Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Storytelling with Children ~ The Speech We Bring

How we tell or read a story can make a very big difference in the way the child experiences the story.

The vowels carry feeling. Vowels are called the singing letters. The Ah brings wonder and awe, the E carries fear eech!, the I with understanding one's place in the world, with self assertion, here I stand! Oh brings surprise, the o of protection as in love and the long U, brings concern and withdrawal.

When we tell a story or read to a child and bring it in an even, calm voice with stress on the consonants, rather than on the vowels, the child is free to bring his or her own feelings to the story. Try chosing one or two consonants and focus on them when they fall at the end of a word when telling or reading a story.

We can enunciate clearly the sound of the consonants which name and give form, the hiss of the s, the roll of the r, the closure of the bilabials sounds, b, p, the t, the rounding off of the m and the flow of the ll.

Try saying the phrase below with emphasis on the vowels:

The wicked wolf ate the small child.

This time say it with emphasis on the d, f, t, ll and d, at the end of the words.

The wicked wolf ate the small child.

Notice a difference?

But we love the drama you say. That is something for an older child and adults. For the child who has not yet expereinced the change of teeth, the calm, warm, even version leaves room for the child to find his or her own feelings within the story. With young children, before the change of teeth (birth to seven) the focus is in doing, in being in the will, in action, in deeds. What is done in the story, the action, is what is most important to describe for the young child.

A five or six year old can hear a complex fairy tale told in the even, calm way and take it in deeply without fear while the same story told with dramatization and emphasis on the feeling letters can make it frightening for the child. A three and four year old can hear simlper fairy tales.

With older children after the change of teeth, the feeling life and learning through feeling becomes the focus developmentally.

When we sing, chant nursery rhymes or tell stories to a small child, we bring the warmth of the our voice to meet the child on a deep level, soul to soul. We can envelop our words with warmth and evoke pictures for the child to live into, through their play, through their life. Children will play out the stories they hear with dress up, singing, self talk and the creation of scenarios and socio-dramaric play. This is the basis for imaginative thinking. This is the basis for a literacy that is infused with inspired feeling and creative action.

We can support this in many ways. (More to come on this topic)

Children under the age of seven are like a sieve, they absorb everything we say, do and feel. They learn through imitation. They know when our words are aligned with our feelings and when they are not. They will play out or act our our deepest feelings and concerns.

In bringing stories and rhymes to children here are a few questions to ponder about our speech:

Is it good?
  • Am I speaking clearly and enunciating my words?
  • Are the words and phrases appropriate for the developmental phase of the child?
  • Does it convey, in the end, that the world is good?
  • Is it imbued with warmth?
Is it beautiful?
  • Are the words beautiful?
  • Is the combination of words beautiful?
  • Is it rhythmic?
  • How does it feel for the ears to hear such soumds?
Is it true?
  • Am I here and fully present with the child?
  • Am I fully present with the words I am speaking?
  • Does it convey the truth of life I wish for the child to experience?
  • Is it worthy of imitation?

Next will be a little nature story of courage to tell.


Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::  Parenting with Soul :: Waldorf Homeschooling

~living curriculum program to support parenting and homeschooling


  1. Oh my goodness, I love this post, thank you so very much! More things to think of.

  2. Oh I'm so glad. Thanks for the feedback and enjoy!

  3. Love this. Thanks....am following your blog for more, more, more! xxx

  4. thank you so so sooo much for this post

  5. thank you so so soooo much for this post


I love to hear from you, do say hello when you stop by and leave a link to what is happening with you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...