Young children learn to tell stories by listening to the stories of others. This concept begins in the early years when children learn to develop imaginary play sequences which link events or actions together. Children reproduce familiar life events in pretend play and gradually learn to attach spoken language to these events.
In addition young children learn about story telling when they are introduced to picture books. The pages of the book represent a sequence of events including a beginning, middle, and end. The carer’s spoken description of the events and relevant vocabulary teaches young children how to tell stories and that sharing a story together is enjoyable and fun.
Sharing books with adults and engaging in imaginary play scenarios are key foundation skills for developing story telling in young children.
Enjoy sharing books together, and not just reading the words!
Take turns to talk about the pictures, and have fun guessing what might happen next. If the child knows the story really well ask them to tell the story to someone else – perhaps a toy!
Take photos of key events and days out – these will help the child talk about them with someone else when they return from the trip!
Talk about what you are doing during the day, using sequencing vocabulary such as ‘First we mixed the paint’, ‘Then we painted a big picture’, ‘Last we washed our hands’. Talk about this sequence before you do it, what you’re doing whilst you do it, then recap again after the event.
Babies and toddlers learn to listen to short stories within the early interaction they share with their carers.
Children enjoy listening to familiar stories repeatedly at this age. Children may have a favourite book which they ask the adult to read or retell frequently. They will now be beginning to enjoy imaginary play, acting out real life scenarios.