Narrative skills allow us to understand and express information. We tell stories everyday by introducing ourselves, retelling memories, providing directions, reporting news, describing an event, and persuading others. Good storytellers are able to capture an audience with a compelling and fascinating story. Children experience storytelling first hand through caregivers, teachers, movies, books, etc. Children learn to determine the plot, characters, climax, and conclusion by listening to stories. Eventually, children will develop the skills to retell stories in a cohesive and sequential manner.
If a child demonstrates difficulty with reading comprehension in school, they may experience poor narrative skills as well. The child may have trouble detecting key parts of the story such as the main idea and character development. Problems with verbal narrative skills may include poor topic maintenance, deletion of important details, and poor sentence structure. Below are tips to incorporate at home to increase story telling. Continue to share memories, read books, and create playful stories with your children!
Improving Story Telling:
- Bedtime stories: Creating a consistent routine of nightly story time instills the importance of reading and story telling at a young age.
- Narrate routines: Verbalize the steps to everyday activities in front of your children. For example, at bath time narrate, “First I turn on the hot water, then add the soap, and finally step into the bathtub”. Once children learn sequencing, they will be able to provide verbal directions or steps.
- Imaginary play: Play pretend with your child by creating a story line with dolls, figurines, or dress-up. Create a clear plot with characters, conflict and resolution.
- Ask “wh” questions. Ask specific questions that start with who, what, where, or when instead of black and white questions requiring only a yes or no response. While reading a book, ask “wh” questions throughout to encourage reading comprehension and expressive language.
- Summarize shows and movies: After watching a TV show or movie, ask your child to explain what happened. Guide your child’s response by asking about the characters, scene, conflict, and resolutions.
- Reminisce about the past. Children love to hear stories about themselves. Tell funny stories about them as a child, or reminisce together about fun family activities or vacations.
Story games to encourage storytelling:
- Rory’s Story Cubes: Roll 9 cubes to generate 9 random images and create a story beginning with “Once upon a time…” by incorporating all 9 image elements.
- eeBoo Create and Tell Me A Story Cards: These cards incorporate elements of a fairy tale into beautifully designed cards. Play the game as a group by taking turns adding to the story. The cards inspire story telling, language elements, and imagination.
- Tell Tale Card Game: Consists of 120 illustrations of characters, settings, objects, and emotions for endless imaginary possibilities.
- Good Dog, Carl: A Classic Board Book: This wordless picture book provides children with an opportunity to create their own story line.
Lumiere Therapy Team🖐️
“Storytelling: Why Narrative Skills Are Essential to Communication.” Integrated Children’s Therapy, 1 Mar. 2018, integratedchildrens.com/storytelling-narrative-skills-essential-communication/.