Jen told me that she knows it is impacting her kids because she sees the shows being played out over and over again in her home. Here is why that is happening from a teacher’s point of view …
A kindergarten teacher who was telling “One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes” to her class for the second time said the mother was very “angry.” The children corrected her: “She was FURIOUS.” The way the children emphasized “furious” made it clear that their first meeting with the word was in the story and it had made a strong impression on them. From listening to stories, and through imitating the story told through play, children develop a richer vocabulary.
The storyteller works with words. The sound of words, the way an author puts words together to form a rhythmic pattern, sounds good to the ear and evokes a physical response from the young child. I would imagine that is no surprise to anyone who has ever held an infant and shared aloud Mother Goose rhymes. The young child responds to the rollicking verses with rhythmic movements of the body. There is a connection between listening to stories and the development of motor ability and language competence.
As children listen to stories being told they create the scenes, the action, and the characters. The ability to visualize and to fantasize is the basis of creative imagination. It also appears to have a positive effect on social and cognitive development. Children with a strong inclination toward imaginative play seem to empathize with other children more readily. Hearing stories gives children practice in visualization which helps to develop their cognitive ability.
The human brain has many remarkable skills, but of its most outstanding is its pattern recognition facility. Filed away in memory, stories provide patterns students can use for comparison with their own experience, even when they are not consciously aware of anything having gone on.