Stories are effective educational tools because they are believable, memorable and entertaining. Children usually enjoy listening to, reading and telling stories so the use of storytelling creates a good learning environment.
The Benefits of Using Stories in Teaching Children
According to (Ellis and Brewster, 1991, p.1) in The Storytelling Handbook :
- Stories are motivating and fun; they create a deep interest and a desire to continue learning.
- Listening to stories is a shared social experience; it provokes a shared response of laughter, sadness, excitement, and anticipation.
- Stories exercise the imagination; children can become personally involved in a story as they identify with the characters and try to interpret the narrative and illustrations.
- Stories are a useful tool in linking fantasy and imagination with the child’s real-world; they provide a way of enabling children to make sense of their everyday life.
- Listening to stories allows the teacher to introduce or revise new vocabulary and sentence structures by exposing the children to the language.
- Stories help students of all levels to understand literature, they carry ideological massages.
- Storybooks offer universal truths, moral appeals to one generation after another.
Advantages of Using Stories in Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL)
- Young language learners can easily induce the language elements from the data provided by the stories. For example, spoken language can be developed effectively through storytelling.
- In addition, young language learners become aware of some important cultural aspects through stories.
- Telling stories provides good opportunities for the children to speak, integrate the information they’ve learned and become more confident.
- Reading stories aloud allows children to make connections between the oral language and the print that represents it. So, while reading aloud, you should ask children to point to the word or line read to emphasize those connections.
- Stories help learners to increase their language fluency and to increase their content knowledge.
Select the Best Storybooks
In Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL), storybooks are widely used for a number of purposes, e.g. pleasure, fun, learning how to read, and language learning.
Not all storybooks are good for language learning, so it is imperative that you choose the best storybooks that can offer language learning opportunities and develop other skills along the way.
What to Do to Use Stories Perfectly in TEYL
There should be two things to be done first by the teachers so that they can use stories perfectly within English classes with young learners:
- Selecting the best storybooks.
- Having an effective story lesson planning.
Thus, when storybooks are chosen well, the right strategies applied and effective story-based activities done by the children, the stories will be of special pedagogical value for the foreign language learning, and the learning objectives will be achieved with ease and comfort. Moreover, young learners will enjoy learning the language.
Here is My Ultimate Guide
According to the above mentioned and my experience, I’ve decided to write in more detail about these two points and create a guide for teachers and parents as well: Using Stories in Teaching English to Young Learners.
This guide includes all the practical information that will guide both teachers and parents to:
- Selecting the best stories to use with children.
- Applying the right strategies for using stories to teach English to young learners.
- Following the right steps when reading stories aloud to young learners.
Addressing The Teachers’ Needs
According to my own experience, the personality of the teacher and his/her lesson planning is very important. Sometimes only the teacher’s personality can decide if the children’s attitude towards learning foreign languages is positive or negative. In addition, teachers who are well prepared are more confident and have a good command of the language and the lesson.
From my experience, I found out that theoretical knowledge is of less importance for teachers in the field. Instead, they need some practical steps and procures to follow to achieve success and control over their work in the classroom.
Putting that in my mind when preparing the above-mentioned guide: Using Stories in Teaching English to Young Learners, I’ve included the most practical bits of knowledge in it to help teachers and parents to use the storybooks as effectively as possible in teaching English to their children.