Introduction

To Parents

To Teachers

Why Classic Stories Matter

History of the Project

Resources

To Parents and Caregivers

Interact with your Child

We hope you’ll find ways to actively encourage the children in your life to enjoy these online offerings—perhaps by turning down the volume and reading aloud the onscreen text of the stories or rhymes, perhaps by discussing with the children what they hear and understand, maybe by asking questions about rhyming sounds or why characters do certain things or why the picture shows what it does, or by asking if they can identify certain letters or words on the screen, or by asking them to close their eyes when listening to a story—for most children the pictures in their imaginations will be far richer than any onscreen visual.

Most important of all, demonstrate that you love them, that you treasure them and their learning experiences, that you very much enjoy sharing time with them.

Your children more often demand greasy chicken nuggets and french fries, than vegetables, and they whine for candy, not fruit. You know what they want isn’t always what’s best for them. It’s important to respect the difference between junk food and healthy food, but it’s even more important to understand the difference between mental junk food (most tv shows and cartoons and movies and video games) and healthy mental nourishment like the classics available on this website.

The more your child listens to and repeats these rhymes and stories, the better prepared she or he will be for learning to read, the best possible foundation for doing well in school and later in life.

Some words will be unfamiliar, but figuring out their meanings in context will increase your child’s vocabulary—the more words a child knows, the more words a child will be able to learn. Sometimes sentence length or sentence patterns will challenge your child—but hearing a story two or three times will help your child develop the skills and capabilities to understand and eventually read even more demanding texts.

Please ask your child to try to learn a new nursery rhyme every day, at least two or three every week. It would be wonderful if you could put on the refrigerator or could tape somewhere a piece of paper on which you write the title of every new rhyme your child learns. Many rhymes are quite short and easy to learn—and for longer ones you might count each stanza as a separate rhyme.

Reciting rhymes to grandparents or other family members or friends will reinforce the child’s self confidence and well-deserved pride in academic accomplishment.

Rewarding a child every so often, perhaps a special treat or privilege for learning three rhymes or five, or for telling a new story, will go far to help your child understand the links between effort, academic success, and reward.

Try using stories on the site as bedtime stories. If this isn’t practical, every few days, maybe once a week, encourage your child to listen to and retell for you a new story, and perhaps get him or her to retell the story to family members or friends. If your child doesn’t know or remember a rhyme, start one and see if your child can finish it. Take turns with your child alternating lines of a rhyme or telling parts of a story. As much as your child loves cartoon characters and pets and toys, she loves you more, he loves you more, than anything. Model the behaviors you value, show them how much you treasure what they can accomplish, and you’ll give them a gift far more precious and enduring than any of those expensive toys or games or clothes you’d like to buy them, though deep down inside you realize all these objects are far less valuable than the time you spend with them sharing rhymes and stories—and love.