“Three apples fell from the sky, one for the narrator, one for the listener and one for the head of the story.” Armenian proverb
Everyone loves a good story, be it from a book, a talking story, or a movie. However, most people, both children and adults, would say, “I can’t tell stories.” The truth is that everyone can tell a story, they just need to know how. Telling stories is relatively easy because you don’t repeat the story word for word. When memorizing a poem or scripture, each word must be correct. A story requires two skills: memory and imagination. Both are skills that children have in abundance. Why not take advantage of that talent to teach your children to write?
If you want your children’s writing to skyrocket, teach them to be storytellers. Like reading, cooking, or working cooperatively with others, storytelling is a life skill. When your child learns to tell stories in everyday circumstances, they will have a lasting legacy and will write more expressively, be attuned to the beauty of language, listen to others who tell a good story, recognize good writing, and think more imaginatively. .
The use of storytelling in homeschool brings much more than just the enjoyment of stories. You are giving your children a foundation in orality. Just as literacy is the ability to read and write, orality is the ability to speak and listen. The four modes (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) constitute human communication. Orality supports literacy. Narration is the highest form of orality.
Usually, to help a child read better and write better, we make him do more of both, usually with some resistance. The most effective way to improve literacy is to increase oral language experiences such as narration, recitation, acting, to name a few. Narration is the best form of oral language experience because the narrator internalizes a set of relationships and structures that they can then map into the experience. Think of a fairy tale that you like. What does it show you? The value of being kind, the lowest often comes to the top, the need for virtue and honesty are just a few.
Orality takes the form of stories, rhymes, sayings, conversations, and songs. Using oral language experiences with preschoolers is easy, as they are pre-literate and in love with words. It is so much fun to laugh with a young child and say a nonsensical rhyme.
However, once children have mastered reading, the focus tends to be on the printed word, and unfortunately speaking and listening begin to lag behind. To achieve the best in reading and writing, elementary students must continue to develop their oral speaking and listening skills.
How can I bring more orality to my homeschooling?
Here are some simple, easy-to-do activities that require little to no preparation:
1. Read aloud to your children every day. Choose stories and books that have a strong plot and rich use of language. Avoid adaptations of familiar stories or books.
2. Use storytelling every day. Narration is the art of telling a passage that is read in your own words.
3. Make simple nursery rhymes and finger play with your children. If you have older children, teach them so they can play with their fingers with the little ones. You can find finger play books and nursery rhymes in your library. Some well-known rhymes are: “Jack and Jill”, “Hey, Diddle Diddle, the Cat and Fiddle”, “Little Miss Muffet” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”.
4. Make storytelling a special time during the day or week. Use collections of folk tales or picture books that are tales of folk tales and ask your elementary school children to learn how to count them.
5. Tell stories about your own life. All children love hearing about when their parents were little.
6. Tell simple and well-known stories like “Goldilocks and the three bears”, “Ten little monkeys”. See if your children can tell all or part of the story on their own.
What does all this have to do with writing?
If you want to help children improve their writing, do you ask them to write? Correct? Wrong. When children are asked to write, they often struggle because they are asked to perform two very different developmental tasks: writing and thinking spontaneously. One task at a time is usually not a problem; but, both at the same time require a certain amount of maturity. Start from a different point: try to get your child to tell instead of writing the sentence, paragraph, or story.
Here’s the process: write orally, revise orally, then, and only then, write it down. At another time, ask your child to check for accuracy in grammar and punctuation, but definitely not when composing (orally or in writing). That’s. It sounds simple, and it is. However, consistency and a light touch are required to see results. Your child should get used to thinking aloud. Be patient and praise all efforts. Be sure to offer guidelines at the beginning, but don’t ask for answers. There are no wrong answers with this approach, only good, better, and better. Let your child spin around sometimes and have you test the process.
If you’re ready to test the process, put your writing workbooks aside for a while (you can always come back to them later). The results will surprise you.
For more information on storytelling, search your library for the following books:
The Storyteller’s Starter Book: Finding, Learning, Interpreting, and Using Folk Stories – Includes twelve counting tales, Margaret lee macdonald
This is an easy-to-understand manual to help you get started.
The path of the narrator, Ruth sawyer
This is a classic of narrative literature and one of my favorites that I go to for inspiration.