With Labor Day now solidly behind us, there's no kidding ourselves anymore: the school year is officially in full swing. Now that we are settling into our back-to-school routines, let’s consider how more stimulating classroom experiences for children.
We know that children learn more and retain material longer when they are excited by novel experiences or when they’re actively engaged in the classroom. To create a positive classroom experience, how can we we take advantage of a child's natural curiosity?
Margaret Read MacDonald's answer: with story. As MacDonald and her co-authors Jennifer and Nathaniel Whitman explain in Teaching With Story: Classroom Connections to Storytelling, storytelling focused lesson plans can help develop what they refer to as the 7 Cs of storytelling: Community, Character, Communication, Curriculum, Cultural Connections, Creativity, and Confidence.
The 7Cs help demonstrate how educators can use storytelling to enliven their curriculum, develop literacy skills, build positive character traits and even teach creativity while meeting the specific requirements defined by the Common Core Standards. Teaching With Story even provides 20 tried and true sample stories to help teachers get started. A chapter summarizing the research about the benefits of using storytelling is included at the end of the book.
Teaching With Story's celebration of the benefits of story in the classroom isn't based on wishful thinking. Research studies consistently support the importance of storytelling in learning. To mention just a handful of supporting studies, consider the positive correlation between storytelling and improved information recall, the critical role storytelling narratives play in connecting content with our emotions, and the positive correlation between storytelling practice and comprehension and vocabulary – two of the essential skills that the National Reading Panel (NRP) recommends for
strengthening emerging reading skills (along with phonics and fluency).
As a 2015 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award winner, Teaching with Story contains a range of valuable resources for teachers and librarians who want to use storytelling more effectively in their classrooms. Teaching with Story provides teachers and children with techniques for learning to tell stories, as well as lesson plans and classroom activities correlated with the Common Core Standards.