January 21, 2012

Story Telling

Through listening to stories, the focused and often most challenging aspect of reading is removed. Through this removal, children are able to concentrate on the actual story and its events. Imagination, awe and wonder can all be engaged, often resulting in children truly becoming excited about stories. On a sub-conscious level, and I have seen this thorugh my time as a TA, when children watch and listen to other readers, they pick up on inflection, facial movements, exaggeration etc, and are able to transfer this to their own reading. This of course is not a natural transfer for all children, however for those more able readers in terms or word recognition - comprehension and reading fluency can often be improved.

In order to tell a story well, the reader needs to fully engage with the text. Character voices, facial expressions, tone, pitch, volume all contribute to an exciting retelling. I often find that slightly reading (scanning) ahead helps me to anticipate changes I will need to make shortly. During PP2 I realised that it is not necessary to read every single word - I often left out "he said," "she shouted" etc, because I had read the speech in the particular way. Reading every single word can, in some ways, make the text disjointed and hard to follow (For example, it can ruin an attempt at building supsense.)

Listening to stories allows children to gain access to new vocab, new ideas/themes/plots, and encourage relevant questioning. I think my philosophy on reading and story telling is to dive in! Be adventurous, be creative, do voices etc. It is important not to be shy and embarrassed, reading should be fun, it is a past time! If children see teachers having fun with stories, then they will emulate our excitement.

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