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Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Telling stories – Parents

All children and adults use storytelling to communicate with others, store memories and build relationships.

Young children learn to tell stories by listening to the stories of others. Sharing books with adults and engaging in imaginary play scenarios are key foundation skills for developing story telling in young children. When playing, children often start by reproducing familiar life events and gradually learn to attach spoken language to these events.

Young children also 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.

Later on when children talk about what they have done at school, or want to tell you what has just happened at the park, they are giving a factual recount of their experiences – this is also ‘story telling’.

Often children require a good imagination to create fictional stories however the most effective way for children to develop the story-telling skill at home is by listening to and re-telling familiar stories to their family and friends. Opportunities to expand or change familiar stories can enable children to build confidence with developing their own ideas for fictional stories.

Good storytelling skills enable older children to produce interesting, engaging accounts of events from their lives (e.g. talking about a film they’ve seen, or a funny situation they experienced). Storytelling skills also underpin written work at Secondary school, as the ability to include all of the key information in a well planned and organised piece of written work is crucial in essay and report writing.

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Last updated: 17 April, 2018

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