Storytime is Brain Food


Storytime has the power to uncover children’s natural interests and abilities.

Part V-b:  Storytime is Brain Food

Listening:Errly LiteracyEach individual’s nervous system begins its development according to its own unique built-in strategy.  As babies, we are each born with billions of neurons in our brains.  In early childhood, experiences determine how these neurons connect and organize information.  Throughout life, these neurons form more and more connections.  An individual’s nervous system combined with his or her experiences, results in a uniquely wired brain.  Experiences make the brain grow.  Experiences are brain food.  Storytime is brain food.

A newborn’s brain has hidden areas of ability.  These “intelligences” comes in multiple forms:

  • linguistic
  • logical-mathematical
  • musical
  • spatial
  • bodily-kinesthetic
  • interpersonal
  • intrapersonal
  • natural
  • existential

Some babies have inherent musical abilities.  Others are more spatially intelligent.  Dormant natural abilities exist as rich neural areas in our brains.  For these abilities to become connected and strengthened, they must be stimulated.  Many abilities get turned on and strengthened in childhood (connections are made in the brain’s neural pathways).  When children express or demonstrate abilities, it is the role of parents, teachers and/or caregivers to notice and cultivate them.  If these abilities fail to get stimulated throughout childhood, it’s possible for the neural connections to eventually be pruned.

Storytime Provides Rich New Experiences

Storytime is one of the earliest and most effective ways to light up hidden areas of ability in children.  During storytime children’s brains are stimulated in different sensory ways:

  • They hear spoken language and music.
  • They see colorfully pictured worlds in books.
  • They exercise fine and gross motor skills by doing fingerplays and story stretches.
  • They listen to music and sing.
  • When kids listen to stories, they use their imaginations to fill in the blanks.

The way a child’s brain grows depends on what it experiences.  For young children, storytime is an experience-rich magic carpet ride.  That’s why kid’s brains love storytime!  For more free tips on early childhood brain development, click here.

1Best of luck in your mission to Make Reading More Fun.

I hope you enjoyed this Magic Carpet Handbook.  May you and your passengers have extraordinary adventures!

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story.”C.S. Lewis


Recent Posts

Philadelphia Chickens – an imaginary musical comedy revue (in the form of a picture book)

th-26Infectious showtunes performed by an all-star cast playing original Boynton characters in an imaginary musical revue.

Bibliographic Info:  Boynton, Sandra  Philadelphia Chickens Workman Publishing (2002) 64pp  $16.95  Formats:  Hardcover with CD, ISBN:  978-0761126362  Interest Level: preK-grade 3  Genre: Song, Comedy and Humor  Themes: Music, Animals, Dance

Summary:  Philadelphia Chickens is a songbook with CD that includes 17 1/2 illustrated story-poems by Sandra Boynton.  Composer Michael Ford, who also composed Boynton’s Rhinoceros Tap, transforms these story-poems into original songs performed by many well-known actors, including Patti LuPone, Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Laura Linney, Eric Stoltz and Scott Bakula.

StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1Philadelphia Chickens was given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on May 8th, 2015 and has been selected for the PictureBookWOW collection at

th-27Review:  Philadelphia Chickens is a wacky, hilarious and toe-tapping musical show in a picture book. The piece is more than a book, it’s an event.  Infectious showtunes are performed by an all-star cast who play original Boynton characters in an imaginary musical revue.  Standout numbers include “Cows”, “Pig Island”, “Snuggle Puppy” and “Be Like a Duck”.  The cast of childlike animal personalities appeal to kids of all ages.  As always, Boynton’s colorful hand-drawn illustrations are full of visually expressive humor and emotion.

Storytime:  th-28 Storytime is a great occassion and opportunity to share Philadelphia Chickens with groups of children.  They will love it.  Choose one story-poem/song to include in your weekly program throughout a Philadelphia Chickens-storytime sing-along series that lasts three months.  In these storytimes, package and introduce the sing-along series and project your chosen story poem’s illustrations and lyrics onto a big screen to create a hilarious, enjoyable, toe-tapping and highly engaging sing-along story group experience.

Awards:  Grammy nominee. #1 New York Times bestseller, Recording Industry Association of America Platinum album.

Read-alikesBlue Moo by Sandra Boynton, Frog Trouble by Sandra Boynton, Dog Train by Sandra Boynton, Rhinocerous Tap by Sandra Boynton,

Links:  author’s website, Amazon

Bio (from  Sandra Boynton is a popular American cartoonist, children’s author, songwriter, producer, and director. Since 1974, Boynton has written and illustrated over fifty children’s books and seven general audience books, including five New York Times Bestsellers. More than 60 million of her books have been sold–“mostly to friends and family,” she says. She has also written (with Michael Ford) and produced five albums of renegade children’s music. Three of her five albums have been certified Gold [over 500,000 copies sold] and “Philadelphia Chickens,” nominated for a Grammy, has been certified Platinum [over 1 million copies sold.] Boynton has also directed six music videos of her songs, including the award-winning “One Shoe Blues” starring B B King. She lives in rural New England, and her studio is in a barn with perhaps the only hippopotamus weathervane in America.

Reviews:  Common Sense Media, Goodreads

I chose to review this musical in a picture book because it’s full of Sandra Boynton’s unique brand of humor and comedic characters.  And moreover, storytime deserves more showstoppers.

3Make Reading More Fun

Written by Tom Schween

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