Storytelling is arguably the most effective and oldest form of teaching and it’s how we are first taught to listen and learn. Storytelling is an integral part of society and can be seen in every facet of human life – from bedtime stories and morning cartoons to catching up with a neighbor or a colleague, all the way to politics and the legal system. Different cultures from all corners of the world pass their own tales down through generations, along with their beliefs, traditions, and history.
Storytelling is a creative way to deliver a message while keeping your listeners involved. This is why teachers use storytelling as a teaching tool for kids.
Storytelling as a Teaching Tool: 5 Reasons Why It’s Effective
Storytelling is an engaging and creative way to boost your child’s natural development. Here are five reasons why.
It Boosts Their Listening and Comprehension Skills
Holding children’s attention for long periods is extremely difficult. Most kids find it hard to pay attention to certain things for an extended period of time and parents and teachers know all too well how difficult it can be to involve them in anything that doesn’t immediately interest them. Storytelling, however, can capture and hold their attention for as long as you keep it interesting.
When a child listens to a story, they become more attentive. This doesn’t only boost their listening skills, but more importantly, improves their comprehension.
Good listening and comprehension are extremely important for understanding different concepts of language and the development of literacy skills. Listening through storytelling sharpens a child’s perception of language, develops how their auditory cortex interprets the things they hear, and helps them learn how to communicate better.
It Exercises Their Minds and Imagination
Listening to a story is very different from watching something happen on the television. Storytelling helps develop a child’s imagination; they imagine the heroes, the different characters, visualize the setting, as well as the story’s plot.
Storytelling encourages children to tap into their creativity and make up the scenes of the stories in their mind without any limitations or rules. As they listen to stories, they often learn to fill in the gaps by creating the world of the story in their minds. Their imagination knows no bounds and storytelling helps them open their minds to new and different ideas.
It Improves Their Ability to Express Themselves
Reading and telling stories to a child improves their ability and enthusiasm to communicate, express their thoughts and feelings and is a great way to expand their vocabulary. Kids pick up new things easily, and when they hear new words, they will quickly learn their meaning and use them to express their thoughts, emotions, and goals.
When telling a story, make it a habit to ask your child about the characters and the plot of the story. You don’t have to be in charge of the situation all the time; you can ask your child to suggest how they want to move the story forward. More importantly, ask them why they think certain characters make certain decisions or behave in a particular way. Also, encourage them to ask questions and talk about how they feel. This way, you are not only encouraging your child to actively participate, you are helping them with the ability to express themselves.
It Boosts Their Memory and Helps Them Learn Faster
Classic fairy tales like Snow White are known throughout the world because of their simple, timeless plots, their ability to be adopted by different cultures, and their ability to be understood by everyone. These tales are designed to be told to any age group and are handed down verbally from generation to generation – that’s the power of a good story – it is timeless and it transcends geography.
Children love listening to stories. This is why they often ask for them at bedtime, campfires, etc. Their curious minds want to be engaged. And when they love the story (or you make it interesting for them to listen to), they will remember it. This is why it’s also a good idea to ask them to recall some details of the story to see how much information they retained. You can also work on certain morals you feel are relevant for them to learn as they grow, embedding them into their psyche through a deeper meaning that’s more memorable.
It Deepens Their Understanding of the World
Children are hardwired to be curious. This is why most kids, when they start to learn how to read, become passionate about books, and unsurprisingly, they tend to choose story books.
Stories introduce kids to the world beyond their environment by telling about wonderful places, cultures, ideas, and creatures they haven’t encountered before.
Storytelling allows kids to experience different countries, traditions, and worlds, helping them to broaden their horizon and teaching them how to appreciate the world around them.
As a result, stories help kids develop a sense of empathy as they are encouraged to put themselves in the shoes of the characters of the stories. They teach them to consider actions and reactions (cause and effect) and understand why certain characters make certain decisions. These attributes teach kids about life ahead and the world they live in.
When they listen to a story, kids don’t just pay attention to the person talking, they also become more open to other people’s thoughts and become more understanding of why every person has a different opinion. It gives them many opportunities to understand wonderful and unique ideas from other people’s perspectives that they may have never come across before.
Storytelling as a Teaching Tool: Conclusion
Apart from these developmental benefits, storytelling is an incredible way to spend time and bond with a child. Children appreciate and remember the moments they share with loved ones, and sharing stories that inspire and impress kids can create deep, lasting bonds. When you are telling a story, you don’t just help broaden their minds, you are also instilling values and virtues they will carry with them as they grow older. They will take these stories with them, along with the lessons they hold, and maybe pass them on to their own children. So tell stories that teach the values of compassion, empathy, wisdom, and honesty.