Storytelling and Literacy
Storytelling is a great way to work on language and literacy skills with children. No matter how young or old your child is, storytelling will provide opportunities for him to develop and build upon several important areas of language and literacy skills such as listening, comprehension, verbal expression, and reasoning skills.
From a very early age, children learn new words and pick up on the basic structures of the language(s) they hear around them. Reading books and/or telling a story is a fun, creative way to work on vocabulary, grammar, social skills, reading, and writing.
Here are some ideas on how you can incorporate storytelling into your family life:
With young children (2-4 years old)
Create a story while engaged in imaginative play. If your child loves to make birthday cakes, help them stretch their imagination by putting on a birthday party, inviting guests into your home, singing “Happy Birthday”, opening gifts, and then saying “Goodbye” to all the guests. You can later help your child tell someone else, like an older sibling or parent, about the story you created.
Create a story based on a book. Read through a book and then use that storyline to inspire your child to create his/her own story. You can act it out or write and illustrate a homemade book.
With older children (5+ years old)
Have your child read a story and then retell it. Ask simple Wh-Questions to help them focus on key information. For example, Who questions prompt them to think about the characters of the story. What questions help them recognize the storyline or the events that are happening in the story. When questions help them gain an understanding of the structure of the story, the beginning, middle and end. Where questions lead them to identify the setting of the story. Why questions prompt them to think about the consequences of the story. How questions encourage them to identify their own reactions or feelings about the story.
Create a story about a real-life adventure. After a fun outing at a park or museum, help your child create a story about their day that they can share with a parent, sibling, or friend.
Act out books. As your child reads a story aloud, act it out. Encourage your child to be the “Producer” who orchestrates the show.
However you engage in storytelling with your child, remember to make it fun and don’t be afraid to act silly. Fun propels learning!