Everyone like to be told stories

Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story (Photo credit: heraldpost)

Yesterday, my daughter recall me an important fact. We all like to be told stories! Of course, toddlers loves to sit on their parents laps to listen to a cute bedtime stories. However, we often forget that older children also loved to be told stories.

Those who follow me for a while know that my daughter loves to read. She learned to read only last year, but she is now reading, reading and reading every single book she can encounter. Therefore, since about 1 year, I didn’t tell her any story myself. She is just able to read on her own.

Yesterday she had a brilliant idea. She asked me to tell her a story. I was a bit surprised, but I loved the idea. So she brought a book and I started to read. That was a beautiful moment just between me and her. It was funny for me to see how the interaction was different between us, than the interaction I have with her little brother in similar circumstances. While I was reading, my daughter was asking me the meaning of the most complicated words. At other times, she was correcting my reading and from time to time both of us were commenting on what was happening in the story. We just had a lot of fun together.

Then, after the first chapter, I got a bit tired and asked her to read the next chapter. What was my surprise to hear her reading aloud to me! She was so proud to read for me. Honestly, she was reading very very well. She was reading loud with expression, sometimes changing the voices for the different characters. That was a huge change compared to how she speaks on day to day. She usually speaks very softly. It was then my turn to feel so proud of her.

Apparently, she enjoyed the experience as much as I did because, again today, she asked me to read for her and she read for me.

For me, this was yet another time when a story had created a beautiful moment between a girl and her father.

Have you though of offering to read a story to your older children lately? If not, try do so at the most appropriate moment. They might be surprised of the offer and you might be surprised of the answer!

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Tell a story, make a child happy, and get a link back as a reward!

Story time in a kindergarten classroom in Mari...

Story time in a kindergarten classroom in Marina, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seeing the immense success I’m having so far in getting people tell stories to children around them, I started to think of ways to make the process even easier and to give some reward to those willing to do the extra step of registering with us after telling a story to a child close to them.

I’m perfectly conscious that most of you who read my posts may already tell stories to their own children or to their close little ones relatives . So why would you bother to register to my blog and tell me that, right? Isn’t everybody reading stories to their kids anyway? Well, according to a study of the University of California, only 47.8% of children between birth and the age of 5 are read to everyday by their parents in the United States. I have to admit, this is a study dated of 2007, but quite honestly, do you really believe this has improved since then? I don’t.

All this to say, that the very first phase of the Millions of Stories project is to raise awareness around this fact. To do so, we need something big, we need a lot of persons unifying together behind a huge and noticeable goal, i.e. telling 1 millions of stories to children all around the world.

Skeptics, now I hear you thinking : “1 millions of stories that’s already impossible to achieve and now he talks about this as being the first phase or the project? Crazy!”. No, no, I’m not crazy, I strongly believe this can happen and that once this first phase is completed, a world of possibilities will then open in order to further expand to bigger events, such as many Storytelling Events if you recall one of my first post about those.

But, back to earth now, we need to start with the first milestone. It’s very easy, trust me. I just need 6 more persons, 1 per continent, willing to tell a story to a child and register with us. I already got North America covered, but nonetheless, I’m still accepting registration from there too. The next step is to ensure coverage in every country after all!

To make it easier and more anonymous, in case this can be a concern for anyone, I created an easy-to-fill form for registering.. The only 3 questions to fill are the following:

  • Which story did you tell to a child for this project?
  • In which continent are you based?
  • In which country are you based?

You don’t even have to provide your name, e-mail or any personal information! This project is not about collecting your personal information, it’s about telling stories to children and making them happy, that’s all! That reminds me one of my tweet few days ago : “I have nothing to sell, just happiness to giveaway!”. That’s true! 🙂

The questions regarding the continent and country are simply to allow me to keep track of progress through the goal because, not only do I want to have 1 million stories told all around the world, but I want to have at least 1 story told in each and every country and therefore in each and every continent as well. That includes Antarctica!

Finally, last but not least, the reward! That’s right, there is a reward. As you register, if you provide a link to your web site or blog, I promise to post at least one link back to your site in a summary post about the project progress. I may even post it multiple times if it is relevant to some of my other posts. Think of this link-back as being an investment. Today, because this project is starting, the net result may not be that big, but just imagine what my search-engine ranking (and therefore yours) will be when the goal will be reached! Think it through carefully before passing by this great opportunity!

So, really, registering with us becomes a win-win-win situation. By order of importance…

  1. Win for a child who got to share an happy storytelling moment
  2. Win for you with an increased score in search-engine ranking
  3. Win for the project Millions of Stories in getting closer to its ultimate goal.

What are you waiting for then? Tell a story, any nice story, to a child and : Be part of It, Join Us!

Moral Stories for Children : The Fables of La Fontaine, or Icky Little Duckling?

English: Still taken from the 1950ties childre...

English: Still taken from the 1950ties children TV program “The Fables of La Fontaine” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve written 3 posts about moral stories for children, or more precisely about stories from which children can learn something for their life. Actually, I believe that children can actually learn and benefit from any kind of story, not just those more commonly called “moral stories”. That’s why the dream I’m pursuing is to tell millions of stories to children all around the world and have a positive impact in their life.

