In our Readiness classrooms, story time is anything but passive. As his teacher reads, your child will predict what happens next, finish a rhyme, or echo a repeated refrain. Students dive deeper into “focus books,” which are savored and studied for an entire week. On Monday, your child simply listens to a read-aloud for enjoyment. A second reading on Tuesday emphasizes new vocabulary. The next day she learns how to use context clues to improve her comprehension.
By the end of the week, students are ready to dramatize the story, so roles are assigned and props chosen. Acting out stories strengthens children’s understanding of the building blocks of literature—characters, setting, plot—as they express themselves artistically, gain confidence as public speakers, and delight in their mastery of yet another favorite book.
As your child learns how stories are constructed, he discovers he can create them, too. Our classroom storytelling project, from Rice University’s School Literacy & Culture program, offers opportunities for your child to dictate many stories to his teacher throughout the year. He will hear his stories read aloud in class and see them enacted by his friends, just like the focus books he knows and loves. Even more practice telling stories comes from high-quality dramatic play, where children expand their imaginations, negotiate roles, and improvise scripts. Although writing may still be beyond their grasp, our three- and four-year-old authors delight in the way words bring thoughts, stories, and experiences into our lives.