Storytelling and the Learning of the English Language

Who among us does not remember with pleasure and nostalgia being told stories as a child? Listening to fairy tales is, in fact, a fundamental component in the lives of all children. During this period, narration plays an important role in cognitive, social, and emotional development. It stimulates language learning and also responds to the need for children to understand and make sense of reality. Another important aspect in the development of a child is realised through identification with the characters and through emotional participation in the story. The child identifies with facts and characters thus developing important qualities such as empathy, imagination, and problem-solving.

As we grow up, stories continue to have a role in our daily life, albeit in different ways. We all feel the need to tell, reorganise, make sense, and analyse the important moments in our lives. Telling stories is also an excellent educational tool to improve your skills in a foreign language. Fairy tales are widely used to teach English, not only in elementary schools but also in courses for adults.

The Didactic Advantages of Storytelling

From the stylistic point of view, fairy tales are full of repetition and rhymes that facilitate the learning of new words and the understanding of others that may not be so obvious. As they are stories that were created for a young audience, the language is quite elementary and easy to understand. The plot is usually linear and chronological, following a precise pattern: a fairly quiet start, the beginning of a problem, the tests that must be overcome, and a happy ending. Even the images that accompany these stories have many teaching implications, favouring the understanding of events and fostering implicit and deductive learning.

To recap, here are some of the advantages of storytelling:

  • Learn new vocabulary.

    In fairy tales, repetition, anticipation, rhyme, and children’s songs abound. These literary elements are designed to help children understand the story and remember the characters. In the study of the English language, these will help you memorise words.Listen to an audiobook while reading the text. This will allow you to improve your pronunciation and listening comprehension.
  • Learn words in context.

    Learning new words in the course of a narrative allows you to activate the implicit learning linked to the context. To put it simply, even if you do not know the meaning of a term, you can easily extract it from the context. This is also possible thanks to the many repetitions that can be found in these types of stories. Grammatical structures are also implicitly assimilated during the reading of the text.
  • The presence of illustrations.

    The illustrations that accompany the stories facilitate memorization and implicit learning. Try to comment on them while you read, this will help you to mentally organise and memorise any new words.
  • A fixed and predefined structure.

    Both the presence of well-defined characters and the simple, linear plot facilitate understanding. If you opt for traditional fairy tales, then your familiarity with the story will make everything even easier
  • Fun.

    Storytelling is a fun way to learn anything new. We learn easily when we engage in a pleasant activity.
  • Interactivity and exchange.

    If you want to involve your son or daughter in your study of the English language, reading fairy tales is a very useful tool. Children like to comment on, anticipate, and repeat stories, offering additional ideas to learn the language and practise a little.

If you want to improve your English skills and expand your vocabulary, why not try an online course? The ABA English teaching method includes short films as the starting point for the well-structured teaching units. They touch on different aspects of the learning process, fostering communication without neglecting the correct learning of the language and its grammar.

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