Advice Column, Child, Education, Kumon, Parenting

THE INSPIRATION OF FAIRY TALES

  • Kumon
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Education, Kumon, Parenting

 Albert Einstein once said: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 

Developing a child’s reading proficiency and igniting their passion for literature is a priority for parents all year-round, however awareness days like the upcoming International Children’s Book Day on 2 April, are beneficial in putting children’s books and authors into the spotlight and further encouraging children across the globe to develop a regular reading habit.

International Children’s Book Day is celebrated on the birthday of prolific children’s author Hans Christian Andersen who, with over 150 fairy tales to his name alone, has certainly helped inspire a love of reading in children, past and present.

To mark the dual occasion of International Children’s Book Day and Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, we have looked at his favoured choice of medium, fairy tales, and considered why it is important for you to tell and read fairy tales to your child.

Fairy tales help develop a range of academic skills

As a young listener your child will observe your storytelling skills and learn to mimic these as their own reading ability develops. They will learn how to captivate an audience using tone, accents, acting, dramatic pauses etc., as well as the components of effective storytelling like chronology and attention to detail.

In listening to you reading fairy tales and then learning to read from the books themselves, a child will develop strong memory skills; I’m sure as an adult you can still recall the details of your favourite fairy tales.

From the actual fairy tale plots they will develop in critical thinking skills, as they will follow the actions of the characters carefully and see the consequences of these actions, boosting their understanding of the world.

Through any sort of fictional reading a child will develop in creativity, but the fantasy, myth and magic of fairy tales offers even greater scope for them to think outside of the box. Fairy tales are full of fantastic adventures, enchanting lands and exotic creatures, all of which fuel their imagination beyond the ordinary and every day.

Fairy tales teach important life lessons

Of course the primary function of fairy tales is to be entertaining, but they also contain valuable and moral lessons for a child to learn.

According to The Telegraph, Goddard Blythe, director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in Chester, said: “Fairy tales help to teach children an understanding of right and wrong, not through direct teaching, but through implication.”

Of course the real world isn’t a fairy tale but a child can take the over-arching messages of these tales and apply them to their own lives, for example fairy tales teach great lessons in friendship and kindness as well in individuality and staying true to oneself.

Fairy tales encourage emotional development

Usually you would tell or read your child a fairy tale before bed to settle them into a peaceful slumber; this is important as it creates intimacy, routine, and a bonding experience between you and your child.

The majority of fairy tale plots and the messages they convey can resonate directly with a child, and can help them to deal with an anxiety they can’t yet fully explain. Fairy tales can teach them how to better handle and deal with their emotions.

Professor Yvonne Kelly of UCL said: “Children who listen to stories show better results in measures such as literacy tests and SATs – but also in terms of social and emotional development“; however, putting the research and studies aside, fairy tales are simply a wonderful way to add a bit of extra sparkle to your child’s day and encourage their love of reading.

Why not pick out one of Hans Christian Anderson’s wonderful fairy tales and read it together, act it out, or watch the related movie to celebrate International Children’s Book Day this April?

  • Thumbelina
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes
  • The Little Mermaid (Disney’s version is an all time classic)
  • The Snow Queen (Disney’s Frozen is inspired by this story)

For more information about International Children’s Book Day, visit: https://www.ibby.org/awards-activities/activities/international-childrens-book-day/ 

Source for article: https://www.kumon.co.uk/blog/if-you-want-your-children-to-be-intelligent-read-them-fairy-tales-if-you-want-them-to-be-more-intelligent-read-them-more-fairy-tales-albert-einstein/ 

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  • Bonnie L Burgess March 25, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    Hello, THANK YOU so very much for just being there when I need help. I have a4 year old granddaughter who brightens a world that had pretty much gone dark for me. Avery is amazing in every sense of the word. Intelligent, oh my goodness .. she is so very! Avery listens, and if she’s confused at all .. she’ll ask me define whatever it is & that’s it, no discussing it further. Avery had a tummy ache a couple nights ago, it really threw her for a loop as she had never had one before, at least to that extent I’m guessing & it did hurt because, even though she is tough, she couldn’t control the tears that followed, Still though, and I wasnt surprised when she liked at me thru those tear filled eyes and asked .. “Mimi, can you please tell me why I have a tummy ache, how did I get it & why does it hurt?” Followed by .. “Mimi, can you make my tummy feel better?”. Together we had her feeling better within 30 minutes or so plus she now has an understanding of why & how to avoid something similar in the future. The thing is, I’m not exaggerating .. this is everyday & I’m overjoyed to be someone she trusts, ultimately giving me the opportunity to be included in her world as she sees it, and that is something I cherish more than you can even imagine.
    So anyway, I enjoy that little girl & I’m constantly thinking of how to give her what she needs to thrive, to enjoy, to learn, whatever .. I want her to have every opportunity, make sure as she created her path in life that she doesn’t run into walls, but instead has multiple open doors to choose from so I’m constantly teaching her anything & everything. Avery can cook, she cracks eggs like a champ. Avery can run my sewing machine, actually take two pieces of fabric& end up with one. Avery& I dance to every song we here when we’re together, a television commercial .. were dancing, the theme song from Umi Zumi (sp) .. we’re dancing. Getting dressed, she counts, until she’s funny dressed she counts & didn’t stop until that final bow or clip in her crazy wild hair ! Before bedtime, we do truck paper scissors to see who reads the first before story .. she never wins & we both like it that way, especially since I ad lib & will randomly pull a word out & spell it for her .. she’ll then spell & repeat until she gets it right _ when it’s her turn to tell me a story, she makes one up and always incorporates those spelled words in her story, her imagination leaves me speechless & I can literally let her keep going: & she would, she doesn’t run out of her story, ever until I interrupt & let her know it’s about time to sleep, and she wraps it up, says THE END, and that story is archived somewhere in her brain, stored for use at a later date.
    lol.
    Anyway, when I’m at a loss or have no great ideas, you always come thru for me in so many ways, even today .. the Easter Bunny now has a new plan & will be giving the standard “egg hiding ritual” an upgrade … EASTER EGG HUNT 2.0 is ready to launch & it’s because you took the time & were there when I needed you, AGAIN !
    SO THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART .. YOU & I CAN DO THIS TOGETHER, YOU’VE GIVEN ME A SENSE OF HOPE & I LOOK FORWARD TO WHATEVER COMES NEXT !
    You have my appreciation today and always!
    Thank you,
    Bonnie

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