Story-time with Erna #2: For Parents and Their Young Children during the Time of the Coronavirus

Pre-amble to the story: Talking about taking turns.

As soon as my granny sat down to tell us a story, she would ask:  “So, which story do you want to listen to?”. In response to this question my brother, Nico and I would start to shout out the stories we wanted to hear. Our shouting often became louder as we tried to persuade my granny to tell the story we wanted to hear.  Then, my granny would ask : ”Who picked the story last time?”.  My brother, Nico and I  would then quickly start to point at each other saying “You chose last time!”.  However, my granny was a wise woman and would remind us who selected the story last time  by saying something like  “ Let’s think about this. Erna, didn’t you choose the story about “How the Animals Chose their King?”  When granny said this, we all knew that Granny was well aware of whose turn it was and that we needed to quickly step in line before she changed her mind about the story! This was indeed Nico’s turn to choose the story.  I had to accept that this was his turn to choose. This time, however, Nico chose a really good story. See if you agree with me..

In my retelling of this story, I am again using the book  Famous South African Folk Tales by Pieter W Grobbelaar and Sean Verster.

For Parents: Although the main purpose of this presentation is enjoyment, these stories also provide great opportunities for parents to talk to their children about the content of the stories to ensure that they understand what happened;  and why certain characters acted in certain ways. There is no better way to enhance children’s learning than to focus on their ability to understand oral and written language. At the end of the story, I will provide a couple of comprehension questions to guide parents on how to  facilitate the developent of language comprehension with their children.

Story 2: The Church of the Bees—Featuring Hare and Jackal

Introduction to the story: Describing the context

Preparation: Explain basic concepts in the story by clicking on the pictures below and  talking a bit about the concepts with your child.

Concepts and pictures

Crevice: a Narrow opening in a rock or wall

Church: Group of believers (mostly Christian) who come together to pray and sing. One also refers to the building they are in as a church.

To be on someone’s track: to follow someone

To have a plan ready: A plan is a way of getting something done; something that you have worked out

Honey: a sweet, sticky yellowish-brown fluid made by bees and other insects from nectar collected from flowers.

Refrain: “Sweet is sweet, And a treat to eat, The best for me, Comes from a bee

The Story: The Church of the Bees

Language Comprehension Questions:

For Parents: The questions at the end of the story is not a comprehension test. Rather the questions are intended to serve as ideas to encourage parents’ interaction with their children after they listened to the story. In many respects, this stage of the process is one of the most important for learning as it presents parents with the opportunity to talk with their chldren and problem-solve the answers to the questions. There simply is no better way to facilitate language comprehension of young children than spending time talking about the content of the stories.

Although some of the  questions may  seem a bit difficult for your child, the development of your child’s understanding of the story will happen in interaction with you. Feel free to explain to the child in your own, more simplified way, if necessary,  what happened and develop the answers with him/her. Please expose your child to all the questions. This is where the most powerful learning happens—in interaction with you, the parent.

  1. Why did the Hare think there was honey in the crevice?
  2. Why was jackal on hare’s track? Why did jackal follow hare?
  3. What does it mean to give Jackal’s teeth some exercise?
  4. The bees were inside the crevice: why did hare say they were at church singing?
  5. Why did jackal poked the bees with a stick?
  6. What happened after jackal poked the bees with a stick?
  7. Why did Hare fell over laughing?
  8. What was the plan that hare made?

Enjoy! and Please do not hesitate to send me your suggestions and comments!

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