Helpful Ways to Improve Storytelling in Your Child

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Telling a story or talking about something that happened is also called narrative discourse. Stories are about real or imagined people and events.

Three types of stories, or narratives, are:

  • Personal - you talk about something that happened to you. It can be a story about your day, your friends, or a childhood memory. Many conversations that children have with their friends are personal narratives. They ask and answer questions like “What did you do this weekend?”

  • Story retell - you retell the events of a story from a book or a movie.

  • Fictional - you make up a story or add to the story from a book or movie.

How Children Learn to Tell Stories

Telling a story takes a lot of language skills. Children need to use words about time, like yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Children need to have the words to talk about people and things that happen. Words have to be in the right order. Children begin learning to tell stories as early as age 2. Storytelling ability is one of the best ways to predict early reading skills and later success in school. Children learn to tell stories in a set way. They start by using short sentences, and the story may not make a lot of sense. As they get older, children add more details and focus on the plot and the characters.

Tips for Telling Stories

You can help your child develop good storytelling skills. Here are some tips:

  • Ask your child to talk about pictures in a book or to make up a story.

  • Read stories to your child. Ask him or her to tell the story back to you while looking at the pictures.

  • Ask questions to help your child give more details or tell the story in the right order. For example, ask, “Which boy fell down? What did the place look like? Did you really eat the cake and then bake it?”

  • Use pictures or objects to help your child tell a story. Ask about what happened first, next, and last. This will help your child tell the story in the correct order.

  • Tell a story about your day.

  • Ask your child to talk about things that happen during the day. Ask about day care, school, special times, and holiday activities.

Let’s Talk Permission is granted for unlimited copying of “Let’s Talk.” © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2010 8064-35


 
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Sandy Dorsey, President, All About Speech, Little Voices, Big Conversations. 

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