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Storytelling Builds Imagination (Dragons Not Included)

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

Father telling his baby a story

The rhythmic voice of a grandfather telling a story about his childhood, or the varied character voices that a parent uses to tell a made-up story, will linger in a child’s mind for years after the storytelling is finished. This is because stories—real or fiction—spark the imagination of the child listening to them, and encourage that child to listen not just to the words being spoken, but to the emotion and experience of the storyteller.

Research on family storytelling shows that children receive many benefits from the stories their caregivers share with them. Reminiscing with children about the past helps them understand their place in their family history, and teaches them how to empathize with other people’s thoughts and emotions. Hearing and telling stories helps children develop narrative skills, which will serve them well when they begin learning how to read. And there is evidence that storytelling can also help young children build their self-esteem and teach them how to communicate more effectively. 

For parents who are not comfortable reading, telling stories is a great way to encourage language development in babies and toddlers. Parents can start by telling personal stories or favorite fairy tales, and can use props around the home to grab the attention of young children. Another great way to encourage a tradition of storytelling is to invite young children to participate in the action; for example, they can roar like a lion, walk like a tortoise, or taste the porridge in the bear’s bowl. 

Storytelling is a great way to build a closer relationship with a child, and it doesn’t require much in the way of materials. As children grow up hearing their loved ones’ best stories, they are also preparing to one day tell stories of their own. 

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In The News:

VIDEO: Storyteller Anne E. Stewart describes why stories are important to young children, and how parents can tell great stories to their children (no experience needed!). >>

Posted In: Newsletter