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Story Listening 101 (or, a great way to prepare your child for back-to-school essay writing)

Story Listening 101 (or, a great way to prepare your child for back-to-school essay writing)

It’s the 4th of July weekend! There are family get-togethers, fireflies dancing in the evening sky, fireworks, and lots of red, white, and blue. And, there is no better time in life to engage in some story listening – yes, the kind that lasts longer than 6 seconds and doesn’t occur on a device.

Just this weekend, we have heard stories of the following:

1. What it was like to grow up on a family farm and how tomato slices on white bread with mayonnaise was considered a treat

2. How a family made it to their new city after a harrowing escape from another part of the world

3. How much money G’pa earned by collecting fireflies in a jar (and about the people who bought the jars of fireflies from the neighborhood kids)

4. A description of the array of foods people brought to a holiday weekend celebration and why those foods made the cut

5. 3 great things to do when stuck in traffic on the Thursday before the holiday weekend with sneakers, water, and some bug spray in the car (yes, this involved a state park, a quick swim, and some exploring of an area between here and there… it was much more fun than sitting in the traffic for hours!)

So, why are these stories important?

At BLUBERYL, we’re always talking about learning to listen, learning to hear people’s stories, and learning to hear the connections between ideas, people, events, and activities. Stories help contextualize experience, create timelines of history in our minds, and provide the fairy dust when writing.

Kids who have been steeped in story listening sit down to write essays having learned the following:

1. How oral and written pieces hang together — there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end

2. How to create suspense and interest — people’s stories inherently contain a bit of suspense or unresolved question

3. Details about countless subjects they might not have experienced without the chance to sit down at the picnic table with people other than those they usually see at their own dinner table.

THIS is learning!

So, here’s to a great 4th of July weekend where we can all learn a little from the stories of our family, friends, neighbors, and passers-by.

Happy Story Listening – the BLUBERYL way!



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