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									Training Teachers to Facilitate Language Development in the Classroom
Debbie Clymer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Everett Public Schools (425) 385-5463 Language comes to life only when functioning in some environment. We do not experience language in isolation-if we did we would not recognize it as language, but always in relation to a scenario, some background of persons, and actions and events from which things are said to derive their meaning. ( M.A. Halliday, 1975, p.2)

Rationale for Storytelling
1. Teaches the power of language. 2. Excellent for inclusion since it fosters language regardless of functional level. 3. High level of retention of concepts. 4. Children are highly motivated to participate. 5. Provides a model of narrative skills for literacy development. 6. Integrates a variety of objectives: vocabulary, grammar, sequencing. 7. More intimate than reading. 8. Targets oral-learners who struggle with print. 9. Teachers can reinforce what was taught. 10. Meaningful language.

How Children Benefit from Hearing Stories
1. Provides an environment for language in context rather than segmented. 2. Improves listening skills and attention span. 3. Improves vocabulary, comprehension, sequencing, story recall and prediction. 4. Stimulates imagination and problem solving ability 5. Instills love of language and motivates children to read. 6. Encourages creative writing. 7. Develops higher-level cognitive skills through use of story metaphor. 8. Teaches critical elements of narrative framework. 9. Addresses the need of children with different learning styles. 10. Provides opportunity for cooperative learning and building social skills. 11. Improves intrinsic motivation and self esteem.

What To Do When You Have Finished Telling a Story
1. Ask questions about the characters and events in the story. 2. Use cloze (fill-in-the-blank) questions to teach concepts: opposites, prepositions, comparisons, etc. 3. List things that happened in the story sequentially. 4. Discuss character strengths, weaknesses, surprises and character change. 5. Discuss the crisis, conflict and resolution. 6. Would you have done what the characters did? 7. Write descriptive paragraphs, monologues, dialogues based on the story. 8. Keep a journal from a point of view of one of the characters. 9. Write a letter to a favorite character. Debbie Clymer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


10. Discuss or write about your favorite character. 11. Discuss or write about your favorite part of the story or why you liked the story. 12. Make a script of the story and turn it into a radio show with sound effects and music. 13. Make predictions about what could have happened if events had been altered or if people had different reactions to events. 14. Make puppets, murals, portraits or pictures. 15. Tell the story to a partner or another class. 16. Re-tell the story in pantomime or with a different setting, characters or outcome.

Criteria for Story Selection
1. Story appeals to you and is suited for you. 2. Find your favorite genre or ethnic area. 3. Keep list of stories and review periodically. 4. Barrow from other tellers. 5. Looks for stories with direct language which goes to the heart of the tale. 6. A single theme, clearly defined. 7. A well developed plot. 8. Characters who are interesting, believable and fun to work with. 9. Action-filled story with one suspenseful event building on another to the climax. 10. A variety of sensory images. 11. Appropriate for your audience. 12. A satisfying conclusion or resolution.

How to Tell a Story
Introduce unfamiliar concepts and vocabulary before you begin the story. Don’t memorize, be natural. Use your own words. Find your own style. Practice in the car, the shower, on walks. Begin with short tales with repetitive elements, chants, onomatopoeic words, song, and catchy phrases. All are mnemonic devices. 6. Watch the audience and tailor the telling for them. 7. Your voice is your most important tool. Vary speed and loudness. 8. Use lots of eye contact. 9. Touch member of the audience for emphasis and use directed comments. 10. Use gestures to enhance your story. 11. Consider size, voice, gestures, and mannerisms of each character. 12. Pause before any change of ideas and before any significant words. 13. Emphasize words that carry meaning. 14. In general, poetic and imaginative passages should be spoken slowly and parts narrating action should be spoken rapidly. 15. Create rich word pictures and images. Add details. 16. Encourage audience involvement in the story. 17. Build toward the climax. How Children Benefit from Telling Stories 1. Provides an authentic measure of language and reading comprehension. 2. Improves expressive language and stimulates inventive thinking. Debbie Clymer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.


