"The Princess and the Frog" and Other Disney Movies Can Help Families Bond While Building Literacy Skills In Children

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"When parents learn to ask the right questions, good movies can be an important part of the development of both family relationships and literacy in your children," says national professional storyteller and author K. Sean Buvala

"When your children see great Disney movies such as 'The Princess and the Frog,' they actually are on their way to a deeper understanding of storytelling. Storytelling helps promote literacy and math skills in school. With a little prompting from parents, movies such as this one can actually build up your child," says award-winning storyteller and author K. Sean Buvala.

Buvala, the director of Storyteller.net and a veteran of 23 years of national storytelling, thinks Disney movies provide great opportunities for families. While many storytellers disdain Disney movies, Buvala sees it differently. "All good storytellers take classic tales and adapt them for the needs of their audience, creating tales that speak to the life and times of those who listen. In 'The Princess and the Frog,' the creators have taken a very old fairytale and made it modern, relevant and accessible. In turn that creates new opportunities for contemporary audiences to embrace the ancient truths told in stories."

In his book "DaddyTeller," (http://www.daddyteller.com) Sean teaches Dads how to interact with their kids via storytelling. "When you take your kids to a good Disney movie, be sure to continue the conversation with your children later. When you tap into your child's imagination, you are helping them build up their skills for reading and writing." Buvala suggests that, in addition to telling stories to their children similar to the one in the movie, that parents engage their children in conversation:

"What do you think happens to such-and-such character after the movie was over?"
"Can you tell me the story you just saw?"
"Let's make up our own version of the movie but pretend it happens in Arizona (or your state)."
"Can you make up a story where the princess turns into a cow, or a butterfly or a dog?"

Buvala says that these types of questions build literacy in children through such skills as imagination and sequencing. "Parents really are the primary educators of their children and this role can be made eaiser by recognizing teachable moments such as movies and other media input," he says.

Buvala and six other national storytellers just recently released a CD of recorded stories. "Frog Kisser: Eight Stories of Enchantment" has eight traditional and new stories on it for adults and mature children, including two stories of frogs and royalty. More information can be found at http://www.frogkisser.com.

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