Thursday, November 11, 2010
Retell Me a Story
You know what's fun? Knowing
what comes next. You know what
else is fun? Not knowing what
Children with autism usually like
predictability. The world is extra
chaotic if you can't recognize faces
or a piece of string captures your
attention more easily than a friendly
By the time kids start to read for
themselves, they have a repertoire of
the stories that we tell our
kids over and over again (fairy tales)
and know what will happen next when
the title has "Red Riding Hood" "Goldilocks"
"Frog" or "Three Pigs" in the title.
A good retelling may keep closely to
the original and successfully rely on
beautiful illustrations for its appeal.
But many change either or a little or
lot, often to the delight of the child
reader who gets the joke because the
story is so familiar.
So when my child had an assignment
to read a book in an evening, we went
for a retelling of a familiar favorite.
This "Seriously Silly Story" changed
the plot quite a bit, but the touchstones
remained: a girl, a wolf, a riding hood,
a sick grandma, a basket of goodies,
and a woodcutter. It did not bother my
son that the wolf wore the riding hood
and carried the goodies, the girl pretended
to be a sick wolf grandma, and grandma
wolf was the woodcutter.
The book has ample black and white
illustrations and is written at an
elementary friendly level.
Mixing the familiar and the new is
a way to engage readers, and the
mix may be especially helpful for
readers who have challenges learning
the world, and appreciate already
knowing part of the landscape
in fictional new worlds.
Wishing you vast new worlds of
the pleasantly familiar.
Little Red Riding Wolf
by Laurence Anholt