is that children under the age of five are particularly interested in the line between good and evil. They are allowed to explore acts and emotions that are undesirable or too hazardous in real life via tales.
Listening to these age-old stories helps children understand how morality works, how other people think and behave; they imagine themselves as characters in the book and see others in the characters they hear about, fostering empathy and a better understanding of society’s rules and when they can be broken. As a result, the quality of their interactions and their play improves.
Traditional stories provide cultural capital to youngsters who are familiar with them, just as Shakespeare and the classics provide cultural capital to adults. They are often mentioned in everyday speech and literature (Once upon a time…). As kids become older, they’ll be able to draw on this store of cultural and linguistic information.
Storybooks from the past
When you have more than one kid at home, story time may be challenging as you attempt to please various ages and pick tales that everyone enjoys. We can’t tell you what to read, but we can give you one important piece of advice: keep it simple.
Children are frequently drawn to books that concentrate on seemingly harmless, daily situations that we may find boring or monotonous. Eating dinner (Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea), going to school (Shirley Hughes’ Lucy & Tom), playing at a friend’s home, or going to the doctor (Spot by Eric Hill.) They revel in the mundane, in the realization that a story’s protagonist may love all of the same things they do, as well as share their anxieties and concerns. Knees are scraped, grandparents come to visit, and cherished toys go missing.
These basic stories may then influence their play as they recall the events of the narrative and lead their own dress-up and pretend play in the same way. Despite the fact that reading stories takes some time, they may inspire hours of self-reliant and autonomous, creative play.
Many modern picture books are motivated solely by the pictures or a fanciful idea – aliens, underwear, glitter, and unicorns, to name a few. They may seem attractive and entertaining on the surface, but they may appeal more to design-conscious parents than to young children who need basic, accessible tales about daily occurrences. We’re back to our original theme: keep things simple. Simple plots and well-known characters. Fancy designs and convoluted storylines may be postponed.
All tales don’t have to originate from a book. If you’ve exhausted your nursery book shelves or want to try something new, oral storytelling is a great option.
Telling a tale to your kid, whether one you made up or one that has particular significance to your family or friends, is an example of oral storytelling. A great-grandparent may have been evacuated during the war, or a wandering aunt may have once ridden a camel in Egypt. It’s amazing how vividly other people’s trips and experiences can be described, particularly if you have photos or props to accompany the narrative.
Try a story bag if sharing your own tales feels overwhelming or uninteresting:
- assemble a collection of fascinating items, such as a feather, a coin, a crown, or a key
- assemble them all in a bag
- Players are given three things and are required to tell a narrative based on them. For instance, an eagle once snatched a king’s crown (feather). The King awarded a little kid who discovered the crown in a tree with gold money.
(There is no winner or loser in this game; instead, you will have a lot of fun and stimulate your creativity as you all attempt to come up with the funniest tale.)
Take another look at old stories.
Adapting originals with your own twists is another method to give your tales a more flexible approach. This is particularly useful when presenting horrific fairytales that need to be updated with more contemporary morals. Instead of being abandoned, have Hansel and Gretel become lost in the woods, and omit the bit about their being baked. The most essential thing is to keep your attention on the main message: why it’s critical not to stray away from grownups. Children, like us, dislike being told what to do, but they are content to internalize lessons learned via tales.
Recommendations based on your age
Most of us who have small children intuitively know what is appropriate to read to them and when. But if you’re looking for ideas, or if you’re purchasing for other people’s kids, check out our reading list for kids under the age of five:
Begin with lullabies and nursery songs from the moment you are born. Sing a song to your kid. Teach them how to speak in a rhythmic manner.
3-6 months: To teach visual discrimination, start with high-contrast, black-and-white books. However, don’t get too caught up in making everything absolutely clear. Reading a book is as much about being in close proximity and sharing an experience. Although a newborn doesn’t comprehend much of Goodnight Moon, the cadence of the lyrics and her closeness to you both send strong signals.
6 months: As your eyesight and attention develop, look at books with just one object each page that include concrete nouns (home, dog, ball). If you take up a book and it includes words like “glad” and “thoughtful,” as well as verbs like “running” and “jumping,” put it down. It will be completely unfathomable. The design should be straightforward, with single, well-known items on white backgrounds. As little ambiguity as possible must exist. Dressing by Helen Oxenbury and the Ahlbergs’ Big Box of Little Books are two of our favorites.
12 months: Move on to easy books with a basic narrative, such as Eric Hill’s Spot, Dear Zoo, and Rod Campbell’s Oh Dear! The plain white backgrounds and lack of superfluous detail in these books help youngsters understand where to look and what the essential elements of a narrative are. Children may easily connect to simple topics from daily life, such as playing at a friend’s home or searching for something. At this age, lift-the-flap books appeal to your child’s curiosity while also teaching them that words are labels and that everything has a name.
