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Jackie Baldwin jackie@story-lovers.com
Kate Dudding kate@katedudding.com

Quantitative Studies
Below is a list of research papers that investigate the effects of storytelling on children’s learning. Most of these projects:

  • have been documented in master's theses, journal articles or books
  • cover a range of subjects including art, character building, history, language, mathematics, music, and science
  • are applicable from PreK through college settings
  • deal with oral storytelling (Projects on digital storytelling were not included since it is quite a different means of communication than oral storytelling)
The papers are listed in chronological order, most recent first. An asterisk (*) at the beginning of a title indicates that the entire paper, or at least information in addition to the abstract, is available on-line. For information on obtaining copies of journal articles not on-line, click here.

A few of these projects were conducted outside a classroom setting; however, they could easily be adapted to a classroom setting. This list will continue to be updated.

  1. * Storytelling as a trigger for sharing conversations 2014

    This article explores whether traditional oral storytelling can be used to provide insights into the way in which young people of 12-14 years identify and understand the language of emotion and behaviour. Following the preliminary analysis, I propose that storytelling may trigger sharing conversations. My research attempts to extend the social and historical perspectives of Jack Zipes, on fairy tales, into a sociological analysis of young people’s lives today. I seek to investigate the extent that the storytelling space offers potential benefits as a safe place for young people to share emotions and experiences, and learn from one another. My research analysis involved NVivo coding of one hour storytelling and focus group sessions, held over five weeks. In total, there were six groups of four children, of mixed ethnicity, gender, ability, and socio-economic background, from three schools within Warwickshire. The results confirmed that the beneficial effects of the storytelling space include a safe area for sharing emotions and experiences, and in general for supporting young people outside formal learning settings.

  2. * The Storytelling Project: Teaching about Racism and Tolerance through Storytelling and the Arts 2007

    This is an innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum model developed by a racially diverse team of artists, teachers, and university faculty and students. This interactive model is a framework for both curriculum and for professional development for educators interested in teaching/learning about race and racism.

  3. * Storytelling with Stuff 2007

    The Spurlock Museum has found that adding storytelling to its educational offerings is an effective way to increase both the Museum’s offerings to the public and the range of visitors attending programs.

  4. * Mathematics, Art, Research, Collaboration and Storytelling: The High M.A.R.C.S. Project 2007

    This article describes a curriculum integration project designed to help students better contextualize their learning, by linking mathematics, art, research, collaboration, and storytelling.

  5. Storytelling as a Democratic Approach to Data Collection: Interviewing Children about Reading 2007

    This paper examines how storytelling can be used as a method of collecting authentic and revealing research data from children. The results show that the children's storytelling gave access to their cultural models of reading. Storytelling may be especially useful with poor readers as there are no literacy demands.

  6. * History in the Schools - Twin City Tale Spinners 2006-2007

    The Twin City Tale Spinners worked during 2006 and 2007 to improve the telling of historical stories in local schools in McLean County, Illinois.

  7. Storytelling as Pedagogy: An Unexpected Outcome of Narrative Inquiry 2007

    This study examines how the use of narrative research methods can benefit preservice teacher education.

  8. * Using Storytelling to Break the Silence that Binds Us to Sameness in Our Schools 2006

    Findings suggested that (a) stories of urban educators contain historical and socio-cultural ideologies that have shaped American education; and (b) storytelling, if combined with opportunities for dialogue and inquiry, can help to break the silence surrounding cultural differences in schools.

  9. * Benefits of Storytelling Methodologies In 4th and 5th Grade Historical Instruction 2006

    Students in the experimental group listened to and participated in oral narratives during their history lesson while students in the control group received conventional lecture and note-taking instruction. After collecting and analyzing the data, results indicate a significant increase in history affinity in the positive direction for the experimental group with no change in history affinity for the control group.

  10. * Telling the Stars: A Quantitative Approach to Assessing the Use of Folk Tales in Science Education 2005

    During the final stage of testing, the revised instrument and methods found significant increase in positive attitude toward science after the presentations.

  11. * Storytelling and Story Reading: A Comparison of Effects on Children's Memory and Story Comprehension 2005

    Students in both the reading and storytelling groups improved on most measures. However, on some measures, notably those regarding recall ability, students in the storytelling group improved more than students in the reading group.

  12. * Stagebridge’s 2004-2005 Storybridge Program 2005

    Stagebridge’s 2004-2005 Storybridge Program provided direct instruction and teacher training to eight 4th and 5th grade classes in three schools. Conclusions: Students showed improvement in language arts and listening comprehension skills as a result of the program. Participating teachers gained a deeper awareness and understanding of storytelling as an art form and its impact on the core subject matter curriculum.

