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Where the Wild Things Are and the Fun Theory

You can help your children learn public speaking skills

Part 1 of 2


I first understood the power of storytelling early in my career when I was an actor in a small children’s reader’s theater company called the Peanut Butter Readers. Our small troupe toured in schools and libraries throughout New England and Canada dramatizing classical and modern stories. One of our favorites was Where the Wild Things Are. I have a long history with this enchanting story and I’m looking forward to seeing it on the big screen this weekend.


As actors and teachers, we believed that children from pre-school to high school would be more engaged in the learning process if their teachers used oral interpretation and other theatre techniques to enhance the reading curriculum. We wanted to help them bring their nursery rhymes, poems and stories to life. And we had a great formula for doing so. First the students watched us perform (and we always brought their teachers on stage) and then we held workshops for the student body where everyone got involved. By teaching theater games and performance techniques we watched every child become engaged and fall in love with literature. The trick was to make sure that they all had fun in the process of learning.


A New Fun Theory

Research tells us (and I learned this lesson as a Peanut Butter Reader) that learning occurs most effectively when people are invited to tap into their natural curiosity, engage their bodies and minds in the learning process and share the experience with others. The big message here is that it’s a lot easier to change behavior and master a new skill (like public speaking) when the change is not only painless but also enjoyable.


An example of this idea landed in my inbox yesterday! This short clip about the “piano stairs” shows how people are willing to do something new when the invitation to change is made interesting and appealing. Take a quick 90 seconds to watch it now.


Use the Fun Theory to Help Your Child Learn Public Speaking Skills

There are innumerable benefits to teaching public speaking skills to young children. Public speaking skills boost your child’s confidence and prepare them for school presentations and real world applications. Fortunately, children learn public speaking quickly – they don’t yet know to be fearful of it and they readily accept that public speaking is just another way we communicate.


When it comes to learning public speaking skills, your child looks to you as their best teacher. How you teach them is up to you: you can take them for a dull ride on the escalator or together you can climb the musical staircase.


By being a role model, enthusiastic supporter and gentle task master you can teach your child to communicate effectively—and have fun in the process. And as your child watches and listens to your words and animated stories, they will mimic and adopt the skills you use. So always remember that every interaction you have is an opportunity for your child to become a confident and competent communicator, whether you’re retelling the events of your day over dinner or tucking them in with a favorite bedtime story.


If you want to brush up on your storytelling skills, or sign up for our next e-newsletter, which will be filled with storytelling tips. You’ll discover how to engage children and adults alike with the power of stories. Don’t miss out – and that’s no tall tale.


Win a $25 Fandango gift card to see Where The Wild Things Are. Enter by sending an email to [email protected]. One winner will be selected at random. Please, only one entry per person. Good luck!


 *UPDATE: Congratulations to Genie Gratto, winner of our giveaway. Genie is the Communications Director at Public Health Law & Policy (PHLP), a company that partners with advocates and decision-makers to help create healthier communities. Stay tuned to the DeFinis Communications blog for our next freebie!

October 16th, 2009 | Permalink | Trackback | Bookmark and Share

5 Responses to Where the Wild Things Are and the Fun Theory

  1. Sara

    I love acting and used to take classes when i was younger…unfortunatley for me i was’nt much good though lol, I don’t have any children yet but I can certainly see the sense in what your saying…great post and something to keep in mind for the future!

  2. Angela DeFinis

    Thank you for your comment, Sara. Part 2 is on the way — more tips for helping children learn public speaking skills that you can hold onto for when you have your own children. I bet you’ll be a great “drama coach” to your kids since you loved taking acting classes.

  3. DeFinis Communications » Blog Archive » A Pint Size Plan to Help Your Kids Study Public Speaking Skills

    [...] Where the Wild Things Are and the Fun Theory [...]

  4. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by AngelaDeFinis: Giveaway: Free tickets to Where the Wild Things Are! (new DFCI blog post)…

  5. Tim Ackerman

    Great and informative article!

    I agree we can have different attacks or strategies to make public speaking more fun and appealing to kids.

    Developing their communication skills can be a great help for them to improve their whole being and of course their interpersonal relationship to others.

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