ERG SES D 01, Interactive Poster Session
This paper adresses reading and telling of fairy tales to preschool children in nowadays multigenerational families. According to the dictionary of literature (Mocná, Peterka et al., 2004, s. 472) a fairy tale means „entertaining, usually prosaic genre of folklore origin with a fantastic story“. It takes place in unknown time and space, good wins, evil is defeated and its characters are either completely kind or mean. Čapek (1971, s. 98) came with a different definition: „A real fairy tale, the fairy tale in its genuine function, is talking in the circle of recipients. It stems from a need to tell and a pleasure to listen.“ He emphasizes, that a fairy tale is rather a communicational action among participants, based on their mutual contact and experience.
The relationship between fairy tales and emergent literacy development is discussed. Both reading as same as telling fairy tales can be considered as methods for developing early literacy. A significant role in this development plays the approach taken by adult narrators. Several recent researchers confirm that parents can influence their childrens' interest in reading by their own approach (Ortiz, Stowe, & Arnold, 2001), especially by their full attention and enthusiasm involved in reading (Kassow, 2006). Communication style, by which they talk to children, contributes not only to the development of cognitive factors of literacy (to which the most of the research attention is directed) but also to the development of social-emotional factors, which can have the same importance for childrens' future lives (Le Poire, 2006). This is because adult narrators change both activities into a family ritual, with the aim of facilitating an experience of mutuality, harmony and family unity.
Thus reading and telling fairy tales can be seen as sociocognitive and in a sort of way intergenerational learning. Educational constructivist Jerome Bruner assumes that all our interpretations come from communication with others. It contains outer interpretations of the world around us and also inner interpretations of ourselves. In this context he emphasizes especially family daily routines with preschool children, which accorrding to him transfer a native language as same as a culture (Bakhurst, & Shanker, 2001). We can say that via reading and telling fairy tales children can construct their meaning and understanding of the world, which a narrator, usually parent or grandparent, presents to them. And merely, in depth, there is also a dimension of constructing understanding among close people, among all those generations involved in the recurring family ritual.
Because a historical evidences mention an important role of old women, knowledgeable and experienced, who liked to share their stories, in relation with telling and reading fairy tales (Možný, 1990), I decided to focus on broader intergenerational families. The main question was: How parents and grandparents from particular intergenerational families perceive their approach in reading and telling fairy tales to the children?
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