Our children grow up into a world of stories—in books, on screens—but what do they make of the stories we offer them? What do they think and feel as they listen to a parent read a picture-book? What if a story confuses or upsets them?
Over the past fifty years, several intelligent, committed mothers undertook the onerous task of recording exactly what their children said and did in response to the stories they shared. Some of their records extended over five years, or even longer. Their research, done without funding or academic supervision, offers us unparalleled insight into children’s minds long before they learn to speak—let alone learn to read.
In Self and Story in Early Childhood, Hugh Crago draws on his unusual combination of expertise in literary studies, developmental psychology and psychotherapy to re-examine the startling implications of this neglected body of evidence. He highlights how much children can achieve without formal teaching, but with the supportive presence of a trusted adult who will participate with them in the story experience.
This book will be of great interest to scholars of developmental psychology, early literacy and narratology, as well as to professionals working with preschoolers. Most of all, it will fascinate parents who themselves share stories with their child.