  13. Oral Storytelling and Teaching Mathematics: Pedagogical and Multicultural Perspectives 2004

    This book contains two case studies of teachers telling epic oral stories to teach math to elementary and middle school students. The book also includes theoretical discussions of essential elements of oral storytelling, multicultural education, how oral storytelling can help children who have difficulty learning mathematics, and mathematical problem solving.

  14. Storytelling for Middle Grades Students, Fastback 482 2001

    This book offers tips for using storytelling in middle grade classrooms, noting that having students do the storytelling may have greater motivational benefit than having the teacher tell the stories to the students. The Fastback states that storytelling by students helps to develop higher-level thinking skills, such as analysis and synthesis, as well as skills in oral composition.

  15. STORIES: A Classroom-based Program to Reduce Aggressive Behavior 2001

    This program used the peer group and story form as vehicles to improve social problem solving for aggressors, victims, and bystanders. Post-intervention reports show decreases in externalizing and antisocial behaviors for children not identified as aggressive, and increases for the identified children.

  16. The Importance of Oral Storytelling in Literacy Development 1999

    This paper provides specific suggestions as to how caregivers, teachers, and parents can help children become lifelong learners and readers through the use of storytelling.

  17. How Does It Get Into My Imagination?: Elementary School Children’s Intertextual Knowledge and Gendered Storylines 1999

    Case study of children's responses to stories used poststructuralist theory to examine how students used their intertextual knowledge to understand and produce disruptive stories regarding gender.

  18. Story Upon Story 1999

    This article discusses how stories can be used to "teach" history and science.

  19. The Effects of Storytelling versus Story Reading on Comprehension and Vocabulary Knowledge of British Primary School Children 1998

    This study shows that children who witnessed storytelling scored higher on comprehension/vocabulary measures than did children who listened to story reading.

  20. Teaching Through Stories: Yours, Mine, and Theirs 1998

    This book describes classroom uses for teachers' and children's own stories, as well as stories from a multitude of outside sources. It offers a theoretical basis for the use of storytelling, gives practical tips on storytelling techniques, and provides practical storytelling activities for use across the curriculum in kindergarten through high school.

  21. * Thinking and Doing Literature: An 8-Year Study 1998

    A series of studies conducted over an 8-year period by the National Research Center on Literature Teaching and Learning examined the ways people think when they read literature and the ways in which instruction could support those kinds of thinking. Interactions with students convinced the researchers that literature and storytelling can play an important role in enriching students' understanding across subject areas.

  22. Figures, Facts and Fables: Telling Tales in Science and Math 1996

    This book stresses that classroom teachers can be storytellers and offers suggestions on how to be a good storyteller. Practical suggestions are offered on how teachers can use storytelling for science and mathematics. Rationale on how storytelling benefits learning and how students can best benefit from storytelling exercises is presented.

  23. * Mathematics and Science Curricula in Elementary and Secondary Education for American Indian and Alaska Native Students 1991

    Issues related to the improvement of mathematics and science education pertain to Native students as well as to the general population. Native students are most successful at tasks that use visual and spatial abilities and that involve simultaneous processing. Storytelling techniques can be used to develop culturally relevant problems.

  24. Establishing an Affective School Environment To Enhance Character Development in Pre K-3rd Grade Students Using Storytelling Techniques 1990

    The purpose of this study was to socialize children in Prekindergarten through 3rd-grade classes to be cooperative, responsible and achieving individuals using storytelling techniques. Evaluation data indicated effectiveness in improving character development and decreasing behavior problems. An emphasis on story writing and storytelling resulted in over 600 works by students.

  25. * Reading, Writing, and Storytelling: A Bridge from the Middle School to the Preschool 1989

    Middle school students are writing original children's stories and then telling these stories to preschool children. Findings show that most of the preschool children read more books, select a wide variety of materials, maintain a desire to read, and tell their own stories. The middle school students increase their sensitivity for communicating with a unique audience and they report an improved awareness of children's ability to use and appreciate language.

  26. * The Effects of Storytelling Experiences on Vocabulary Skills of Second Grade Students 1987

    Second grade students in Waterloo, Iowa, were taught storytelling techniques and given opportunities to practice these techniques for six months. They significantly increased their performance on vocabulary and reading comprehension tests beyond what was expected for that six month period.

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Copyright 2007 by Jackie Baldwin and Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.