chapter  6
11 Pages

Words, words, words: Storytelling, language and literacy

The publication of Speaking, Listening, Learning:Working with Children in Key Stages 1 and 2 (for schools in England and Wales; DfEE, 2003) highlighted the role of children’s talk in the classroom and the need for teachers to take a strategic interest in developing children’s skills in speaking and listening, alongside those of reading and writing. Further, the profile of speaking and listening was raised by the publication of the Early Years Foundation Stage (DCSF, 2008b), which placed a strong emphasis on the role of talk (including story) in developing children’s response to, and understanding of, language and the sounds from which it is constructed. Few would deny that storytelling plays an important role within children’s experiences of speaking and listening, and in this context professional storytellers may continue to enjoy demand for their services in school. However, if storytelling is to achieve its potential as both a model of talk and a means of engaging children with narrative, then it cannot be regarded simply as the preserve of the specialist teller of tales. This book advocates storytelling as a key pedagogic skill across the primary curriculum, but it is in the area of developing children’s language and literacy that it has its most immediate and apparent relevance.