It’s common to give students stories to read or to allow them to watch stories on television or DVDs. Storytelling, which is one of the oldest, most powerful forms of teaching, offers another great way for children to enjoy stories. In fact, it offers many excellent benefits for preschoolers and school age children.
Benefit #1 – Improves Language Skills
When toddlers and other young children listen to storytellers, they have the chance to hear words presented in a unique way while also hearing speech inflections. School age children have the chance to listen to new words, which can help them to expand their vocabulary. Telling stories to children presents literary devices in a memorable way. Children have the chance to hear plot building, conflict, climax, characterization, and more.
Benefit #2 – Boosts Memory
Since storytelling doesn’t use the addition of illustrations or books, children need to remember character names and key plot points. This helps to exercise the memory skills of children. Teachers can build on this benefit by taking the time to ask questions about the story during and after the story, further engaging memory skills in preschoolers and older children.
Benefit #3 – Develops Creative Thinking and Imagination
Telling children stories without visual aids helps to develop creative thinking and imagination. Children have to tap into their imagination, providing their own images to the story. Creativity is an important skill, and teachers can build on this skill by having children draw pictures of characters or settings after telling a story.
Benefit #4 – Enhances Cultural Understanding
Storytelling also helps to enhance cultural understanding, since stories give children the chance to explore their own and other cultures. When hearing stories, children learn o empathize with unfamiliar situations, places, and peoples. Stories also have the ability to learn more about different values, traditions, and life experiences through stories.
Telling children stories also offers many other benefits, such as:
- Increasing enthusiasm for reading
- Enhancing community among children
- Improving listening skills
- Encourages writing, since school age children will want to write their own stories
- Keeps children engaged in learning
- Encourages purposeful talking and discussion
Of course, while storytelling offers many benefits, it’s important for teachers to choose the right stories for young children. Teachers should choose stories that teach lessons and skills, and it’s important to come up with stories that will make children think and discuss. To increase the benefits of telling stories, teachers also need to take the time to come up with questions and activities that will maximize the benefits that come with introducing storytelling into the classroom.