Saturday, April 12, 2014

Telling Stories Every Day

Storytelling is a universal human activity.

According to one of my favorite experts on developmental theory, Joseph Chilton Pearce, storytelling is also one of the foundational tools for higher forms of abstract thought (such as that used in advanced mathematical and scientific activity, and spiritual/religious experience).

Today, oral storytelling is a dying art. Or, at the very least, is struggling to compete with the flashy world of screen culture.

I do love books, but even picture books create images for our brains instead requiring our imaginations to create those images. (Or draw them up from a collective unconscious, or to access them in another world, depending on how you choose to think about it).

Reading one of Pearce's articles today on storytelling and imagination opened my perspective on how I have been using story in our homeschooling life.

When I began intentionally planning activities and stories to share with Chobie last summer oral storytelling had an important role. I had intended to choose one story every month or so to tell repeatedly. At that time, Chobie was enjoying the stories I made up to tell him.

That's been lost to the convenience of pulling a book off the shelf. Of course, reading is important, but storytelling has an important role that cannot be replaced by reading picture books. As a child, hearing stories develops the minds capacity for creative imagery. As an adult, hearing or telling and then reflecting on stories exercises and further develops our creative capacity.


When we allow our minds to create imagery to correspond to the stories we hear, I believe we can gather insight about ourselves similar to what we find by thinking about our dreams. This process is one of many ways to tap into a deeper, often nonverbal intelligence.


Thus, storytelling has resurfaced as a key element in our homeschooling life. I will be starting with the stories in The Bronze Cauldron. Instead of reading them, I'll be memorizing them and telling them to my kiddos throughout the week.

Do you use oral storytelling with your kiddos? How do you relate to the stories you hear (not just folk tales, but personal stories or news stories) as an adult?

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