One child saw another group of children working on the overhead projector. When they were finished, he went over to the projector to create something. He started placing the pieces on the overhead and when he looked at the wall he said, “Look! I made a dinosaur.”
She saw his work and ran to stand by the wall. The first child continued to make the dinosaur but asked her to move away from the wall. She then came to his side to watch him work. They began to talk:
Child making the dinosaur: “I am making a big dinosaur.”
Observing child: pointed to the wall and said, “That’s a BIG dinosaur” and then pointed at the overhead projector and said, “That’s a small dinosaur”.
(The children were making comparisons of the enlarged images on the wall vs the actual size of the materials on the overhead)
He continued to place more pieces on the overhead, and he started to talk about “bad guys”. He said, “The bad guys got the dinosaur.” He held up another piece and said, “Oh, look, it’s a hammer!”
As he continued to tell his story, we offered him paper and markers. He did not want to draw on the wall or the floor. He said, “I want to draw on the table”.
As he started to draw, other children observed. This served as a provocation for the other children. Others joined in for a few minutes, and then Daniel came. As Daniel and the child who started this project began to talk about the picture, a beautiful story evolved!
The images began to fill the paper as they told the story……..
“There was a big dinosaur. The bad guys got the dinosaur! The bad guys got the hammer and the dinosaur was gone!”
“There was a tower and a bad guy.”
In the middle of the story, we spent time focusing on the bad guy. Where were his eyes? Where were his arms and legs? We looked at our arms and legs, and Holden drew lines to represent them. Then, Daniel wanted to draw a bad guy, and Holden took the initiative to show Daniel how to make the lines for the arms and legs.
Once all of the images were drawn, Daniel drew the sun and the moon. The story continued…….
“The bad guy fell off of the tower! All the way down!” (This was said, as the long line was drawn to represent the bad guy falling down).
Storytelling in children has been proven to contribute to early literacy development, comprehension skills, and retelling skills.
According to Louise Philips, “Many storytellers, educators and researchers advocate that storytelling can contribute significantly to early literacy development.
Storytelling is clearly a social experience with oral narrative, incorporating linguistic features that display a “sophistication that goes beyond the level of conversation.” And for this reason storytelling acts as an effective building block easing the journey from oracy to literacy. Literacy is a second order language system that requires oral competency as a prerequisite and, as a sophisticated oral art form, storytelling certainly offers significant input toward oral language competency, along with many significant links to written language.
Literate adults usually use far more complex words when they are writing than when they speak. When children are learning to read and write, their oral language vocabulary will obviously be greater. Snow and Tabors have found that a well-established oral language vocabulary is essential for the development of young children’s written vocabulary. Children can sound out a written word more efficiently if they know what it is meant to sound like (phonology); and if they know the meaning (semantics) of words, they can predict where they might occur in a text. Cooper, Collins and Saxby claim that regular storytelling experience increases young children’s vocabulary, as they encounter a broad range of new words through story, thereby supporting the development of their written vocabulary.”