How can I encourage my child to tell stories?
Storytelling is as old as time. It’s a huge part of our social interaction and helps to develop a child’s language and literacy skills. How can we encourage our budding storytellers to tell their own stories? Here are four ways to be your child’s audience, to help them build their story telling voice.
Remembering an activity with pictures
After an activity that you and your child have done together (e.g. making a cake, going on an outing) ask your child to draw pictures of what happened. Encourage her to tell you what happened using her pictures. Looking through photo albums can prompt stories such as “Here’s a picture of when we went to pick strawberries. That was fun. Do you remember what we did?”
Take turns telling the story
Whether it’s a story book, or a recent outing, take turns in telling a story. This is a great activity for those stories that your child loves to hear twenty times a day. If your child has ever caught you as you skipped a page or two of a favourite book (accidentally, of course!) you know they have that story memorised word for word. What part of the story was missed?
Share stories with family members and friends
Children LOVE to watch videos, especially of themselves. Take a video of your child telling a simple, short story. If you have an iphone or an ipad this is a great way to keep in touch with relatives. Surprise Grannie with a phone call about getting the mail. Or make Uncle Mark’s day by emailing or texting him the story about the birds at the bird feeder.
Read a story together, and then CHANGE it!
After you and your child read a story ask her make up a new beginning, think of some new features of the character(s) or create a different ending. This is a great activity for traveling in the car or any time your child may be getting bored, like at the supermarket checkouts. What would have happened if Jack and Jill had NOT fallen down the hill? What if Elsa’s magic power was to make everything turn into chocolate?
Most importantly, be available for conversation with your child. It’s easy to nod and say “uh huh” when your child makes an announcement. Take every opportunity to encourage your child to build their own stories.