Storytelling has long held an important role in history. People have passed down stories from generation to generation. It has served as a way to explain and understand the world. There are many different types of stories, which are told for many different purposes. Stories help explain different phenomena, cultural beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and much more. In this unit we will be focusing on folktales and traditional stories arising from the students’ heritages.
Storytelling has many key values for both the individual telling the story and the people listening to the story being told. Among the values that storytelling instills in its participants as stated by Margaret Read Macdonald, in
The Storytellers Start-Up Book,
is that it “hones our literary and imaginative skills. We improve our ability to listen, speak, imagine, compose phrases and create stories” (Pg. 101). Macdonald continues on in her book to say that storytelling broadens our awareness of our own as well as other cultures, allows us to understand ourselves better, gives us a sense of belonging to a group and increases our vocabularies. Jack McGuire lists the benefits in his book
, Creative Storytelling
, by stating, “The specific educational and social benefits to storytelling from a child’s point of view are numerous and well documented” (Pgs. 13-14). Some of the values McGuire touches upon are helping a child recognize patterns in language, stimulating a child’s powers of creativity, providing a child with problem solving and decision making activities, strengthening a child’s capacity to form objective, rational and practical applications, assisting a child to develop skills in dialogue and cooperative interpersonal behavior. It also familiarizes and introduces a child to symbols, and traditions of different cultural heritages shared among the people around them. There are tremendous gains to be made through storytelling as a strategy to increase the oral language of second language learners in particular.