Tag: literacy

Why Your Kids Need the Performing Arts

By Sean Buvala

The performing arts have been a prominent part of society for generations.

Whether it’s dance, music, or storytelling, the intricacies of these performing arts cannot be stressed enough. From children to seniors, the performing arts remain an integral part of maximizing one’s potential as a human being.

Here are some of the reasons why your kids need the performing arts in their lives.

Build Creativity

It starts with creativity.

Children are often seen using their imagination but how can this be harnessed into something truly life-changing and productive? This is a question many experts have asked and it’s important to dig deeper for a proper answer.

Studies have shown the performing arts do a wonderful job of engaging the creative part of one’s brain. This is just as important as the analytical part. Anyone that is looking to put their child on the road to success needs to create a well-rounded routine, which should include the performing arts.

Promote New Forms of Communication

Photo by Eszter Biró on Unsplash

Many children in their earlier years will learn various forms of communication.

However, the most common forms will include basic dialogue and the written word. While these are intriguing and useful, they are not the only forms. This is where the performing arts come into action with its unique forms of communication including visual cues, music, and more.

Children are able to grasp these concepts and make them their own from a young age. However, it all starts by taking them to a musical performance or storytelling event. These little decisions do add up!

Build Self-Confidence

Imagine being out on the stage and having to perform memorized lines in front of people.

This can be a fascinating experience and is something children should get to go through at a young age. It builds their self-confidence as they learn to adapt to these moments. They become willing to take risks and that leaks into all parts of their life.

Encourage Discipline

The performing arts require discipline and a certain level of dedication.

All of those dance practices and music lessons add up and it starts with a commitment to learning. Kids start to appreciate hard work and how far it can take them. It quickly becomes a passion.

Improve Coordination

Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash

Whether it’s learning how to play the piano or performing a theatrical act, there’s a certain requirement for coordination. Younger kids are primed for developing these fine motor skills and there’s no better way of doing so than with the help of performing arts.

Several studies have shown a direct link between coordination and learning how to play musical instruments. In fact, it’s highly recommended to have children learn how to play at least one instrument (i.e. piano, flute, violin) from a young age to harness their abilities.

These are the reasons why your kids need the performing arts in their lives. Whether it’s heading to the local theater for a theatrical performance or listening to a story at the library, the performing arts are truly exciting and meaningful in a child’s life!

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Importance of Reading to Your Child

(Sean Buvala’s note: The Story-Skilled Child program focuses on the skill of “putting down” the book and telling (just you and the child) a story to your child. It is important to do this to help your child in a myriad of ways. However, we’re not against reading a book to your child. We even provide books to families as part of the workshop. So, in that light, here is an article I put together for you.)

Research has shown that introducing vocabulary at the earliest developmental stages encourages faster intellectual growth, language formation and learning abilities in children. Engaging with little ones between the ages of 0-5 years by reading stories aloud and making language interesting, provides a multitude of wonderful benefits. Simply taking 10 minutes of your day to dedicate to reading a bedtime story or sharing an imagined tale stimulates imagination, strengthens parent-child relationships and prepares youngsters for school. Learn the incredible value your parenting can provide by reading to your small child.

Language Development in Children

Reading with your infant and young child daily produces incredible educational results but is also an exceptional way to create a deeper familial bond. While many caregivers do not read to their babies under a year old, studies have revealed the incredible ability of infants to process speech and to attempt mimicking the sounds and formation of words delivered by their parents. The tone of your voice stimulates intrigue and develops stronger intellectual processing.

Babies cannot read or write; however, listening to storytelling, making eye contact and presenting tales in pictures and textures can accelerate brain development. The preschool years form the foundation for future learning and literacy. For children to master the formation of words and language, they must learn how to communicate, listen and achieve speech-skills prowess.

Introducing stories and pictures can minimize educational deficiencies including delayed learning and difficulties at school. Children able to engage phonetically advance faster academically than young students introduced to structured language and vocabulary in elementary school.

Investing in enjoyable reading tasks with your children younger than 5 years of age can provide an incredible linguistic foundation to help them succeed in language formation. It supports future vocabulary and academic success at school. Reading creates incredible, loving connections with little ones. It is a wonderful way to simplify your communication with your child with added developmental and language benefits.

