Storytelling and Reading – It works!

Storytelling is Useful, Fun, Exhilerating, Imaginative and Educational. It’s Amazing!

 storycartoonI am always amazed at the impact storytelling can have on encouraging and developing an interest in reading in both children and adults. There is so much evidence that storytelling is possibly THE most useful tool in nurturing literacy that it’s crazy that so many people still doubt its importance! Parents, start telling stories to your children, teachers, put down the books and actually tell stories. Your passion and inspiration will move mountains!

I found the following article online and thought it provided a few great examples that although they are a few years old and from the United States but still demonstrate some of the key benefits of storytelling and reading!

The value of storytelling in education has been documented in many recently published articles.  Below is a summary of some of those findings. Visit the author’s web page for more info and the appendix. And don’t forget to let me know hoe useful you find it!






The Value of Storytelling in Education                          Compiled on December 1, 2005 by Kate Dudding

(A) Teaching Storytelling: A Position Statement from the Committee on Storytelling of the National Council of Teachers of English

  • Listeners encounter both familiar and new language patterns through story.
  • Both tellers and listeners find a reflection of themselves in stories.
  • Story is the best vehicle for passing on factual information.
  • Children at any level of schooling who do not feel as competent as their peers in reading or writing are often masterful at storytelling.

(B) Skytellers: The Myths, The Magic, and the Mysteries of the Universe

  • The combination of story first and then science has been shown statistically to improve students’ attitudes about science.

(C) Imaginative Children Better in Math

  • A study by a University of Waterloo scientist suggests that preschool children’s early storytelling abilities are predictive of their mathematical ability two years later.

(D) Three Days Later, Soldiers Find Town in Ruins

  • Because everyone on the island of Simeulue, the palm-fringed island closest to the epicentre of the December 2004 devastating earthquake/tsunami, knew the story, “if there is an earthquake, run for your life,” only five of 70,000 villagers were killed.

(E) Storied Theory

  • Science and stories are not only compatible, they’re inseparable, as shown by Einstein’s classic 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect.

(F) Israeli-developed Coexistence Education Project Awarded International Prize

  • In order for people with years of painful and violent interaction to coexist peacefully, they don’t necessarily have to like or agree with each other, but they must understand their point of view and their view of the history between them. This can happen when they really listen to each other’s personal stories.

(G) Two Red Birds: Blackfeet Teachers’ Work Displayed at the Smithsonian

  • “During quiet time, the bilingual teacher told Na’pi stories, lessons or fairytales,” Bird said. “The children really learned to listen. She told the Na’pi stories in English and added words in Blackfeet, words like ‘dog’ or ‘blackbird.'” The Na’pi stories are meant to teach things like respect, values, honor and politeness.

(H) Storytelling Project Aims to HelpNew York CityHigh School Students Deal With Racial Issues

  • “A story is such powerful vehicle – that is how we transmit culture. We are using all the vehicles of telling stories to address race and racism from arts, visual arts, poetry, music to dance – all conduits that young people are very tuned into, and we are drawing from that excitement.  Ultimately, we hope to develop new stories to lead us to a more just society.”

(I) Once Upon a Time We Told Our Children Stories

  • Michael Morpurgo, the Children’s Laureate of the UK, writes: When you think of the extraordinary talent among our children’s writers, storytellers and illustrators, it is not surprising that so many children turn to books and become readers after an encounter with such talent.

(K) PBS Kids(R) Joins Pacific Air Force Command to Promote Literacy

  • “Share a Story” inspires adults to help children develop language and literacy skills through simple everyday activities including storytelling, singing, reading, rhyming, acting and talking.

Published by Mara Menzies Storyteller

I am a full time storyteller based in Scotland and deeply passionate about the power stories have on us. I find, create and share stories to audiences all over the world. I train in storytelling techniques, providing ways for different people to find their own unique way of telling a story.

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1 Comment

  1. Seeing Mara telling a story has inspired and motivated me. From time to time I read “Beautiful Blackbird” by Ashley Bryan to 6-year-olds in schools. They lose concentration about halfway through. Now I see how I can involve them, flapping their wings and doing the Beak and Wing Dance!

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