Can your grandchildren learn more from fairytales than realistic books?
In a fascinating report, Deena Weisberg, from the University of Pennsylvania, has been studying how imagination can boost a person’s ability to learn.
In fact, she claims that children can absorb new material much better if it is offered to them in a fairy tale or fanciful method.
The importance of play
Weisberg points out that while many children spend their time playing, that this is more than just having fun.
She says that new research shows that children are more than capable of separating fact from fiction, but prefer to play because it helps them learn better.
Fantasy versus reality
In her study, Deena Weisberg, taught two groups of children new words in a shared book reading program. The children, who came from a wide and varying socio-economic backgrounds, were given new words to learn.
The first group studied realistic stories and the words associated with them. One example was cookbooks. The second group studied words from fantasy books that included dragons and magic.
The children in the second group were faced with more complicated words, which hindered their progress at first.
However, in time they not only caught up, but gained more knowledge than the children in the first group.
Further studies have shown that children learn more about animals from fantasy stories, than they do from fact books, too.
One basis for this, Weisberg reasons is that young children seem to learn better when the information presented to them surprises them, and shakes their belief or assumptions in what they already know.
Another theory is that fantasy type stories are more engaging, and will hold the child’s interest for longer, thus allowing him or her to learn more.
What can grandparents do?
Grandparents can help by providing a wide variety of books for their grandchildren to read.
You might also consider telling a story that involves some fantasy elements if you need to get a point across. You grew up learning how not to behave with Aesop’s tales. Maybe it might be worthwhile sharing them again.
The other important thing grandparents can do is to allow your grandchildren to play. This will help strengthen their imagination, and help them explore their curiosity. As we’ve looked at before, curiosity is one of the corner stones of intelligence.