Most parents have already heard how important it is to read to their kids. Whether it's reading aloud to your children or simply a home environment that values reading, it's been shown that books having a central presence in the home can have a positive impact on kids' performance in preschool and beyond.
What you might not know is that oral storytelling is important too. This is fundamentally different than reading a picture book aloud to your child, and as a result, brings with it different benefits. Here are some of the reasons why storytelling is an important part of any high-quality preschool program.
- Language skills: Just like reading aloud, storytelling helps preschool children to learn and practice language skills such as vocabulary, sentence structure, and rhythm. The language of oral storytelling is less formal and more interactive than reading from a book, yet more structured than conversation, so it teaches different language skills.
- Imagination: Even when someone else is telling the story, oral storytelling encourages more creativity and imagination than simply reading from a picture book, especially when the storyteller uses opportunities to engage kids in the story. When the story is being told to a group of preschool kids, they can be asked to imagine some element of the story, or chant or sing repetitive elements in the story, such as the refrain of the bad wolf: "Little pig, little pig, let me come in!"
- Creativity: Storytelling can be used to encourage creativity, such as when a group of preschool kids is asked to take turns deciding what happens next. In addition, children can be encouraged to tell stories themselves, even if it's just the story of something they did over the weekend. An atmosphere of storytelling teaches preschool kids not only what constitutes a beginning, middle, and end, but also how to introduce elements that will inspire the rapt attention of their audience.
- Community: Because oral storytelling encourages more involvement than a group of preschool kids passively listening to a story being read to them, storytelling encourages a sense of community within the preschool class. Stories that the kids take turns choosing what happens next, or include the members of the class as characters, encourage a sense of togetherness.
To see for yourself the difference that elements such as oral storytelling make in a high-quality preschool program, contact our Milpitas preschool today.