K & Y Cools Storytelling Sessions

K & Y Cools is a mother duo who have launched a story-telling program and will provide story-telling services at events and sessions at the request of schools and other organizations. Below is the Yomiuri Shimbun feature that highlighted the duo’s unique efforts. 

Duo teaches kids about beauty of Japanese

Seiji Hasegawa Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

Two freelance announcers have launched a program to help children get a sense of the depth and beauty of the Japanese language through sessions in which they read stories or plays aloud.

The sessions, led by Kyoko Terasawa and Yuka Horiuchi, have been called vivid and inspirational, feelings that are enhanced by the accompanying music. The duo, hailing from Yokohama and Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, respectively, have dubbed themselves “K & Y Cools.”

At one of their events, held at Kakezuka Primary School in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, the duo–both mothers–had the 26 second graders recite the Japanese syllabary in unison: “A, ka, sa, ta, na…” The children were then led in a recitation of “dareka ga dokoka de waratteru” (somebody is laughing somewhere), a tongue-twister used as a warm-up.

Following the exercises, the pair divided the kids into two groups and had them alternate in reading the sentences aloud. The most important thing at this point was for the children to stress phrases such as “is laughing.” The children immediately began feeding off each other, as if it were a game.

When the two women began reading aloud from a book called Gamanda, Gamanda, Unchitchi, the story of a boy who struggles to withstand an urge to go to the bathroom, the children couldn’t help but laugh. Perhaps it was because they could identify with the boy’s ordeal.

The two then switched to poetry before moving on to a story. The book to be acted out for the day was Uta-dokei (singing clock), written by Nankichi Niimi (1913-1943), a young writer who is remembered for his story Gongitsune (Gon the fox).

The story, written during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), is about childhood innocence. The reading lasted for 15 minutes, but the children sat enthralled by the story, which the two read with clear pronunciation and speech, accompanied by a music box, a major component of the story.

“I tried to be very expressive when I was reading. The story becomes more alive when we each take roles. We also want mothers to feel the beauty of the Japanese language.” Terasawa said.

“You can experience in the world of a story what you cannot experience in real life,” said Horiuchi. “I want children to be interested in the world of books, where there are no boundaries, and use [what children get from reading experience] when they face hardships in real life.”

K & Y Cools’ story-telling sessions are provided at the request of schools and other organizations. They said they chose books with beautifully written Japanese language worthy of repeated reading as appropriate for their target audience.

(Apr. 17, 2008)

Source: Daily Yomiuri

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