Speaking and Listening: Storytelling
Storytelling is a fun activity that allows children to practice the many skills of KS1 English, speaking and listening. These skills fall under the general headings of speaking, listening, group discussion and interaction, drama, and language variation. Every time children tell a story, or are told a story, all of these skills are brought into the mix and can be learned either by doing (telling a story) or observing (listening and watching others tell a story).
KS1: SpeakingWhen children tell stories they practice every skill of KS1 Speaking. The must speak with clear diction and intonations appropriate to what they are saying, they must choose their words carefully and organise what they say, they must focus on the main points of their story and include appropriate details, and they must take into account their listeners’ needs while they speak. When children listen to stories being told by others, they not only practice their listening skills but they watch the speaking skills of others and learn from these examples.
KS1: ListeningListening to stories being told by others allows children to practice their concentration and identify and remember key points of that story. It also allows them to react to the stories with their own comments and listen to the reactions of others to the same story. When children do not understand what they have heard they practice asking questions, and as they listen they can hear and identify the sound patterns of the storyteller’s language. Often children will not know that they are so actively listening, but guided questions after the fact can help them recall parts of the story and understand how much they were actually thinking while the story was being told.
KS1: Group Discussion and InteractionStorytelling provides a great opportunity for children to become involved with group discussions and interactions as they both tell stories and sit in the audience to listen to others’ stories. At both of these times children learn to take turns when they speak in a group, to back up and give appropriate reasons for their thoughts and opinions and to take into account others’ reactions and thoughts on the same topic. Children also learn to place the stories in context and relate other things they know about the topic, and to continuously extend their ideas as the discussion progresses.
KS1: DramaStorytelling at its best is truly a dramatic art, so it should come as no surprise that it is an activity that meets the drama skills of KS1. When they tell stories children learn how to use their language to convey the setting, characters and emotions, and that they can create and keep up all the different roles of the different characters in the story. As they listen to others’ storytelling, children also watch others do these things and learn how to comment on the drama that has unfolded before them.
KS 1: Language VariationAt KS1 children are learning about language variation in that language and speech often changes in different circumstances and depending upon the particular audience listening to the speech. When storytelling, children learn to vary their language based upon the characters and setting, and also depending on their audience. Similarly, when children listen to a story they hear this variation from the storyteller. At all times, either when telling a story or listening to a story, standard spoken English should be taught and used for children at this stage.
Storytelling is a fun activity that teaches powerful English lessons at KS1. This activity can meet all of the skills required of speaking, listening, group discussion and interaction, drama and language variation, and entertain and enthrall the children while it does it.