This is a conclusion to my series on helping our children and students learn to love Reading and Writing. This series has included
- the initial post (see link above), as well as
- an article about helping your kids (of all ages!) write creatively – for fun!,
- more ideas for easily working in some creative writing exercises throughout your day,and
- more storytelling activities that are fun for all ages.
This series includes a free printable for some storytelling prompts / story formulas that I made for my own kids and wanted to share with my readers. You can find more information about that in any of the above articles.
5 Reasons to Encourage Your Kids to Tell Stories
I wanted to end this series with a short list of reasons why it is beneficial to help young kids develop storytelling skills. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and came up with the following 5 reasons for encouraging kids to tell stories:
- Conversations: Any time you can have a conversation with your children, it helps build a trusting, happy relationship. Helping them tell stories in their own words provides a great setting for many fun conversations!
- They know you care: When kids see you writing down their words, it shows them that you care about what they have to say.
- Validation: It also validates their thought processes. Sometimes kids may not be so confident in their own ability to learn or explain things, but when you write down everything they say and make it “official,” this gives them a huge boost in their confidence and makes them feel better about themselves as learners.
- Authentic practice for otherwise boring stuff: Writing (or narrating to you, the writer) helps kids practice all kinds of grammar that they normally might not have a cause to focus on. For example, if they’re telling you part of a story and using the wrong tense, you can help them rephrase it to say it correctly. I always believe that the best way to learn a skill is to do so in a genuine setting; asking them to tell stories provides a fun authentic context to practice grammar and parts of speech that otherwise may just show up on worksheets and in textbooks.
- Memory-making: The stories kids tell when they’re really young bear a distinctively genuine flavor; a lot of this gets stripped away as kids get older and more self-conscious and learn how to write the “right way.” Personality shines through in these kinds of stream-of-consciousness storytelling exercises and makes for great keepsakes for kids to read when they get older.
I’m currently reading through The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas; 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12 by Linda Dobson and I am loving the author’s introduction. She talks about helping kids love learning (which is pretty much the premise of my entire website as well!) and differentiates between what she calls “education mind” (basically, a focus on truly learning a concept) and “school mind” (basically, the process of following a set pattern of steps in the cultural system of education as we’ve collectively come to know it).
The incredible value of communication
One quote in particular really stood out to me in light of my personal conviction that storytelling is a valuable experience for kids – even if it doesn’t result in “high quality content.” She mentions a conversation between Jane Healy (author of Endagered Minds) and Dr. Arnold Scheibel (co-author of a preliminary study on postnatal development of the brain’s motor speech area), where Dr. Scheibel said,
Interaction with adults, including language stimulation, is one of the growing brain’s most important assets. Without being melodramatic, I think it would be very important to tell parents they are participating with the physical development of their youngsters’ brains to the exact degree that they interact with them, communicate with them. Language interaction is actually building tissue in their brains — so it’s also helping build youngsters’ futures.” (The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas, pg. 16)
The journey, not the destination
So keep in mind that it’s not the end result that matters so much – whether or not the story makes sense or follows correct form or uses correct grammar is almost irrelevant. All of that will be perfected in time. It’s the process of communicating with your children that is the focus here. You will help them build necessary language structures and critical thinking skills through an abundance of conversations with them and as you help encourage them to tell stories. <3
One last note: Please don’t be tempted to “grade” these stories. Just enjoy the process and see where your kids’ imaginations will take them. Give them plenty of space, opportunity, and encouragement to be creative with no expectation of what that should look like — i think you’ll be surprised every time by what they can do! <3
What else would you add to this list? I’d love to hear how storytelling is going with your family!
Learning Resources for Teachers, Tutors, and Parents
If you’d like to visit my store to see my library of learning resources (focused on Pre-K – 3rd grade Math, Reading, and Writing, and High School Algebra and Geometry), you can check it out here: