Storytelling is an ancient practice that has been used to educate the young and pass on cultural practices for centuries, and, not only is it an important part of South African heritage, it is valuable tool for developing children’s early literacy skills too! This March, in honour of World Storytelling day, Story Powered Schools Literacy Mentors and Story Sparkers held a special storytelling events for adults and children to rekindle this historic art both at home and in the classroom.
Whether in the home or around the fire, many South Africans have fond memories of being told stories as children; what they may not realise though is that this tradition was laying the foundations they needed for language learning, because stories not only expose children to a wide variety of words – helping to develop their vocabularies, they develop sophisticated thinking and reasoning skills too.
“We know that when children find something pleasurable, they are motivated to do it again and again and, when adults and children read and share stories together for fun – especially in home languages, children automatically gain the language skills they need to become good readers and succeed at school,” explains Miachel Cekiso, Story Powered Schools Programme Manager.
Indeed, research has shown that children with a regular habit of reading do better in the classroom, regardless of their family’s social standing or their parents’ employment status. And, what’s more; they do better across all school subjects, not just in languages and spelling.