Friday, August 13, 2004

Math Stories

There's an interesting item on Science Blog (via Geek Press) about a possible link between preschoolers' storytelling ability and their math skills later in life.

The report covers a study of 3 and 4 year olds by the University of Waterloo. The kids were given a picture book and asked to make-up a corresponding story. A few years later they were given a series of tests to gauge academic performance in various areas.

Developmental Psychology Professor Daniela O'Neill concluded that:
...there's an intriguing possibility that providing children with experience with storytelling may later enhance their ability to tackle problems in the mathematical arena.... It is also a nice finding, I think, because storytelling is something every parent can easily do and foster with their children, without the need to buy any fancy toys or materials.

I found the report encouraging, as our daughter, who will be starting preschool in a few weeks, has quite the imagination and loves telling stories. Granted, most of her stories are simple re-enactments of scenes from Dora the Explorer, but she shows some creative flare as well.

My wife and I both enjoy reading stories to our kids. We frequently make up the stories on the fly when the printed words aren't to our liking (or are just too long to finish before bedtime). One problem... our kids have better memories than we do, and occasionally they take exception to our improvisations (or when my ad libs doesn't match my wife's).

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