Teaching Through Story - Part 1

Storytelling has been around for a long time, and one of the great things about storytelling is how it exceeds age and culture. Stories teach!

As therapists, teachers, or parents, stories give a framework for teaching elements of not only reading, but conversations, storytelling, sequencing, social communication, and so much more. The simple act of story structure creates a teachable framework for some basic skills.

Let’s start with a few:

Labeling – One of the easiest ways to encourage vocabulary development is to read stories to children. Pointing out vocabulary as a story is read, categorizing items, and talking about how those items are used. It’s a fantastic way to develop interaction, which leads to the next one.

Question Answering – What more natural thing to do while storybook reading than asking questions? As you read through the story, natural questions should emerge, ones which focus on various aspects of language.

Prepositions – “Where is the ball?”, “Where is Goldilocks sleeping?”

Descriptives – “What color is the ball?”, “Where is the big chair? Little chair?” “Who is the old man?” etc.

Predictions – (which we’ll talk about a little more in the next article) – “If the wolf blew down the pig’s stick house, where do you think he will go next?” “Why do you think the big bad wolf dressed in granny’s clothes?”

Sequencing – Though using actual activities is a great way to teach sequencing, storytelling is as well. Some stories lend themselves to sequencing much better than others, helping children learn the ‘organization’ of stories and narrative hallmarks such as first, middle, last.

The 3 Little Pigs is a fantastic 3 step story to teach very beginning sequencing. 3 Houses. 3 Basic steps.

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears isn’t as simplistic in its story structure as the 3 Pigs, but it also has a solid sequential framework of events, and it’s also a great ‘prediction’ story.

Teaching these basic skills gives a foundation on which to build more complex linguistic skills, such as social communication, predicting, problem solving, and perspective taking.

Teaching Through Story – Part 1
Pepper Basham, MS, CCC-SLP

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