Teach children to think with quality classic stories

by Mary Ann on March 4, 2011

three little pigs pictures

The Three Little Pigs

Don’t you just love learning from a master. I do. It is enlightening and so invigorating. Some time ago I wrote a blog on the   importance of stories in childrens lives. I highlighted two experiences families had had because of classic stories they had read to their children.  I also wrote about the enormous value of reading time for a family.

Rachel DeMille picture

Rachel DeMille, author, teacher, mentor

Recently, I read an article by a true master of the leadership education model, Rachel DeMille. I want to share some snippets with you about her ideas on reading to children but my hope is that you will read her entire, very inspiring article. (scroll down to Are you *just* reading to the? GIGO)

One of the reasons that we study from the masters in any subject is because they don’t think like we do. They see the subject slightly differently. We study with them to move our thinking up a notch. This article by Rachel has done that for me. She said, “It occurred to me one day last week, when I was teaching a little lesson for a group of friends and their kids (we take weekly turns for an hour of class before the kids play together), that I do something a little more than just reading. It’s one of those things that comes so naturally that sometimes you forget to even comment on it or suggest it to others.”

So what is that little something that is different in how she thinks about reading to children? What does she do that is different?

Well, first she doesn’t just read with the intention to share a story or to get through a chapter so she can tuck her children into bed and then get on with life. She reads with the intention to interact with others. “I started to ask questions about the story. After reading the three pigs to a group of children and mom’s Rachel had this to say, It took longer to discuss the story and listen to the responses from the kids and their moms than it did to tell the thing, and it could have gone on for three times as long. There is so much to talk about when you have a good quality story!”

Do you know why this impresses me so much? I read the questions that she asked the children. Good grief. They were so simple but had so much depth. She had thought, really thought about what she was reading. That is what impressed me the most. Rachel is a thinker. She has decided that in any situation she will do the hardest work, thinking. Thinking pays huge dividends and it is something we can all learn to do and it is something we can and should teach our children to do. It is leadership education in a nutshell, to raise thinking adults who can add to the world and can uphold freedom, because they do know how to think.

I was also impressed because she had taken the time to search out the classic three little pigs, not the watered down versions that some of us grew up with and that we have read to our children. The wonderful questions that she was able to ask won’t be found in those other versions. That is why we read the classics.

Now aren’t you excited to read this article from a true master. Don’t you want to know what deep questions she found to ask from the simple story of The Three Little Pigs. Aren’t you just dying to know the qualities of a true classic, even those for young readers. And finally, aren’t you desirous to know what the end result is of taking the time to pick quality materials to read to your children and in learning to ask questions with the intent to be present and engage another human being, your child? Read this wonderful article and find out! Please comment on the value you received from Rachel’s beautiful article.

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