2nd year: Toddlers learn the norms of reading long before they can recognize letters and words: which way to hold the book, how to turn the page, and that a book is read from front to back. They begin to notice that the page is made up of both images and words, and that the words have significance. There isn’t much to it when it comes to teaching this: read often and speak about the process of reading as well as the book itself. Is it possible for you to flip the page for me? Who is on the front cover of the book? What do you see on the back of the card? The Three Little Pigs or Little Red Riding Hood are good examples of classics and fairy tales. There is a lot of repetition and rhythm in these tales, which helps to reinforce knowledge. Children are also learning about narrative structure, such as how tales have a beginning, middle, and conclusion, and how the protagonist changes. Because there is no narrative in baby books, this is a notion that must be taught. The cadence of Sly Fox and the Little Red Hen is unique, yet it is wonderfully timed. It’s one of a series of Ladybird First Favourite traditional stories that I highly recommend.
Toddlers are also learning to concentrate, pay attention, and search for details on the page. Learning to notice the differences is an important part of reading. Searching for the missing kid in Where’s Wally is excellent practice for later learning how to tell the difference between a ‘b’ and a ‘d.’
At this age, nursery rhymes are still your best buddy. Children may employ prefabricated pieces of language from songs in their own speech, and songs – and the words they contain – become more remembered with repetition. When you include classics like Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes in story time, rainy days don’t seem as long, and rainy days don’t feel as long when you break up the day with a little movement.
Preschool is a good time to start introducing more intriguing tales. They may begin to violate the norms and comprehend how they could tell their own tales after the building blocks and recurring themes of stories (and life) are in place. Helen Oxenbury’s The Three Little Wolves And The Big, Bad Pig subverts the classic tale with hilarious consequences. Although the topics may be known, the storylines may be more fascinating and the language more difficult. But keep in mind that at this age, youngsters are still quite literal. They don’t make inferences based on the text. They are incapable of reading between the lines. The baddies are heinous, while the heroes are heavenly. Older children will appreciate reading about morally dubious characters like Rotten Ralph or Charlotte’s Piggy Bank’s namesake pig, but toddlers prefer simpler characters. Consider Supertato or the Big, Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood.
Of course, this does not imply that the books should be simple. Because there’s a connection between a child’s vocabulary and subsequent academic performance in school, make sure you give them more difficult books on occasion. Just remember to have a good time. It’s time for imagination and escape during story time.
Your children will most likely be learning to read at school when they are 5 years old. Reading to children at home will help them learn while also developing their imaginations, thoughts, and language skills. Then, one day, you’ll notice that it’s been unusually quiet for a long, and you’ll go to check on your kid, only to find them happily reading alone. This is a significant milestone in their growth, and one of the finest as a parent, in my opinion.
Usborne Young Readers is a multi-leveled series for children aged five to seven who are beginning to read independently. However, if you want a ready-made library of great stories to read to a younger kid, this package is worth considering. Illustrator Chris Riddell’s books for witty five-year-olds are another option. Once Upon a Wild Wood skillfully combines a lot of fairytales into something distinct and fresh, as is the Ottoline series.
Other suggestions include:
Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s work. Begin with Each, Peach, Pear, and Plum before moving on to Burglar Bill and Cops and Robbers.
Other illustrators have collaborated with Allan Ahlberg. The Runaway Dinner, The Pencil, and Hooray for Bread are all excellent reads that are sure to become bedtime favorites.
The framework of books like The Extremely Hungry Caterpillar and Bears in the Night is very obvious. They reaffirm the notion that one thing leads to the next. It’s also fantastic for learning prepositions: down the tree, over the wall, around the lake, and between the rocks. And the conclusion is thrilling!
Benedict Blathwayt’s Little Red Train series is extremely charming, with plenty of intricate illustrations. These novels are enjoyable even if you are not a rail enthusiast.
The Cat in the Hat is a fictional character created by Dr. Seuss (or any other rhyming story, but this is the quintessential example). Rhyme helps youngsters focus on the last sounds of words, which is an important initial step in learning to read. More information can be found in our free Reading Guide.
Last but not least
Finally, picking a book is a personal decision. One of the reasons I’m hesitant to provide too many suggestions is because of this. Children, too, have their own tastes. They will lose interest if you choose the incorrect book. They’ll want you to read it again and again if it’s a good one.
Children, like toys, are naturally attracted to books that correspond to their developmental stage, so don’t worry if you choose the incorrect one; they’ll let you know!
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