Storytelling vs. Reading to oneself

Many times when hearing story, students will not understand every word being spoken. Many times students can deduce the meaning from the context of the story. They might ask about a word, or a phrase in order to understand the situation presented in the storyline. Sometimes it’s necessary to adapt language in order to be understood by the audience. Another option is to explain the situation or happenstance in other words.

Story telling is about real life using real language. I find it hard to tell a story using one verb tense; for example, telling a story in the present tense. A well told story allows the listeners to comprehend and look over what they don’t know.

This approach is different from reading a story to yourself. In reading, the student may prep by learning new vocabulary and grammar. The student uses other skills and tools to understand the story. When reading to oneself, students might get stuck on words or sentence structure. Students can study the text to get a better understanding of how language fits together and analyze grammatical points.

When story telling, you control the flow of the story. You decide where to focus and what you think is relevant to the lesson. Story telling draws attention to vocabulary, rhythm and structure. Students must rely on listening skills for comprehension.

Complimentary activities can be used to reinforce language and grammar learning.

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Thalya Goldfeld

Thalya Goldfeld, (Masters in Education, CUNY) is an experienced teacher and teacher trainer. Specializes in English language storytelling for young learners.

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