Storytelling as a tool for introducing children to reading

Children are captivated by traditional story tales. Perhaps it is because of their magical elements that enchant the little ones. Nowadays, modern story tales try to move away from the traditional ones because they try to be politically correct. However, they continue to make use of the resources of traditional story tales because it is difficult to fight against these magical elements that enchant children so much. Perhaps that is why today’s stories have to employ more multi-sensory and multi-dimensional resources. In any case, in El Antequirófano, today we will deal with the story tale, which will always remain an excellent tool to introduce children to reading.

Definition and structure of the story to start reading with children

The story tale is a short history of imaginary events with a simple structure that encourages creativity and imagination, increases the child’s lexicon and teaches them to deal with situations that are difficult to explain for these developing minds, while at the same time making them enjoy magic and the fantastic.

The story is structured in three parts: exposition, plot and denouement. In the exhibition is an introduction to the story and uses typical phrases such as “Once upon a time…” or “Once upon a time…” to capture the child’s attention. The crux of the story is the part of the story in which the character who has to resolve a given situation appears. Finally, the denouement is the resolution of the story with a happy ending. In this case, the story also makes use of typical phrases such as “and she went to college, and they all lived happily ever after” or “and they lived happily ever after“. These phrases are essential for the child to understand that the story is over. This is fundamental.

Fantastic elements of the story in order to motivate children in reading

1️⃣ Timelessness: Have you ever wondered why the characters in story tales do not age? For example, Aurora, the protagonist of Sleeping Beauty, spends several years asleep because of the spell she falls under. However, neither she nor the characters around her age. Time passes, but it seems that for them it does not. One of the fantastic characteristics of story tales is precisely this, timelessness.

2️⃣ Animism. Any object or phenomenon of nature can come to life. Let us take as an example here the pumpkin turned into a carriage for a few hours in Cinderella

3️⃣ Metamorphosis. This refers to the transformation of animals and objects into people in story tales.

4️⃣ Appearance of fantastic and magical figures such as ogres, fairies, witches, dragons or enchanted castles

Types of stories for pleasant reading

1️⃣ Fairy tales. This category includes any tale in which fantastic or imaginary figures appear (they do not have to be specifically fairies) and characters who are elevated to the status of heroes to solve the problems of the story.

2️⃣ Folktales. Those that have been passed down orally from one community or culture to another. For example, the tales of the Brothers Grimm.

3️⃣ Fables. Here the characters are animals and all take on a role. For example: the wolf, cunning; the sheep, submissiveness. They always have a moral purpose (moral). They are meant to teach a lesson about something.

4️⃣ Mythical tales. In these there is always a hero. That is, the character is either already a hero or is elevated to heroic status. Example: Sinbad the sailor.

5️⃣ Spontaneous stories. These are the ones we make up at a given moment.

Choosing a story for children

  • According to AGE. We will take into account whether the children are non-readers, pre-readers or readers.
  • According to the CALENDAR. For example, if it is Christmas time, we can choose stories that deal with this time of the year to try to explain things related to it.
  • According to ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS. Let’s imagine it’s raining, wouldn’t it be great to tell a story about rain?.
  • According to the EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE. What we want to teach children.

The best ways to tell or read stories with children

  1. Adequate STRUCTURAL ARRANGEMENT. If you have to tell a story to several children, the ideal is for them to stand in a semicircle around the storyteller. It is very important that the narrator is in the child’s sight in order to capture their attention.
  2. SILENCE during the narration. Children will be easily distracted. In fact, it is difficult to keep their attention for more than 5 or 10 minutes. Maintaining a calm and quiet environment is crucial to capture their attention.
  3. Try to CAPTURE THEIR ATTENTION with resources such as the introduction of a typical phrase that the children recognise as the beginning of the story, with the tone of voice, using different voices, gestures or the use of onomatopoeias.
  4. The narrator should KNOW THE STORY before reading it. If children sense that there is a pause, you will lose their attention.
  5. Make the children PARTICIPATE in the story. To do this, we will use tunes and rhymes. For example, in the story of the three little pigs when we say: “and he blew and blew…” so that the children can participate by imitating us.
  6. Finally, it should be clear that the success of the narration will almost always depend on the NARRATOR himself and the resources he uses to interpret the story. We must remember that children are very easily distracted and to attract their attention we will have to make an effort to make the narration interesting for them

❌ Try NOT to LAUGH at them during the narration. If we are all the time saying funalito be quiet, shut up or sit down, we will be interrupting the narration and this should not stop at any time because in that case the children will lose interest in the story.

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