3. Comprehension and expressions of sequence, setting, theme, plot and resolution are improved. 4. Improves self-esteem, builds confidence and poise when speaking in front of groups. 5. Learn to hold audience by using eye contact, gestures, modifying voice. 6. Risk taking produces personal growth. 7. Provides information about how a child learns. 8. Improves use of detail and organization of speech so that the audience comprehends the story. 9. Develops cohesive ties and story grammar knowledge. Helping Children Tell Stories (adapted from Bodin and Marquis, 1995, p 23) 1. Allow the child to hear you tell it first. 2. Discuss the story 3. Help child map the story 4. Allow time to practice the story using story map if necessary. 5. Prompt the child during the telling to include necessary elements. 6. Acknowledge attempt at storytelling, not the performance. 7. Make pre and post videos of the storytelling to document improvement. A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Social Skills Interventions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Programs to teach social skills to children with autism are largely ineffective and result in little change, according to an Indiana University meta-analysis of 55 published research studies. Although outcomes for such training were poor overall, programs in normal classroom settings were more likely to result in positive changes than those in pull-out settings. Bibliography Baker, A. and Greene, E. (1977). Storytelling: Art and Technique. New York: R.R. Bowker Company. Bellini, S., Peters, J, Benner, L and Hopf, A. (2007). A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Social Skills Interventions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Remedial and Special Education, 28: 153. Bodin, J. and Marquis, M. (1995).Step-by-Step Storytelling: A Narrative Language Curriculum. Tucson: Communication Skill Builders. Collins, R. and Cooper, P. (1997). The Power of Storytelling: Teaching Through Story. Needham, MA: Allyn & Bacon Dailey, S. (1992). Storytelling: Pathway to Literacy. Jonesborough, Tennessee: The National Storytelling Press. Davis, Donald (1993). Telling Your Own Stories. Little Rock, Arkansas: August House Publishers. Halliday, M.A. (1975b). Learning How to Mean: Explorations in the Development of Language. London: Edward Arnold. Hamilton, M. and Weiss, M. (1990). Children Tell Stories. Katonah, NY: Richard C. Debbie Clymer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Owen Publishers, Inc. Hedberg, M. and Westby, C. (1993). Analyzing Storytelling Skills: Theory to Practice. Tucson, AZ: Communication Skill Builders. Livo, N. (2003). Bring Out Their Best. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited Lundsteen, S. (1979). Listening-Its Impact on Reading and the other Language Arts. Revised Edition. Urbana, IL: NCTE/ERIC Studies in the Teaching of English. Mason, J. and Au, K (1990). Reading Instruction for Today. Scott, Foresman/Little. MacDonald, M. R. (2001). The Storytellers Sourcebook: a subject, title and motif index too Folklore Collections. Detroit: Gale Group. MacDonald, M. R. (2005). Twenty Tellable Tales. Chicago: American Library Assoc. Mellon, N. (2000) Storytelling with Children. Gloucestershire, England: Hawthorn Press Mooney, B. (1996). The Storyteller’s Guide. Little Rock, AR: August House Publishers. National Storytelling Association (1994). Tales as Tools. Jonesborough, Tennessee: The National Storytelling Press. Nelson, O. (1989). Storytelling: Language Experience for Meaning Making. The Reading Teacher, February. Peck, J. (1989). Using Storytelling to Promote Language and Literacy Development. The Reading Teacher, November. Simpson, M. and Perrigo, L. (2001). Storycraft. London: McFarland & Co. Singer, I. (1976). Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus. NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Smardo, R. and Curry, J. (1982). What Research Tells Us About Storyhours and Receptive Language. Dallas Public Library. Wiig, E, Larson, V., Olson, J. (2004). S-MAPS Rubrics for Curriculum-Based Assessment and Intervention. Eau Claire, WI: Thinking Publications. Zipes, J. (1995) Creative Storytelling. London:Routledge. Children’s Books Ludwig, W. (1990). Good Morning, Granny Rose. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Munsch, R. (1980). The Paper Bag Princess. Toronto: Annick Press Ltd. Storyboard (Felt figures) Brodart Co. Breathed, B. (1991). Wish for Wings that Worker Little, Brown & Co. Resources or New and used books National Literacy Project: National Storytelling Network: Jonesborough, TN 800 525-4514 Storytelling in classrooms: Storytelling Web Sites Storytelling with Children Story Grammar Marker Webber Story Builder

Debbie Clymer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

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