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Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
-Carl Gustav Jung
Neugebauer children loved the stories of Robert Munsch, such as Mortimer and The Paperbag Princess. Their hilarious plots and boisterous lines and motions lured us into the stories and led to family games that were based on our favorite lines. So we were delighted when Robert Munsch agreed to share some of his insights on storytelling in his article, "Beginning with Peekaboo — Storytelling as an Interaction," which is one of 21 articles in the Beginnings Workshop Book: Literacy. Here is an excerpt from his article:
"When reading stories to young children, it is possible to replace the visual element by the pictures, upon which we now rely so heavily, with physical and verbal imitation. Let's take Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Instead of having 'There was a girl named Goldilocks that was walking through the forest,' we could make it like Going on a Lion Hunt.
"Goldilocks was walking through the forest, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, she saw a house that had a door and she said, 'Aaaaaaaaaaa door!' She got a little closer and said, 'Aaaaaaaaaaa door!' (If you do this right, the kids will be saying 'Aaaaaaaaaaa door!') Goldilocks said, 'Let's open the door.' So they opened up the door, 'Creak.'
"It's possible to turn Goldilocks and the Three Bears into the same sort of story that Going on a Lion Hunt is, without in any way changing the plot. In fact, doing it in this format expands the plot so it is now available to children who otherwise couldn't follow it. Almost any story for children has elements, which can be made into repetitive patterns which the children will imitate: walking, opening doors, and saying hello are all repetitive elements that children love to imitate if given the chance."
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