Ina Petersen and author Hein Benjes on the importance of reading aloud
"The old magic tricks still work"
Updated: 11/23/16 5:20 PM
Jeersdorf – reading aloud without a book – is that possible? At least, if you have the expert Hein Benjes to visit, like the Jeersdorf kindergarten on Tuesday. Due to deadlines a few days after the official "German Reading Day", the author of some children’s books and poetry books had one of his works in his luggage when he visited the "Rappelkiste" – but to put it aside soon and free tell.
Awake eyes, a moving voice, interwoven explanations, lively gestures: that caught the children, who gladly accepted the invitations to speak or to make their own contributions. The former headmaster of a primary school knows how to inspire children. The three- to six-year-olds conjured up the snow with Benjes, which was soon to fall there, and let themselves be carried away World of fairy tale.
The basically mundane story of the underdog, who pulls the jackpot with humility and diligence – it still pulls. When Benjes conjures up the enchanted world full of cats in the heads of the children, demonstrates the “cat washing” and speaks of silver carriage fittings and sparkling crowns, then one’s own enthusiasm leaps out. He had cleverly switched between hands-on poem, the funny and the contemplative – and when after three quarters of an hour when he said goodbye, some tired children plead: "Just one more story, please!"
In conversation, kindergarten director Ina Petersen and author Hein Benjes reveal the importance of reading aloud today.
Ms. Petersen, Mr. Benjes, is still read aloud at home or is it totally out?
Ina Petersen: There are both: families who read aloud and parents, who turn on the ipad. We offer the parents inexpensive literature, which is very well received. And our kindergarten children always bring books with them that they enjoyed reading aloud. Hein Benjes: I have spoken freely throughout my life. When you have learned how beautiful it is as a child, you want to pass it on.
But nowadays you could also fall back on good audio books?
Petersen: You could, and such media have their justification. But it is not the same thing: the closeness, snuggling up – if we read here, you also have 1-2-3 a child on your lap, two on your side, one on your arm -, the interaction: you can also occasionally ask a question. The stories come alive.
Nonetheless, reading aloud is also a form of sprinkling. What skills does it train at all??
Benjes: It’s a basic exercise in attention. The children come out of their other flickering, develop their own images in the head, are stimulated to be more imaginative. The pictures are pre-made on TV. I always advise parents and grandparents with fidgety children: tell me about the past. It is a wonderful bridge between the generations.
Speaking of earlier: when reading aloud, notice differences from earlier?
Petersen: Today is it more difficult. For many classics, children have pre-made images in their heads from films and television. And not so much happens in the "old" stories – much more "action" is required today. Today it is called Knight Coconut instead of Robber Hotzenplotz. But you can also get the children to read aloud – it just takes a little longer to tie them up. Benjes: I was out of elementary school for 25 years and now I’m back in through a Plattdeutsch AG. At first I was very surprised at how the world has changed. The children are more carefree, livelier, but also less respectful. There could also be a clothes rack instead of the teacher. But the old magic tricks still work: telling, moving, doing something. With rush weaving, it was the children from before. At most a little clumsier. And suddenly the old virtues – self-discipline, helping others – are back. Ipads are the big seducers. Up to primary school age, however, they have no business in children’s hands – the children really have to learn to understand again.
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