Stories are essential tools for verbal development, social-emotional learning, and character education. Intentional parents can use family movies as a basis for storytelling.
Repeat the story of the movie at bedtime, on a rainy day, or at any quiet time. Let your child correct you if you make a mistake and, better yet, encourage your child to tell you the story. Both of you can invent new adventures for the characters in the movie. The incidents in your stories should explore the themes of the movie.
This one is a Poem:
Once upon a time, there lived a girl who loved to play outside. She’d run and jump, and swing and spin, and always used the slide. Her name was Ann, she had brown eyes, and she lived next to a park. And she was there, rain or shine, from morning until dark.
Ann loved the playground and the garden, but her favorite time was when She reached the green, lush forest edge and visited the “glen”. The glen was where the creatures lived, animals big and small. Some had antlers, some had tails, and Ann, she loved them all.
Ann gave them each a different name, she named the sweet doe “Dawn” She named the big steer “Roger”, and “Sam” was for the fawn. She chose a name for each small squirrel, each owl in each tree And when out of names, she used numbers, starting “1, 2, 3”.
To this special place Ann would bring anyone who would look Until one scary afternoon, when the glen’s ground shook and shook. Rumbling through the peaceful hills, and crashing through the brush Came yellow bulldozers with painted signs that read “Hamilton and Krush”.
Ann ran up to the angry wheels and yelled at them to “stop!” And a big, gruff man with heavy brows said “Move, you little sop!” Ann stood her ground and asked them why they’d shown up here. The man threw her a crumpled paper ball and said “This will make it clear.”
She opened up the paper, unsure what she might find. “NOTICE OF PARK DEMOLTION” it said, and on the bottom it was signed. Ann looked confused and the man said, “We’re tearing it all up, you fool!” My boss is taking all this land to build his condos and a pool!”
Ann ran from the bulldozer, ran from the park, ran straight into the town. She marched into her Town Hall where she slammed the paper down On the desk of the receptionist who listened to her plea, And sent her up the elevator to floor thirty-three.
All day long, Ann talked to people, townsfolk young and old She talked and talked til her voice was gone and the air outside turned cold. Finally someone handed her a sheet that said “Town Hall Petition” And told her to collect 1000 signatures, if she could find that many who’d listen.
Ann ran home and ate her dinner then curled into bed And as she fell asleep, she kept replaying what the man had said. “We’re tearing it up!” She wept. All the park’s creatures would soon be gone. She worried about her animal friends, but was asleep before too long.
The next morning she filled her pockets with pens and set out on her task: To get 1,000 signatures. All she’d have to do was ask! She asked her neighbors and her friends, and their friends’ friends’ neighbors, too. She asked her teachers, and her doctors, and her soccer coach Ms. Sue.
She worked all weekend, from dawn til dusk, getting people to care About this very special park, that some didn’t even know was there. And pretty soon, the town got mad about the park situation, So they told the magazines and the papers and even the local news station.
More and more people added on to Ann’s ever growing list, To save the park, stop the condos, kick ’em out; you get the gist. Finally, Ann counted up the names that filled the petition’s lines Nine hundred ninety-eight… nine hundred ninety-nine.
One short. One short. That was it. And she has asked all of the people. Nobody else in town could sign at all; she’d even had the bell ringer in the steeple. In despair Ann ran to the park, to say goodbye to her sweet glen. She raced through the trees, angry and sad, but she froze right in place when…
A big, gruff man with heavy brows said “Hey, sop. What’s the rush?” He was standing next to his bulldozer that said “Hamilton and Krush”. There was something different about him though, maybe in his voice, Ann said “I got the town to care about this park, and now we don’t have a choice.”
“You’re going to tear it down, I know, I’m one signature short.” And Ann expected him to laugh or tease but all he did was snort. “One signature? Just one?” he asked, “To save this little glen?” He snatched the Petition from her hands then motioned for a pen.
Ann didn’t know what it was he wanted, or if he was being cruel. He smiled. “You’ve changed my mind, you little sop. I was acting like a fool. This place is special, it helps the town and the animals who live there. I quit. My boss can build his condos on the moon for all I care.”
And with a cheer, the man grabbed the pen and added on his name, 1,000 signatures on her list, finished by “Alexander P. Monflame.” They walked to the Town Hall together, followed by a lengthy line Of one person plus the other nine hundred ninety-nine.
They offered the petition, stamps were stamped, and the crowd let out a whoop, The park was saved and on their shoulders Ann was carried back to her stoop. “You did it, sop, you changed it all” Alexander said, “Three cheers for Ann!” “It’s not just me,” Ann said to the crowd, “Try hard and anyone can!”
And to this day, the park remains, with the playground and the slide, With the glen tucked away in the back, the animals safe inside. And a sign out front, built long ago, set among trees gnarled and curled Reads “Ann’s Park”, and underneath, “If You Try, You Can Change The World.”