Play is the medium of communication for children. Yet words will always be a part of their experience, and strings of words, and stories a part of their existence. Therefore books, as stories, are necessary for human socialization.
Play is a natural segue into the world of words as communication. Yet, for some children the movement associated with play is too full of fear, too anxiety provoking, too stimulating. These children have anxiety levels so high they experience life in a frozen numbness. They often become “silent children.”
Silent children need the intermediate step of hearing experiences in the form of the written or spoken word, preferably through the uses of enchantment or fairy tales. Fairy tales, fantasy, enchantment, and make believe all have that wonderful element of separation for the child, where the “me” and the “not me” quality are true at the same time, so that the child can stay a step removed from the “real story” of their life until ready to face it. But the fantasies help the child come to the place of strength and acceptance.
This is also the reason that young children enjoy stories about animals with problems similar to the problems children face like, for example, the Berenstain Bear books or Llama Llama. It is much easier for a child to see solutions to their problems through the experiences of the animal characters.
- Stories can be read aloud, with or without the tangible book.
- Stories can be drawn, written, or spoken, sometimes using puppets and dolls to animate the story line.
- Other possibilities:
- Voice or video recorder
- Create a book from drawn pictures or narratives copied from the child
- Pre-made paper books to write in
- Photographs of stories told on the dry erase board
- Genograms that trigger narratives, and associations or significant people to the child