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The Magic of Stories and How to Use them in Family Life

Cindy Ford is a mother of 8. She grew up in a family culture that emphasized reading and she carried that on with her own kids.

She is a first time author of The Magic Jelly Bean Story. In this episode, she talks about story telling, games and creativity in family life.

Read and Sing to Kids

Cindy started reading to the kids when they were very little because she had read that it was helpful.

She started reading and singing very young, and her kids were able to read before they went to school.

A Family Legacy of Reading

In her family, they were avid readers for generations.

Her grandmother wrote several books. The last of those she wrote when she was 92 years old.

Her family read all the time.

She learned games from her family where they would write stories.

In one of these, you write a story, then fold it over, so that only the last line can be seen. Then the next person adds on to that story.

She and her sister would make up new lyrics to songs they knew.

Her grandmother also was poet so she had that ingrained in her and wrote poetry as well.

Carrying on the Tradition

Their family went without TV for many years so that the kids had more time to be creative.

She told stories at night sometimes. She especially remembers telling stories at night in the tent while we were camping.

The Magic Jelly Bean Story

The Jelly Bean story was created on a camping trip. The kids liked it because it opened up everyone’s imagination because anything can happen.

The Jelly Bean Story is about a boy that takes a walk in the wood and finds a jar of jelly beans.

He’s excited and he starts sampling them.

When he eats the first one, he turns into a bird and has some adventures.

Then he realizes that hey are magical jelly beans. The rest of his family gets involved.

"When I would tell it," says Cindy, "it would change every time. A different color would make a different thing happen."

"The grandkids enjoy this story now too. I let them choose the jellybean color and what happens."

"The young ones love to pick the color and decide what happens. Sometimes they will turn into something funny like a bed."

"They sometimes want to do this over and over! Some of the older kids get a little carried away and they get stuck on things that they think are funny, like turning into a toilet."

"Kids really seem to enjoy the idea that they get to decide what happens. It gives them that power and that ability to do magic."

Stories Connect People

Reading is a tradition in the Ford family.

Stories connect people. Having a shared story is important to a family culture.

That’s how people passed down their family history in past generations.

Stories help people understand themselves better. Being able to make up a story helps you understand more about yourself.

Stories connect us to what’s gone before and they help us have a sense of belonging.

Telling a story can connect us as we pass along and keep the tradition going. Stories also connect us by letting us know things that we wouldn’t know otherwise.

Stories help kids understand themselves. They have a more limited experience so when they read these things in stories, they understand some of the feelings and emotions they learn about. Stories help children understand who they want to be and who they are.

Reading Opens the World to a Child

Reading opens up so much to a person.

It opens the whole world to a child when you read. Reading broadens your horizons and helps you in every way.

One way that our family made sure that we read a little bit every day was reading the scriptures every day as a family.

We would all take turns reading. Even the little ones that couldn’t read, would repeat word for word what was in the book.

The kids learned big words from that that were well above their normal reading level.

In school, there was assigned daily reading. The older kids would help the younger kids if she was busy. Sometimes we would read a chapter book aloud together, a little bit every night.

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