"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Share the Power: Read Stories to Children

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

So Says Albert Einstein...

I don't know about you, but I am happy to follow the advice of a Nobel Prize Winner and recognized genius.  He may have developed the General Theory of Relativity, but it appears science was not his only area of expertise. I am comfortable expanding my interpretation of this quote beyond the fairy tale genre: Read and read often, whatever it is.

World Read Aloud Day, which is fast approaching!  On March, 6th, teachers, students, parents, children and book lovers from around the globe will be participating in this event, created to: raise awareness of and develop programs to combat illiteracy around the world.

I have just started my
Patricia McKissack author study with the 3rd graders.  I love this author study because her books afford so many different learning experiences and always elicit great conversations.

Last week, I read Flossie and the Fox.
Flossie and the Fox by Patricia McKissack
This week we compared it to traditional Little red Riding Hood stories and then watched an interview with Patricia McKissack.  In the Reading Rockets interview, Patricia and Fred McKissack talk about the book and the one very important change she made to it. 

She explains that her husband (and collaborator) felt there was something missing in the story, but didn't know what; and, it was only upon reflection that she realized what the problem was.  Here's an excerpt from the interview:
"So he couldn't tell me exactly what it was, but he made me think and re-think the end of that story. I had destroyed fox. Was that the intent? No, it was to get through the woods safely with her basket of eggs. And she used her wits to do it; she didn't beat him over the head; she didn't shoot him.

She didn't maim him and, you know, hang him out to dry. She tricked him and got through the woods. And then when she was safe and her eggs were safe, she gave him back his foxhood and he could be imperial. I am the fox!" 

Why is this important to today's quote?  

Because Patricia McKissack believes that "Reading is Power."  Reading is power because of the power of story.  You have to be able to read a story to learn and understand its power.

Here's Patricia again, "[Story] prepares children for making adult decisions and developing their problem solving skills. Without story you're not connected to anything. I mean, think of yourself as being the Little Red Hen. You've been there. You've done all the work for the committee and then they show up for the photo-op.  Well that's the Little Red Hen — of course it is! The Boy Who Cried Wolf…we know that story and we've seen it acted out in life and we react and respond to those situations based on what we were taught in those stories. And so we needed to tell…you have to tell old stories so that we don't lose the connection. And we have to tell new stories. We have to meet children where they are with new stories."

What a powerful message readers of Flossie and Fox are given.  You do not have to destroy others in order to be successful.  Flossie could safely deliver her eggs and then let the fox head back out into the world with his "foxhood." I also love this story because Flossie is a wonderful role model for children, especially young girls.  She's confident and smart and capable.
These Reading Rockets interview clips with Patricia and Fred McKissack are wonderful.  Read the transcript here as well.

You can learn more about Patricia McKissack in this
interview from TeachingBooks.net.  TeachingBooks.net is an incredible resource for author and illustrator interviews, book guides and lesson plan ideas. 

Reading is Power. So, on World Read Aloud Day and every other day of the year, read, and read often, not just because it's a wonderful thing to do, but because you never know what ideas you will be exposed to or what you might learn!

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