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Storytelling in Early Language Teaching by Natasha Malkina

Originally published in Forum, Vol. 33 No. 1, January - March 1995, page 38.

Keywords: pre-school, foreign-language


The main points for using storytelling in early foreign-language teaching are:

  • Storytelling should be viewed as an essential part of early language teaching. It gives a child rich and versatile experience with language and culture. Through storytelling, children acquire cultural literacy to make their language learning meaningful.

  • The curriculum for early language teaching can be story based.

  • Finding the right story is important. Story selection should meet certain objective and subjective criteria. Objective criteria relate to story grammar; subjective criteria relate to the child and his/her preferences. When selecting a story for early language teaching, objective criteria are the most important since they facilitate comprehension.

  • Text adaptation may be necessary to facilitate comprehension. A story should be adapted in such a way that a child can easily pick up clues or "staging posts" to construct the meaning.

  • Story comprehension and understanding is affected by the storytelling technique used. We don't know yet which technique is the most effective but it should lead to "guided comprehension."

  • Finally, guided comprehension is a process through which the child learns strategies for making meaning. The teacher's role is to help the child use different strategies and to adjust the storytelling process if s/he loses the meaning.

    Click here to read the entire article.

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