Johnny Appleseed's Birthday
Let's celebrate one of our favorite folk heroes
Most of us know the legend of Johnny Appleseed, but do we fully understand why teaching our children folklore is important? It’s entertaining to hear stories about a silly man who traveled the countryside without shoes and wearing a pot on his head. We even have songs to tell the tale! But let’s examine what our littlest learners can gain from this.
Folktales are stories that are passed down from generation to generation. Stories were told of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, usually in an exaggerated way. It was a wonderful way for elders to pass down their culture and traditions. The themes were about common human values and signified the universal characteristics of mankind.
As these tales were written down, the same colorful and engaging language was used. That made these tales natural beginning books for early readers. Most of the time, children are familiar with the story and the language is simple and descriptive. This helps to build confidence in reading skills.
So, as we hear the tale of Johnny Appleseed again this year, maybe the songs you learned as a child will come to mind. Teach those songs to your child and the folktale will live on. Picture the barefoot man with a pot on his head planting apple seeds throughout the countryside. Describe it to your child and ask questions about what parts of the folktale they think are real and what was exaggerated. Most important, enjoy a classic folktale with your child!
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