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.
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