A recent study by Dr Elaine Millard and Dr Josephine Brady proves again, the power of the Story Spinner DVDs in shaping and improving children’s writing. Published in the April Edition of the UKLA magazine Literacy –
“What can be claimed without reservation, is that tales told by a skilled story teller had powerfully engaged the children’s interest so that they had remembered the language they had heard and were able in this context to translate this into richer ways of developing their own story characters and narrative sequences. Most had, as has been previously noted by Marilyn Mottram, achieved a ‘‘more assured story voice’’ (Mottram, 2009, p. 6). This had found expression in this project through their written retellings.”
Story tellers and story telling are invaluable resources for stimulating children’s interest in the language of story. Teachers can use the resources of Story Spinners to develop their own story telling skills.
The second task, which was strongly linked to narratives from the Story Spinner collection, showed the children’s improved understanding of both narrative structure and character development in the written versions.
Teachers’ evaluations confirmed the value of the Story Spinner resource as a way into telling and writing stories. They reported that children had found the story teller entrancing and his words had remained in their memories, expanding their language repertoire. In this project hearing stories initially without the representation of dramatic action, but with the power of the story teller’s personality projected in voice, gesture and facial expression was the key to developing children’s own story telling. The stories themselves and the dramatic way they were told provided teachers with a powerful medium for the drama based activities that led up to writing. Children in this study benefited from encountering both traditional and contemporary stories in oral as well as in written forms and so teachers’ approaches to developing writing skills need to be informed by a clearer understanding of the particular affordances of stories accessed from a range of sources.
Read the full report here.