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BY CHRISTA MELNYK HINES Bakke began inventing his own stories and telling them to his younger brother when his brother had trouble falling asleep. "Most of the stories I told (him) were fairly D avid Bakke fondly remembers the bedtime tales his parents told when he was a child. At about 8-years-old, The Magic of Storytelling simple and centered on animals and children. This pastime made for a closer relationship between us, gave me a sense of responsibility at a young age, and also fostered my creative, who now shares his family's storytelling tradition with his own son. spirit," Bakke says, an editor for Why Tell Stories? Stories put our own experiences into perspective, comforting us with the knowledge that we aren't alone in our human experiences. Stories serve to entertain, inspire, teach compassion and other values and stoke admiration and respect for the generations of individuals who came before us. Studies also show storytelling enhances a child's language development, emergent reading and comprehension skills. Teach Listening. Today's hectic lifestyles one another. "The most effective way that parents can encourage skills is through conversation and stories," says Robin Moore, professional storyteller and author of Creating a Family Storytelling Tradition: Awakening the Hidden Storyteller. If Your Child Has Problems Learning at School 1. Unable to sit still; cannot stay on task. 2. Very clumsy; poor hand-eye coordination. 3. Does written work very slowly; often fails to complete the task. 4. Has difficulty copying visual material; constantly looks up and down. 5. Moves entire head instead of eyes when reading. 6. Reversals; confusing "was" and "saw" or letters "b" and "d." 7. Is disorganized and frustrated when studying visual information. 8. Makes frequent "careless" mistakes. affect our ability to listen to listening A Penny for Your Thoughts? Nicole Keck, mom of three boys, ages 6, 4 and 2, found storytelling is like a window into her children's minds. Her sons take turns telling stories before bedtime. "(The stories) may be funny or serious, true or fiction. We like...that it gives us precious insights into what they're thinking about," Keck says. "Knowing what makes them tick is an invaluable tool in guiding and supporting them. Besides, they're very witty and it's just great entertainment!" Skip the Lecture. Dr. Jody Kellas, a communication professor and storytelling researcher at the University of Nebraska, says families who tell stories report higher levels of happiness, closeness and adaptability. Family stories also shape a child's understanding of his family's values, a sense of right and wrong and appropriate social behavior both in the family and in the world. continued on pg 18 16 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • September 2012 20/20 Eyesite ~ 0/0 Vision

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