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Storytelling for Early Years Foundation Stage children

Little girl reading
When it comes to storytelling, children are naturally gifted. Find a range of activities here to support your Early Years Foundation Stage child's storytelling skills.

Activity 1: Thinking about children's storytelling

Read aloud as many stories as possible and discuss them with your children. Get them to think about what could happen at different stages of the story. Stop at a point where the character has to make a decision and ask, “What do you think they should do?”

Their self esteem will increase as they learn how to make choices and identify with the characters in the story.

Ask your child whether they agree with ending or how they would have ended the story instead. This will encourage them to think about the story and realise that more than one ending is possible; thus helping them to create stories of their own.

Activity 2: Using props in children's stories

Take a story and tell it using objects found around the house. For example, for The Hungry Caterpillar you would need a piece of green fabric for grass, some leaves, various pretend food items and a model caterpillar.

Lay out each item slowly, building up the atmosphere, then tell the story. If you are using a story with different characters in it, always try to use varying voices to match the characters. This encourages children to listen and to copy. Voices are descriptive, rising and falling in order to emphasise points.

Activity 3: Making up stories

Once children get the idea of telling stories in this fashion, they can be encouraged to make up their own in the same way. Find a box and put in it pieces of fabric, some small figures, model trees or food. The aim is to stimulate the child to make up a story using those objects.

Hold up each item and say, “Now what do you think this could be?” Initially they may need a little prompting. A piece of blue material could suggest the sea or the sky. Place it flat on the floor. The next object could be a piece of green material. This could be an island. Then come some animals, trees or people.

Use key questions to help the child build up a story, such as, “Who lives on the island?”, “What’s the weather like?” Then let them add in one more character, such as a teddy bear or favourite toy – what happens when the bear arrives? What is he going to do? The continual questions help the child to develop the story.

Extending learning

Let your child play with the items regularly to create more stories. Perhaps they can choose one of the stories to retell to someone else?

Simple writing skills can be included in the activity, too. Perhaps they can write a title for the story, which is presented at the beginning. Such tasks will help develop their storytelling skills as well as their ability to recall and use a wider range of vocabulary.

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