Dec. 24, 2020
Because of the pandemic, a lot of us teachers are starting the year off in complicated settings. Settings
Do you remember asking your parents or other family members to tell you a story when you were younger? I sure do! I know my parents can still hear the echo of my whiney plea: “Tell me a story!” That said, the memories created when my family relented and told me real stories about their past, or made-up stories about the future, are among my favorites!
Historians trace storytelling back more than 30,000 years, where even in the earliest civilizations, groups of people would gather to tell oral stories passed down as mythology, cultural beliefs, or family memories. The storyteller and the listeners were physically close, developing a connection to one another through the communal experience. Storytellers reveal and share themselves through their telling, and listeners reveal and share themselves through their reception of the story (Carlson, 2009).
As you share stories with your child, you are supporting the development of vital language skills: listening, vocabulary, expressive language (the use of words, sentences, and writing to convey meaning) and receptive language (the ability to understand language). Strong language skills are essential for children’s success in school and life (Hart & Risley, 2003; Heath & Hogben, 2004; Jalongo, 2008; Kalmer, 2008). You can also boost social emotional learning by how you tell the stories.
Take Turns & Expand the Experience
Oral storytelling provides a rich opportunity for groups of people to reminisce, share cultural folktales, exchange narratives, or create new stories. Storytelling not only enhances developmental skills, but it also creates incredible bonding experiences!
Storytelling connects our past to our present and connects us to one another. Though the days might be busier than they were for our ancestors 30,000 years ago, you, your child, and your family will reap the rewards when you find time to connect through storytelling.