Okay, so the title of this should really be “Saturday Thoughts” since I’m two days late in writing. I have no good excuse other than it’s getting to be finals time here at school, and my energies are directed elsewhere. I also mean to keep this post rather short, for the same reason. Still, I thought this was a good one to share:
An article at slate.com, I Remember Mama and Dada talks about children’s memories and how our earliest memories from childhood may depend on the narrative and conversational style of our parents.
Not to put too much pressure on the parents of young kids out there, but the article talks about how parents whose conversational style involves asking their young children “specific, repetitive questions about past events” or telling detailed, complicated narratives about the past where the child’s answers to those specific questions are included in that narrative result in a style they call “highly elaborative” and can lead to a reinforcement of the connections in the brain about that story. I also loved how they mention that through this story-telling technique:
“Children are learning how to organize memories in a narrative, and in doing so, they are learning the genre of memory”
Memories organized in this way are more likely to be retained into adulthood. And the kids begin telling their own stories, which the article mentions can correlate with literacy.
I’ve read a few articles over the years, about the importance of bedtime stories (see the work of Shirley Brice Heath for these), and how children retell their day to themselves before they go to bed, in more complicated language (i.e. full sentences and greater vocabulary) than they use during the day, and it’s fascinating to see how important the role of storytelling can be in our lives. And of course, just reinforces the importance of our parents’ interactions with us.
Will this article affect the way YOU tell stories to your children?