Can I tell you a story?
“Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was a big castle. In this castle lived a king, George, a beautiful princess, Zoe, a brave knight, Angelos, and a lady who was in charge of cleaning the castle, Ioanna.”
You haven’t probably heard this story before, have you? It all started right after a bedtime story, when my almost 4-year-old son said to me: “Mum, can I tell you a story now?” Well, storytelling offers insight into the way your children perceive the world around them, doesn't it?!
However, storytelling does much more than that!
But, to start with, what is storytelling?
Simple as that, storytelling is the art of telling stories. As long as human civilisation has existed, we have shared stories. Stories can be oral, signed or written and we could say that two of the most famous storytellers that ever existed are Homer and Aesop. In reality though, we all have stories inside us and are all storytellers from an early age.
Children love listening to stories. Stories create other worlds where everything is possible. Through stories, we can visit faraway lands, go on adventures, travel in time and meet fantastical creatures.
Storytelling has a massive impact on children’s development. It can teach them so many things about life, the world and themselves.
What are the benefits of storytelling?
… ignites curiosity. Curiosity is the root of learning, and what’s the best way to spark curiosity than sharing an amazing story? An engaging story fires up imagination; while reading or listening to a story, children can picture the characters, the setting, the story itself.
… helps children to develop early literacy skills, boosts language development, expands children’s vocabulary and encourages enthusiasm for learning, writing, and reading.
… enhances children’s communication skills, the ability to express themselves, communicate their thoughts, feelings and ideas. Engaging storytelling also expands their listening skills and comprehension.
… increases understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures. It helps children open their eyes to new things, worlds, cultures, places, expand their horizons and develop empathy.
… helps children understand how to deal with problems and real life situations in a creative way, like the characters in their stories do!
… promotes well-being, bonding and relaxation. It helps soothe a tiring and difficult day and brings family together.
How can parents support storytelling at home?
You don’t have to be a gifted storyteller to share stories with your children!
Storytelling can be as simple as sharing stories from your childhood (they really enjoy the funny ones!) or talking about your day. You can read or look at a picture book, sing songs or share stories from your culture.
You can start reading aloud to your baby as early as you like. Your baby loves hearing your voice, looking at pictures and listening to rhymes. Telling stories, songs and rhymes are great activities for early literacy. Babies and young children enjoy books, songs and stories with good rhyme, rhythm and repetition. You can also use toys, puppets or other of your child’s favourite toys to create a story together.
Telling stories using baby sign language
How does signing fit in?
When telling a story, keep eye contact and use expressions and signs to highlight the meaning. Signing along to stories helps little ones grasp the content and structure of a story easier. Children can sign sentences by linking signs together, which gives them a head start in spoken language, too!
Did you know?
By using signs alongside stories, your child:
develops early literacy skills
understands and follows the story easier
gains more confidence in communication
builds a larger word bank
develops better hand/eye coordination
If you are looking for some inspiration, our Rhyme + Sign adventures are an excellent choice for you and your little one to share!
Would you like to learn how to explore baby signing topics with your little one?
Check out our online Sing, Sign + Rhyme baby signing classes and start learning from the comfort of your home.