After doing some research specific around moral stories, I realize that most of them are not so tailored for today’s children. Some of those stories are so short (few lines) that they don’t even let time for the child to get absorbed by the story and its characters. Others stories tell the moral so explicitly at the end of the story that it almost vanished the whole point of a story. Think about it, there is just no difference between saying to your kids : “be kind with your friends” and telling them one of those moral stories. The message gets into by one ear and goes out by the other! The moral needs to be more subtle to have a real impact on your child.

Seriously, children learns by example. They need to be able to identify themselves with a character in the story. They need to live the adventures along with this character and feel the same as the character feels, in order to realize and learn the same the character learns in that story.

Your little boy needs to become Mr. Rabbit, live in the big mess made by the baby duckling in his house, feel sad after the little duckling goes back to her mother, and then feel so happy when going out to invite all the duckling’s family back to his house for a big messy party!

My child need to become Scaredy Squirrel, live in a boring tree, do the same thing over and over again each day, be scared of the KILLER BEE! passing by, then be confused as his safety evacuation plan fall apart, then feel amazed, surprised, courageous, invincible when he realize he can fly (oupps,,, i told you the punch!) and then proud of himself to figure out that the unknown is not as scary as he imagined.

This other little girl needs to become Tara, to feel the fear of going to swim in the so big ocean, to feel pain of staying alone playing in the sand while all her friends are having fun swimming in the ocean, to feel better when starting to think of all courageous things she did in the past, then feel stronger and stronger the more she finds examples of her being courageous, and finally to feel proud of deciding on her own to go swimming with her friends!

This is, in my opinion, what moral stories for children are really about in today’s society. Although I have plenty of respect for Mr. De La Fontaine, it’s just great to see contemporary authors of children stories writing nice “moral” stories adapted for today’s kids. Cheers to you authors! Our kids will have a better life partly because of you!

Now your turn… What kind of moral stories do you prefer yourself for your little ones? What kind of stories do they prefer (isn’t that the most important after all? 🙂 ). Do you think that old-fashioned moral stories still have a place in today’s society?

Parents, authors, bloggers… share up your thoughts!

Help me to read, tell me a story!

HELP

HELP (Photo credit: marc falardeau)

Both my parents were teachers prior to retiring. My mother has been teaching first grade for quite a while She was the one by whom many children learned to read in our small town. When I was young, I heard all sort of stories about children learning to read.

Then I grew up and had children myself. One of the very first gift, my mother offered to my kids was a book. The babies weren’t even able to sit by themselves but they were looking at books while their grand-mother was telling them stories.

If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you know that I do absolutely love books myself. However, from time to time, while watching my mother tell stories to my baby daughter I was thinking: “Does she really understand what the book was about?”

Now my daughter grew as well, she is at school and has became a passionate reader. When we go to the library, she takes the maximum number of books possible (that’s 15!) and she read them all in less then 2 days over the week-end!

After watching my daughter read her books and be so passionate about them, I now know for sure that, when her grand-mother was telling her stories, my daughter understood what books were all about! It is now my turn to read stories to my younger boy, knowing that this can certainly make a huge difference in his life.

Reading to children all around the world is the best gift we can offer them. It will last for their whole life. Let’s together give them away more than 1 million of those gifts!

Toy Story 3 started it… 999,999 stories left to be told to children all around the world

Toy Story 3 display

Toy Story 3 display (Photo credit: diwong)

Tonight, I told a short version of Toy Story 3 to my little 3 years old boy. He was sitting on my laps, looking attentively at the book, just before going to bed. We both enjoyed this very special moment. We laugh together, I tickle him from time to time, give him some kisses while telling the story and he loved it.

To me, this is probably the best moment of the day we share together. In the morning, we’re too much in a hurry to go to kindergarten and then to work. We don’t see each other for the whole day, then when I come home late, my wife and the kids already ate dinner most of the time. Then we needs to clean things up, give the bath to the kids, finish the homework of the older sister, etc. Just like most parents with little kids, we’re running all over the place from 6 am to 7 pm all days of the week.

Bedtime stories are almost the only time of the weekdays when we can fully enjoy the moment with our kids. A true moment of pure dad and boy time. At this time, nothing else matter, we’re together!

Tonight, then, I decided that Toy Story 3 was going to be the very first story told for my project Millions of Stories. I admit it, that was not at all an effort for me, not even a small one. Who cares? The only thing that matter really is that by telling my son a story, I ended up sharing an awesome moment with him and I made him happy.

This is what I’m dreaming for the 999,999 other children who will be told a story during this project.

Already telling stories to your kids? Tell us by registering on our Be part of it, join us! page

First step : telling a story to a child in each continent in the world

Category:Transport by continent

Category:Transport by continent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.” (Source: Wikipedia, Six degrees of separation).

Isn’t that powerful? When you think of it, spreading the word and convincing 1,000,000 of persons to read a story to a beloved children shouldn’t be that hard after all! It’s just a matter of starting the wheel and spreading the word to the right persons. We just need a few passionate books lovers willing to share their passion with a little one for few minutes and done!

