School-going children of today are hit with big social concepts that most parents haven’t had to think about until later in life. For example, how can we help our communities? What are the ways to live more sustainably? 

If you are wondering how best to impart these lessons to your little ones, take a breath and simply dig into the classic tale The Little Red Hen. 

In the third episode of the podcast series Book Monsters – Bedtime Stories, Kiss92’s Angelique Teo came together with EtonHouse Community Fund Volunteer and E-Bridge teacher Carmela to discuss the teachable moments we can seize from the story and how to make them come alive. The podcast is supported by the Singapore Women’s Weekly.

Hear Angelique’s reading of The Little Red Hen:

The Little Red Hen tells of a busy mother hen that made a loaf of bread from wheat that it planted, harvested and milled all by herself, after the other farm animals refused to lend a hand. The hen eventually decided to enjoy the bread all by herself.

Teachable moments (15:42 to 16:38)

While many children’s stories impart moral lessons, The Little Red Hen stands out for the way it highlights the importance of hard work and tenacity and how the hen leads by example, says Carmela. 

There are also organic ways to start a dialogue with the children. “For example, you can say, ‘Do you think the little red hen should share the bread with others even though they didn’t help her make it?’,” Carmela adds. 

Older children may also be led to reflect on topics like active citizenry (such as how to be a contributing member of society) or even branch out into how growing our own food helps in environmental sustainability. 

Invite participation (09:17 to 09:59)

Anyone who’s ever read to little kids know just how eager they can be to contribute to the story or in asking questions. The Little Red Hen is the perfect story for your audience to chime in.

There are lots of opportunities to invite children to participate in actions described in the story, like cutting the wheat and grinding the wheat. “For many children in Singapore, these are new words and actions,” says Carmela.

But it doesn’t end there. You can also introduce the life cycle of wheat, from seed to bread. This can even spur your little one to embark on his own research. 

Keep it light-hearted (17:09 to 17:32)

There are many ways to make these lessons from the story animated and even goofy, from changing up your voice for different characters to adjusting the pace of your reading to convey the mood and using actions to demonstrate a point. 

But you don’t have to worry about how you sound or look. Says Carmela, “Just be yourself and have fun. That’s the most important thing.”

You can catch new episodes of the podcat series Book Monsters – Bedtime Stories every Thursday on Google Podcasts, Spotify or Awedio.