The Magic of Reading

“The Magic of Reading” is an informative and entertaining video on the value of reading Teaching-Stories to children. It includes a presentation of The Boy Without a Name.

The Magic of Reading is not only beautifully made, it is rich with information for parents who will be reading to their children. The authentic scenarios of parents interacting with their children as they read together, are excellent demonstrations of good reading practice. Teachers can use this wonderful video for parent meetings.” —Diane Ansari, Director RESA VIII Head Start, Martinsburg, WV

Tahir Shah, author, journalist and documentary filmmaker relates how growing up with Hoopoe stories and other Teaching-Stories told by his father, Idries Shah, gave him and his sisters an extraordinary tool for understanding the world.
Watch Tahir’s videos Children’s stories as instruction manuals to the world and Stories as an ancient psychological framework.

Mother son reading together
Mother and daughter reading together
Mother and son reading together
“The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.”
—National Commission on Reading, 1985

Educators and psychologists all recognize how critically important the early years are for our children.  The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to read to their children every day, starting at birth. From the very beginning of life children watch and learn. Gradually by imitation their experiences and their cognitive development grow as they begin to understand their world and the language(s) around them.

Parents and caregivers are their children’s first and most important teachers. Because 90% of a child’s brain growth takes place in the first three years of life, the role that parents and families play by talking and reading with their children will set the stage for their academic progress.  The U.S. National Center for Family Literacy studies have shown that being read to as a child and having books in the home are the two most important indicators of future academic success. They found that 4th graders with 25 books or more at home had higher scores on national reading tests than children who didn’t have that many books.

A recent study of the brain activity in 19 children aged 3 to 5 years revealed that preschoolers whose parents read to them regularly show more activity in key areas of their brains. Particularly the difference was seen in a brain region involved in so-called semantic processing — the ability to extract meaning from words. There was “particularly robust” activity, the researchers said, in areas where mental images are formed from what is heard.

Developing a reading habit at home is invaluable: even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year. By exposing our children to quality reading material, such as the books published by Hoopoe, we will increase their vocabulary, and their enthusiasm for reading and learning throughout their lives.

Hoopoe traditional stories belong to an ancient tradition when stories were told to young and old alike. A story can help children deal with difficult situations and give them something to hold onto. The very same story can, at the same time, stimulate a deeper understanding as they become adults. In addition these stories give children the opportunity to learn about other cultures and begin to understand what we share and what we can learn from each other. They can help our children understand human nature and encourage qualities such as self-reliance, the ability to overcome irrational fears, peaceful negotiation rather than violent confrontation, and much, much more.

Girl reading The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah
Boy reading The Stranger's Farewell
Teenager reading The Magic Horse
Teenager reading Fatima the Spinner and the Tent

We are building our list of books for older reading levels, currently we have 4 beautifully illustrated traditional tales:

Teenager reading Me and My Feelings
Teenage girl reading What We See And Don't See
Boy reading Me and My Memory
Boy reading Me and My Memory

Our ALL ABOUT ME series is specifically written for adolescents and ideal for young men and women (ages 12 to 21) who want to understand the changes they are going through, and how we all, as human beings, work. The books are both entertaining and packed with up-to-date scientific information that will help young people understand what’s going on in their brains and bodies. For example, what psychologists know about how we see, think, and feel, how these abilities work, how they change, grow or get stuck and how reliable they are as we try to make sense of ourselves, our friends, our relatives and the world around us. Jeff Jackson’s cartoons add to the enjoyment and, at the same time, help readers remember many of the salient points. The titles in this series are:

DENDE MARO: The Golden Prince is an original and beautiful tale about how human beings came to learn and develop their arts, language and mathematics, and their ability to settle all over the world—to remake the world. The journey that made us human.

Inspired by the ancient rock art of Africa, Sally Mallam illustrates this journey by rearranging and coloring “digital collages” of these original images, recorded in the early to mid-20th century.

“Dende Maro: The Golden Prince is a wondrous book for children ages 5 and up. … A delightful and panoramic picturebook reflecting the mystique of Africa’s ancient treasures, Dende Maro is highly recommended for parents to share with children during storytime or bedtime.”—Midwest Book Review

Click here for more on Dende Maro including a preview of some pages.

These free downloadable manuals give each stories’ background and tips for reading and sharing them with your children. The manuals also suggest one or two activities associated with each tale that can help children improve their literacy skills while they make each story their own.

Step-by-step instructions show how to make paper-bag and finger puppets of the characters for retelling the story with your child. This section also includes tips on reading each book with your child and other fun activities relating to the story.

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