Tell a Good Story
by MICHELLE CROUCH
At the next family gathering, make sure your kiddo pulls up a chair as Abuela regales the table with tales from the archives.
Oral storytelling (verbally passing down family histories, folktales, even jokes) has a rich tradition in Latin America and is crucial in building literacy skills.
“Hearing stories out loud gives kids a better sense of narrative basics, which bolsters their own reading and writing abilities,” says Sophia Espinoza, director of curriculum and learning design at Encantos, an education-technology company in New York City.
Use these tips to help kids practice storytelling:
KEEP TALKING: At dinner or bedtime, describe the highs and lows of your day and have your child do the same by asking open-ended questions, such as “What happened after that?” or “Why was that fun?”
IMPROVISE: A tool developed by playwright Kenn Adams teaches the basics of a well-constructed story. Begin, “Once upon a time…” and let your child answer. Fill in the second line (“And every…”). Then start the next line (“But one day…”) and let your kid add the plot twist.
TRY A PROP: Fill a bag with small items, such as a trompo, a stuffed animal, a penny, a leaf, and a pen. Take something from the bag and begin a story about it. Then let your child select an item and add to the story.