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Cultural Community Story Boxes: Sharing Literature with Young Children

Experiences to consider providing with the story boxes

Acevedo, Kleker, Pangle, & Short, 2014


All of the books in the story boxes can be used to read aloud to a whole group, small group or individual children as well as made available for independent exploration. In addition, consider the following experiences:

Picture walk through a book

Flip through the pages of a book without reading the text, giving children an opportunity to comment on the pictures. Use the pictures to give the children a general idea of the story before reading, or use this strategy to engage students in discussion of the pictures instead of reading the book. This strategy works well for books that have a large amount of text or complex story lines.

•Example: Minji’s Salon (Korea) has a complex storyline. A picture walk through the book before reading it aloud allows children to make predictions about what might be happening in the two different story contexts.

Rereading a book multiple times

Children love listening to their favorite stories over and over with each time an opportunity for meaning-making. Some young children need to hear a book more than once in order to make sense of it and others just enjoy rereading a favorite.

•Example: No, I Want Daddy (France) explores children’s feeling towards their parents, which is a common experience among children across the world.

Storytelling from a book

Instead of reading the book from cover to cover, tell the story with/or without artifacts.

•Example: Rain School (East Africa) – Using artifacts such as play dough, clay, flannel board, etc. create the pieces of the school mentioned in the book: bricks, walls, roof with clay or play dough and tell the story as you build the school and then let it dissolve when rain comes.

•Example: Welcome Dede!: An African Naming Ceremony (West Africa) has excellent photographs but the text is too long and so the teacher can tell the story, using the pictures instead of reading it aloud.

Read a page or two to introduce an invitation

Instead of reading the entire book from cover to cover, choose one or more pages that can lead into an engagement in the classroom.

•Example: Kamal Goes to Trinidad (Caribbean) – Introduce the page about steel drums and then invite children to dance and create movement patterns while listening to Caribbean music with steel drums.

Games to engage children with a book

Use a game to structure how the story is read. This works particularly well for informational or concept books.

•Example: Navajo ABC/A Diné Alphabet Book (American Indians from the Southwest) - Invite children to take turns picking a random letter from a basket. The teacher reads the text on that specific page.

Puppets or animals to tell a story

Use puppets or stuffed animals from the story boxes to help tell the story. Sharing the story several times with different puppets allows for exploring multiple perspectives.

•Example: The Lion and the Mouse (East Africa) - Use a lion puppet to share this wordless book.

Artifacts to explore a story

Use the artifacts in the story boxes to engage children with the stories. Artifacts can be explored before, during, and/or after listening to the stories.

•Example: What Can You Do with a Rebozo? (Mexico)- Invite children to act out parts of the story using a rebozo.

Music to accompany the reading

Use culturally relevant music to accompany the reading of a story or while children are exploring the artifacts and books on their own.

•Example: Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes (China) – Invite children to listen to Chinese music. You can also read other books from the story box with Chinese music playing in the background.

Sharing literature through other media

Identify appropriate multimedia materials to share before or after reading a story.

•Example: Omer’s Favorite Place (East Africa) – Invite children to watch and respond to short YouTube videos, such as: Little Human Planet S01E15 Homes around the World: on households in villages and rural areas. The exploration can be extended by finding additional multimedia on urban households.

Acting out the story

The teacher reads the story aloud as the children take on character roles to act it out. Multiple readings provide an opportunity for more children to be involved.

•Example: The Three Little Sheep (American Indians of the SW) is a Three Pigs variant and so children will enjoy taking on the roles of the sheep and the wolf as the book is read aloud to them.

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