Magical, Meaningful Story Times

by | Apr 17, 2022 | Articles, Inspirations

Meaningful Story Times

Why do children need stories?

I am sometimes surprised at the rapt attention of children as a picture book is opened and the storyteller begins to read. If the book is small, or if it is shared in a room with dim lighting, I wonder whether children can even see the book’s beautiful illustrations. Are they gaining the visual clues they need to understand the story’s words and ideas?

And yet, the children quietly await the next sentence, the next turn of the page with eyes transfixed on the book. At times like these, I know the children have entered a place of magic or mystery.

We are storytelling creatures, and as children we acquire language to tell those stories that we have inside us.

 – Jerome Bruner

Jerome Bruner – a highly respected psychologist in North America and influencer of children’s early learning – recognized that humans of all ages have stories within us. Telling our everyday stories enable us to share ourselves with others. Real and imagined stories give us a way stretch our thinking and reach for possibilities. As educators and parents, we know that stories are invaluable in helping children acquire new vocabulary, but Bruner reminds us that the purpose of words is to express who we are and who we are becoming. Stories elevate words from definitions to wonder. They give children a playground for thinking and growing their understandings and beliefs about themselves, others, and their connections to the world.

In Engaging Children in the Story, educational consultant Susan Josephs describes how she learned that children need the opportunity to meet a new story with openness to its magic and mystery. In this video Susan offers us different types of questions that educators and parents can ask children about stories to prompt their understanding of specific literacy skills. But, in her view, this should only happen after children have had the chance to imagine themselves inside the life of the story. This is after all, a child’s place of meaning making.

It’s story time!

Hoopoe Books has published many captivating picture books to share with young children.

When asked to read one of them, Susan Josephs picked one of her favourites “The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water”.

So, grab a cup of tea, or cuddle up with a child, and get ready to enjoy this telling of “The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water” read by Susan Josephs.

How can you extend your child’s thinking and learning with this story?

As the educational consultant, Susan Josephs has thought a lot about how educators and parents can deepen children’s experiences with Hoopoe Books’  stories.

In this ‘Lion Story with Guides’ video Susan Josephs describes playful, engaging, and meaningful strategies that she uses with preschoolers, early primary, and English language learners before, during, and after reading The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water.

The one-minute video below offers additional ideas to use with young children at home.

Interested in more ideas and resources?

Find guides for teachers and parent, access to audio and print versions of Hoopoe Books stories, and more at:


Watch our final segment of In Conversation with Susan Josephs as we explore the life-changing power of teaching stories.