It is the teacher’s responsibility in whole-language classrooms, to expose children to the classics of world literature. Caldecott and Newberry Award recipients, great books I cherish from my own childhood, and timeless stories of the oral-tradition serve as the main curricular content of my Preschool.
Oral story telling is especially important in a class of students learning English as a second language, as spoken English differs from the written form. Also, the Waldorf system proposes that being part of an oral story telling tradition may teach children they do not need external resources to know or be entertained.
Cyclically, I choose a classic work of world literature, learn the story and tell it orally to my students everyday for one week. Students benefit from hearing story repetitively, as students comprehension of the story builds each time they hear it.
I am, thereby, preparing students to bring the story to life first with a puppet-show, and finally in a class-play, or reader’s theatre. In my next few posts I’ll write more about benefits puppetry and reader’s theatre and offer some tips.