Why You Should Read to Your Young Child Regularly – Parent Advice and Simple Educational Tips

Despite infants not being able to understand the details of a tale, simply reading aloud to them in an engaging tone will generate interest and excitement. They learn to pay attention to you. Valuable parenting includes dedicating at least 10 to 20 minutes of each day to reading and interacting linguistically with children. Starting from infancy and up to about 5 years old forms a solid foundation for future academic capabilities. Incorporate creativity by introducing simple puppets, toys, and figures into the stories. Make it animated and interesting and watch your little one awaken and tune in with attentiveness and curiosity.

Benefits of Storytelling for Babies and Children:

• Encourages the ability to form words, sounds and develop language at the earliest stages.

• Simulates a creative mind

• Sustains attention

• Teaches children to continue reading books

• Facilitates intellectual and vocabulary development

• Engages young minds to problem solve. Children are encouraged to discern right from wrong, fiction from non-fiction.

• Allows little ones to explore their emotions and relate to characters in the stories

For Parents:

• Literacy through storytelling and reading books is valuable family time.

• The busiest parents can dedicate time each day to reading activities with children.

• Creates deeper parent-child connections.

Making Reading Fun

Parents are encouraged to interact with little ones while reading or telling a tale. Become animated and express the sounds of characters in adventure stories serve as great ways to capture the attention of babies. Young children can participate in story time by describing pictures in books or creating songs to sing along to. Gently encourage pronunciation in successful language development.

Parents of All Languages Can Participate in Reading to Kids

If your family is bilingual, it is most advantageous to read to your child in both languages. Studies have shown that children can learn additional languages faster at a young age and achieve above average learning capabilities and educational results in school.

Best Times to Read to Your Child

Make reading time a fun activity to look forward to every day. Ensure your child is attentive and not tired. Telling stories in the bath or before bedtime are great ways to wind down and relax while enjoying a short story.

For infants and toddlers, reading time should be kept short to prevent boredom. You will find that creating regular story-telling with your children will have them looking forward to books, learning more and engaging at a higher level when making choices or coming to conclusions.

Reading with your children is a valuable parenting activity. It is simple and engaging, providing children with the intellectual foundation needed to develop their future literacy and vocabulary.

Sean Buvala is the director of The Story-Skilled Child parent-involvement program available for Title 1 schools and others. He’s been a professional storyteller since 1986. Find him at his website at seantells.com

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Fumble and Whack. Give Your Kid a Book.

boy in library reading a book story skilled child
There is a young dad standing outside. He’s holding his baby. She probably just turned two.

I hand him a copy of our “Apples for the Princess” book and one of “DaddyTeller: How to be Hero to Your Kids…” books.

The child can barely wait to get that book out of dad’s hands. She’s grabbing it, looking at the cover, fumbling to get it open. She is accidentally whacking dad in the face with the book as he juggles books and baby. As a dad myself, I can tell you that getting smacked in the face by your kid is a regular thing.

It’s adorable, frankly. And it is encouraging.

We hand out a lot of books to families in our “Story-Skilled Child” parenting workshops. Kids are usually not present at the workshops, However, sometimes they are there and that is okay. We do a lot of accidental babysitting and keep crayons and coloring pages in our kit. Our team normally doesn’t get to see the reaction to our books when the kids get a hold of them. But on this day, as we watch the father and toddler together, we know that these two books are going to a home full of language, to a family that reads together, with a parent that connects.

It doesn’t matter that the young child cannot actually read. It doesn’t matter that the toddler can’t understand the nuances of the words in the story. It’s not important that your child comprehend what is going on in the pictures.

What does matter is that you (parent, caregiver) read and communicate with your kids. Sometimes you are reading stories. Sometimes you will put the books down and tell stories.

Fill your home full of language. Let your children use those little fingers to grab big books and fumble with them.

As they say, “you got this.”

Read. Tell. Talk. Engage. Fill your home full of language. Watch this blog for a series of ways to help you do just that.

Sean Buvala is the primary presenter and creator of “The Story-Skilled Child” project and parent-involvement programming for Title 1 schools. The program is available for all schools in all neighborhoods. He is a storyteller with more than 30 years experience and the director of Storyteller.net. He and his wife Michelle have four young-adult children. He is the author of “Eleven Elegant Elephants: A Counting Book for the Small Child.”

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