This course is about using stories to develop your child's moral imagination. The course teaches you how to select books for reading to children of all ages. The course includes information demonstrating what to look for in children's books through 5 recorded lectures. Additionally, you will learn how to discover the values contained in books under review.
Links are provided to supplement the learning gained in this course. A handout which can be downloaded and printed out provides a quick checklist when previewing books and stories.
A short online quiz is given at the end of the course to check your knowledge about books and the values they contain. This course contains 1 hour of instruction.
The course is structured in video presentation and supplemental reading materials. Taking this course: (1) builds your understanding of how to select appropriate books for your children; (2) helps you to discover and select books with specific values as part of your overall moral development program; and (3) gives suggestions for using storytelling activities to develop moral character in your children.
Questions on the educational materials can be sent throughout the course by using the links provided.
Lecture 1: Introduction & Preview
Hello! I’m Dr. Mary Buck your instructor for this course. I’d like to tell you a little about myself and my background in storytelling and moral development.
Reading has always been a part of my life. Like most children, I began reading at a young age. My favorite stories were fairytales and small books about animals like “Black Beauty” and “Bambi.” In high school, I read books of fiction like “Oliver Twist,” “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Wuthering Heights.”
As I completed my Doctorate in Religious Education and then a PhD in Communication, I realized that the books I had read as a youngster attracted me because they spoke about values like courage, love, inner strength, and acceptance. I also learned that some books were better at transmitting values than others. And that is what this course is about—I want you to learn how to select the best books based on values and not just colorful images!
This course will show you how to select books as part of your program to develop the moral character of your children as good citizens. You will learn how to preview a book not only for its reading worthiness but more importantly for the underlying values it contains. You’ll also learn about books for different age groups. And finally you will be introduced to the language of images or what many educators call—visual literacy.
I think you will enjoy this class as a parent, your child’s first teacher, and perhaps more importantly as the moral leader of your home.
Dr. Mary L. Buck
Founder and Executive director
The Children’s Storytelling & Family Literacy Corporation
-Stories which change the heart for life-
Here’s a link that you may find very interesting and motivating! It’s entitled: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who talks about his values posted on YouTube.
Bookstores, libraries and online free books sites offer hundreds of children's books from which to choose. But how do you know which is the best book for your youngster?
3. You will recall the components of a message (e.g. sender, receiver, encoding, decoding, etc.)
4. You will complete Lecture Two Assignment tasks (e.g. do research and report on websites offering trusted book services such as:
5. You will create a Book Selection List of stories which are aligned with your family values chart.
6. And you will complete a personal Self Evaluation sheet to let you know how you are doing.
Remember, it is your job as the parent to role model and instill a moral foundation for your children. Or, as a wise man once said "Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost."
Welcome to Lecture 3: Introduction to the Power of Images.
The old adage: One picture is worth a thousand words remains true today. And some experts in the field of advertising believe that we are bombarded by upwards of 5000 images a day! Images have the power to affect how we feel and what we think.
In this lecture, Lecture 3, we are going to look at the images contained in a book. We will think about questions like: What makes images important? And, does it really matter what images accompany the text?
To begin to understand what makes images important, workshop activities for this lecture will have you:
1. Do a web search using keywords: visual literacy. Review 3 websites on visual literacy.
2. Write your own definition of visual literacy and what it means to you.
3. Give a sample of an image from one of the books you selected and describe an image from the book-- what you see and what it means to you.
By the end of this lecture, you will gain a basic understanding of the power of an image to influence and some of the current thoughts on visual literacy.
Welcome to Lecture 4! In this lecture: Moral Perspective, we are going to be drawing on your life experiences as well as developing your ability to select and offer appropriate stories to read to your child.
According to dictionary.com, the development of moral perspective or education is those activities, like reading stories to our children, which are ‘concerned with the principles or rules of rights and wrongs” …
In activity #1 we'll start with a very general definition of moral perspective which can be as simple as “do the right thing” or as complex as the laws, customs and traditions governing the everyday activities like that of ancient peoples described in the Bible.
The great thing about children’s stories and fables, whether you believe in a golden rule or many rules. Using the imagination, these stories allow your child a way of experiencing values with both positive and negative outcomes. Stories provide a safe way of testing out how a value works within an imaginary culture, like a barnyard, or forest, or in faraway lands. And, this testing out is one way to develop your child’s sense of right and wrong or moral perspective.
Perhaps, more importantly, children’s stories allow you to lead your child through the challenges, temptations, and encounters of imaginary characters in an imaginary life all the while at their side; teaching them how to face dangers and avoid life’s hazards; emphasizing and encouraging an outcome toward being the very best person they can be.
In this lecture, Moral Perspective: You will research and gain a general understanding of the relationship between moral imagination and moral education; you'll discover the importance of positioning yourself as a lead role in your child’s moral development; you'll advance your ability to select and prepare stories which contain your core family values to read to your child. And, you'll decode the images and text contained in your selected story.
Summary and Conclusion
Let's summarize what you've learned in this course "Stories of Value."
You’ll recall that in Lecture 1 you identified those values which you treasure greatly. Then in lectures 2 and 3, you discovered that what makes a story so powerful is that it creates a readiness in the heart of the listener. You realized that there is a simple process of choosing stories with values to read to your children--preview and select. In lecture 4, you researched the term moral perspective, wrote your own; and saw a demonstration on how to "read" an image.
Most importantly, you gained an initial grasp of understanding the power of text and image to communicate a message. You selected an image from one of your books and told us how you understood its meaning. Good job!
But before we say goodbye and close this course of study--
I am going to ask you to do one last homework assignment. I want you to take the values chart and look it over one more time. I want you to select 7 of the values that seem to "jump off the paper" or catch your attention--and write them down on a separate piece of paper.
Using a free online dictionary such as dictionaryBoss or Miriam Webster dictionary, look up each of the words; write down the definition. Then use the thesaurus feature and look at the words that are similar to the value you selected. Write those words down underneath the selected value.
And finally, start using these words as you and your child begin to talk about shaping your child's heart with strong values. You are now laying the foundation for a storehouse of personal wealth for you and your family.
Mary L. Buck, PhD --Founder and Executive Director
The Children's Storytelling & Family Literacy Corp
-Stories which shape the heart for life-
Talk Radio Show Host: The Rabbit's Hole
Emory & Henry College WEHC 90.7 FM
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Ph.D. Communication. Regent University (2009). School of Communication & the Arts. Dissertation: A qualitative study of four Christian women and value development over their life span.
Doctorate in Religious Education, Friends International University, (2004). Development of educational programs.
M. A. Education with certificate in Educational Technology. California State Polytechnic University (1995). College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Thesis: A quantitative study of the impact of visual on decision-making. Awarded outstanding Master's Thesis.
B. S. Communication, California State Polytechnic University (1993). College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Outstanding Student Award; Honors: magna cum laudeExperience
• Founder & Executive director, The Children’s Storytelling and Family Literacy Corporation. 501c3 for public benefit
2007 - present
• Radio talk show host "The Rabbit Hole" a weekly show which explores children’s stories and examines the values they present and the meaning they have in our lives.
2012 - present
• Classroom management and teaching experience, instructional materials augmented with online delivery
1995 - 2006
• Volunteer communication media specialist
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