Fictional stories are used in both schools and at home to pique children’s interest and transport their imaginations into other worlds and adventures. While most children relish the chance to read books independently from a variety of genres, they also enjoy listening to the careful weaving of plots and intrigue delivered by a seasoned storyteller.
Storytellers can help to bring a tale to life using a number of different voices, props and their general enthusiasm for the written word. Storytelling has the ability to fully engage children and there are a number of ways that story telling can enhance children’s written work and ability to think creatively. Here a just a few:
Listening to a story helps children create mental pictures
As children listen to their favourite tales during story time or just before going to bed, they are constantly creating mental images of characters and settings. When children come to write their own stories these visualisation skills will aid their thinking process, creating a bank of ideas that should be translated into their written work.
Storytelling will encourage the use of the speech
Using direct and reported speech helps to bring a story to life and as children hear a story being told they may be able to use similar dialogue in their work. They may also gain a better understanding of the flow of speech and when it is best to insert dialogue into their work.
Vocabulary may be widened as a result of storytelling
Former Ofsted inspector and government consultant Pie Corbett argues that children’s vocabulary can be enhanced by utilising the ‘Magpie’ language used by a range of authors. As children listen to stories they will be able to take note of precise vocabulary and literary devices, such as cliff-hangers, that they can use in their own work.
According to the British Council, storytelling can have the following benefits:
- Promote a feeling of well-being and relaxation
- Increase children’s willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings
- Encourage active participation
- Increase verbal proficiency
- Encourage use of imagination and creativity
- Encourage cooperation between students
- Enhance listening skills