In a previous post (4 easy steps to reach 1 millions stories told to children all around the world), I suggested that the first step was to get 1 story told in each and every continent, that’s 7 stories. I do have friends living around the world, so let’s see if I could do this first step only by myself.

  1. North America – I can take care of this one – easy!
  2. South America – I have family in Chile – sounds good!
  3. Europe – I have friends in Germany – great!
  4. Asia – My best friend from university lives in Hong Kong – nice!
  5. Africa – A few of my work colleagues are born in Africa, they must still have relatives over there – doable!
  6. Australia – Oupps! I’ve been there visiting Sydney a while back, but I do not happen to know anyone right now by there. Anyone? Do one of you, reading this post, know someone who may know someone who may know someone (up to 6 times) who lives in Australia? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes (actually, I’m sure!). If you are not convinced, share this post with all your friends and we’ll see.
  7. Antarctica – There is probably not much children in Antartica, but there must be at least one, I’ll have to do some research there. Worst case, I’ll have to go! My son would be crazy going there and having his father read him a story sitting on an iceberg. On top of that, he loves penguins! 🙂

So, that looks like a quite good start, isn’t it? I’ll take care of 1 to 5… any volunteer to help with Australia and maybe with Antartica as well? Come on, that will take you only few minutes. 🙂

Be part of it, join us!

I dream, therefore I am… going to tell 1 million stories to children all around the world

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As far ago as I can remember, I always loved reading books. I started looking at comic books even before I could read. I learned to read with the Smurfs (which I still own and am now passing to my daughter for the same purpose). I have awesome recollections of reading good novels at the country house of my parents during many summer vacations when I was a teenager. I learned Spanish reading Mafalda, Garfield and Condorito (Chilean comic book). Books helped me pass through the difficult moments of my life and allowed me to fully enjoy the best moments as well.

My daughter recently learned how to read and is enjoying books as much as I was at her age. To me, this is fantastic and I’m proud of it because I consider that giving her this passion was the best gift I could giver her. The passion of reading will be with her forever and will help her during her whole life. I have no doubts about that.

At the same time, I know that many children in the world do not have the chance my daughter had and may not be exposed to books like we both were. I want to make a difference in the life of those children. I want to tell them stories, show them how books can take them into the fabulous world of their imagination, how interesting they are and the million things they can learn by reading a book.

I want to give out 1 millions gifts for this project. This is why… I dream, therefore I am… going to tell 1 millions stories to children all around the world!

4 easy steps to reach 1 millions stories told to children all around the world

Step Pyramid

Step Pyramid (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

All rights! The fun starts now. In order to tell 1 millions stories to children all around the world, we need to start somewhere, right? Here are 4 simple steps to get there…

  1. Start telling 1 story in each and every continent – that’s 7 stories – Easy!
  2. Then tell 1 story in each and every country – that’s 196 more stories – Manageable!
  3. Then tell 1 story in each and every major city in the world – that’s 4,360 stories – Challenging!
  4. And finally, tell 1 story every 2 weeks in 10 schools of each of the major cities over the course of 1 year – that’s 1,133,600 stories! – Wow!

We’ve then over achieved our goal and brought happiness in the life of more than 1 million children in the world. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Ready? Let’s start with step 1, 1 story per continent. This shouldn’t be too hard. I already have viewers, likes and followers from North America, Europe and Asia. I’m then only missing South America, Africa, Australia and Antartica.

Want to be in? Hurry up, it’s as easy as 1,2,3. Check out the 3 easy steps under my page Be part of it, join us!

What if we would all live like ducklings?

Ducklings

Ducklings (Photo credit: burnt in effigy)

There is probably Millions of Stories written for children in the world. I read a few myself to my own children of course. There is one I remember reading to my daughter a while back before she could read by herself. The story is called “Icky Little Duckling” by Steve Smallman and Tim Warnes.

It’s a funny story about a very organized Mr. Rabbit who finds a beautiful and perfect egg while walking outside. He brings it home, but suddenly the egg cracks and a icky little duckling goes out of it, saying “Mom!”. This adventure is going to change the life of Mr. Rabbit. Soon, his house became not as clean, calm and perfect as it used to be. Mr. Rabbit becomes frustrated and start searching for the duckling’s mother in the hope of getting rid of the baby and getting back his clean, calm and perfect house. Finally, after some time, Mr. Rabbit finds the mother and the duckling return to live with her. The house becomes again as clean, calm and perfect as it used to be. But then, guess what? Mr Rabbit finds himself no longer happy in this situation. He realizes that having a clean, calm, perfect, but empty house is actually quite boring! He finally goes out again to invite all the duckling’s family in for a party at his house!

The End.

To me, this is a simple story that illustrates well what really matter in life. Not only is it a funny story, but it teaches the importance of friendship to children. Think about it, are you living like Mr. Rabbit or like the little duckling?

“Icky little duckling” is one of the 1 millions stories I want to tell children all around the world as part of the project Millions of Stories.

And you, which children book do you remember? What are the best stories you have been told, or have told to your own children? Which ones really matter to be told to many many children in the world?

Suggestions welcome, I still need to find 999,999 more stories to tell!