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The Power of Fairytales

Posted by: Rhonda April 7, 2020

A mother once approached Albert Einstein and asked him what she might do to prepare her young son for a successful career in science. “Read him fairytales,” he replied. “And, if you want him to be very intelligent, read him more fairytales.”

This is comforting advice for a nation-full of parents unexpectedly facing the responsibility of educating their children at home. Fairytales, stories handed-down by word of mouth for generations, are more than just entertainment. Our predecessors understood that storytelling provides a rich, childhood foundation in oral language which is a critical prerequisite for literacy.

So as we navigate this new norm of education, the least we can do is read, or tell, children fairytales! Lots! Over and Over! And we may discover that this is exactly what our children need. Besides being a great tool for education, fairy tales “affirm that, yes, there are difficulties in life, but we have the courage, strength, and steadfastness to meet them,” wrote a beloved advocate for children, Joan Almon.

Read Almon’s popular essay “Oral Language: The Foundation for Literacy”