Lockdown Day 28 – Storytelling
Thursdays are literacy days where we look at ways in which you can enhance your child’s language skills. This includes both receptive skills (listening and interpreting what has been heard) and expressive skills (communicating verbally and non-verbally, being able to describe, engage in a conversation etc.).
One way to enhance both receptive and expressive skills is to fire up the imagination with storytelling. Children across the world have an innate love of stories as they have the power to create magic and a sense of wonder at the world. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves, our parents, our families, our culture and traditions, and about others.
Do you remember how you felt as a child listening to your parents or grandparents telling stories about their lives? Guaranteed these were better than watching TV or hearing about a fantasy princess in a non-existent castle!
Make some time today (or any day) to snuggle up and tell your children some stories about you as a child, what you did and got up to! Children also like to hear stories about themselves – you should have lots of these at hand!
* STORYTELLING *
There are many ways of telling a story. Today’s post explores how we can get the children involved in telling their own stories, thus developing their imaginations by thinking creatively.
You will need a variety of objects that could be used to tell a story with. It is nice to put them into a special bag or box.
For the purpose of this example, we will use five objects in a bag, but you can vary this depending on the age and stage of the child you are working with.
The outline of the story should also be flexible so that the child can invent her/his own story independently.
This is one example:
Our story bag has a Lego person, a toy horse, toy car, toy airplane and a toy boat.
Explain to the child that you are going to use your imagination to make up a story and the s/he can help you. The objects in the bag are going to help us guide how the story will develop. This is also a good way to help children in understanding the difference between reality and fantasy or imagination.
This is an idea to start you off:
- Start with the Lego person. Ask the child if they would like to name the person. (Annie)
- This story is about an adventure that Annie takes in our lounge. Look at how small Annie is on our space (place Annie next to a chair so that the child can get perspective.)
- Annie is going to explore our lounge with the help of the objects in the bag.
- Invite the child to remove an object from the bag.
- Annie woke up this morning and decided to explore her surroundings. She saddled up her horse and trotted off. Move Annie and the horse from the chair leg to under the table. Perhaps you will find an interesting treasure under the table! Look! Annie found Dad’s lost golf ball!
- Invite the child to remove another object from the bag to continue the story (the plane).
- Annie then decides that she wants to explore ‘up there’. How can Annie travel to the TV cabinet? Yes, perhaps she used the airplane. She let the horse free to wander and find grass to eat, whilst climbing onto the airplane. Once her seatbelt was fastened, the plane ascended into the sky and Annie was on her way to her next exciting adventure! Where do you think she was going? Yes…the TV cabinet! I wonder what she will find there. (Maybe Annie finds a forgotten Easter egg – yum!)
Allow the story to develop in any way that the child takes it! Then invite the child to tell you her/his own story!
Other ways that this could take shape:
- Use a cardboard ’beer crate’ type of box to create a diorama that your story will unfold in – a desert scene, a jungle etc.
- Use underwater creatures to tell a story while in the bath. Older children who understand the idea of symbolism can use common objects to represent the underwater animals – a shampoo bottle can be a whale, the sponge can be a boat etc.
With creative and imaginative stories like these, be spontaneous and follow the child’s lead. The more fun you have together, the more comfortable the child will become in sharing and contributing to ‘what happens next’.
There are many added benefits of storytelling:
- Vocabulary extension
- Expressive language skills
- Receptive language skills
- Development of creativity and the imagination
- Promoting a feeling of well-being and relaxation
- Increasing children’s willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings