Encouraging Critical Thinking in Children Through Storytelling
As parents, we all know the importance of reading to our children. Not only is it a great way to spend quality time together, but it also has significant developmental benefits for our little ones.
But did you know that storytelling can also help develop critical thinking skills in children?
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of storytelling and how to use it to encourage critical thinking in children.
The Developmental Benefits of Storytelling
Telling stories to your child has numerous developmental benefits. It provides an opportunity for your child to explore their imagination, practice their listening skills, and learn new vocabulary. Storytelling can also help your child develop critical thinking skills, which are essential in later school life, problem-solving, and forming opinions on various topics.
The Importance of Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking skills are necessary for interpreting and reflecting on the information. The ability to think critically helps children make sense of the world around them and form their own opinions. Developing critical thinking skills in children from a young age can help them become more confident, curious, and independent learners.
Using Storytelling to Encourage Critical Thinking
To encourage critical thinking in children, Peter Worley, a philosopher and CEO of the Philosophy Foundation, suggests asking certain questions about stories as you tell them. The key is to avoid interpreting the story for your child, but instead, ask questions that draw out their own opinions and guide their thought processes.
The Hokey Kokey Method
One helpful technique to use when telling a story is the “Hokey Kokey” method. This method involves going into the story, then out of the story, then back in again.
For example, using the book “Frog is a Hero”:
a) “In the story” (concrete) – “Is Frog a hero?”
b) Move “out of the story” (abstract) – “What is a hero?”
c) Test what is said by going “back in the story” (applied) – “If that’s what a hero is, then is Frog a hero?”
Using this method can help children develop their critical thinking skills by encouraging them to form their own opinions about the story and its characters.
Encouraging Critical Thinking Through Reading
Reading is an essential activity for helping children develop their critical thinking skills. However, it’s important to make reading fun and engaging for your child. Understanding how children learn to read can help parents make the process enjoyable and effective. Using techniques like the Hokey Kokey method can help children develop their critical thinking skills while enjoying the process of reading.
Resources for Encouraging Critical Thinking
Peter Worley has written several books that can help parents encourage critical thinking in their children. These books include collections of stories that you can tell your child, as well as techniques for making story time interesting and questions like the ones above to help you encourage critical thinking.
- The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom
- Once Upon an If: The Storythinking Handbook
- The If Odyssey: A Philosophical Journey Through Greek Myth and Storytelling for 8-16 Year Olds
Storytelling is a powerful tool for developing critical thinking skills in children. By using techniques like the Hokey Kokey method, parents can encourage their children to form their own opinions about stories and characters. Reading is also an essential activity for helping children develop their critical thinking skills, and there are many resources available to help parents make the process fun and engaging for their children. By encouraging critical thinking skills from a young age, parents can help their children become confident, curious, and independent learners.