Yesterday I had the pleasure of reading aloud to the members of Mr. D's kindergarten class. They're concentrating on Irish literature in these days leading up to St. Patrick's day, and we have a terrific version of the creation of the Giant's Causeway in one of our favorite books, so I emailed Mr. D's teacher Ms. Fabulous and volunteered my services. I had a terrific time, and I think the kids did, too.
But what amazed me was the brief exchange before the storytelling started. "This story is a legend," I began. "What can you tell me about what you already know about legends?"
T (with his usual sweet smile): They start out as true.
Me: That's right; most legends start out at least partially as a true story.
N (her little hand raised high): And they get told and retold.
Me: Absolutely. Most legends got started before books existed, so people telling the stories is what kept them alive. Yes, L?
L (possibly concerned about the extent of his commitment): Legends are looonnnng.
Me: I think that's right! Because every time a new person told the story, they maybe thought of one more cool thing to add. Sometimes legends get really long. One last thing, Mr. D?
My own boy: So when you hear a legend now, it's hard to know which part is true and which part is made up.
Me: Okay, let's listen to this story and see what we think!
How COOL is that? These small people totally NAILED the definition of a legend. At the end of reading the story, I gave them all a printout of one of these modern-day pictures of the Causeway's remnants.
And then Ms. Fabulous held the microphone for Mr. D as he read HIS latest story: