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Hi, my name is Fiona and I am working on my dissertation to complete my Advanced Diplomer in Childcare and Education.

My research is into language development in preschool children. The question being:

 

Do story aids enhance language development in preschool children?

 

Any opinions or experiences that I could use would be great.

Thanks. Fiona.

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Hi Fiona, and welcome :)

An interesting question and I'm sure the answer is a resounding yes! I'm assuming you mean things like pictures, small world items, puppets, props, etc? I think they are extremely useful in developing children's language skills because they give the child something to focus on and describe; initially what s/he sees, eg "The pink fluffy teddy is jumping into bed!" This then gives the practitioner the chance to develop the sequence by asking suitable open-ended questions to encourage the child's thinking processes, and to draw together real experiences, eg "What do you do after you've jumped into bed?" "Do you think teddy will go to sleep straightaway now, or does he need anything else?"

Puppets and props can be used to develop the language skills further; retelling a familiar story, or making up a new one with the practitioner or peers. Using musical instruments to describe the scene in music is a technique that we use to develop imaginative vocabulary.

We use a "storybag" technique, too. A sparkly sack containing a large piece of fabric, some feathers and a torch, for example could spark off some great stories.

Hope this helps, Fiona. :D

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My answer wouild be' it depends on who is using them' I say this because I have seen the most amazing story tellers who have abosultely no props other than themselves (voice, face, intonation etc) who have held the children's interest and got some great language on the day and later. on the other hand, a person using aids but who doesnt really know what what to do with them and doesnt have the voice, face etc to go with them, can completely lose it. The children may be interested in the item but may lose the impact of the story in terms of them developing their own language. I think your 'question' is loaded to assume an answer of 'yes' but it makes for a better read if you can argue an alternative perspective before drawinfg your own conclusion. good luck with it

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That's a really interesting point, Mundia. I hadn't considered that the question was about the adult doing the stroytelling! We have done quite a bit recently in my area on developing the children's abilities to tell stories, and my frame of reference is very small! :D

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Hi, Thanks for your input Helen and Mundia.

I agree that having a talent for telling a story is the biggest aid in inspiring children. Do you find that boys tend to respond better to a story if it is told with props?

 

Fiona :D

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Hi Ona,

I think most children respond more actively to stories with props and yes it does seem to key into the interests of boys.I also find that boys particularly like "mistakes",humour,silly voices and general "wackiness".

Or maybe I just enjoy being silly!! :o

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  • 1 month later...

Do you think it is a gender issue or a matter of what type of learner a child is? ie if the child is a visual learner, he or she will respond to props better than just listening. A kinesthetic learner may want to touch and handle the props, and will enjoy seeing movement and 'action'. An auditory learner may be happy or even prefer a simple listening activity.

 

As many boys seem to be highly kinesthetic, that would explain the preference for props and action and maybe a faster pace.

 

What do others think?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Nicola,

You have a really interesting point, there. Certainly, I've noticed that some boys in my setting take a keener interest in stories if they are able to take a more active part, even if only to get up, point to something on the big book page and add a comment or an observation. If we get some props to accompany the story, and particularly the musical instruments, the better their attention. Of course, the girls like this too!

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Hi

At my last ,infant,school we were all required to have a book of the week which also had all of the necessary props - al la 'story sacks'. These were put onto a display and the children were allowed access at all times. But first the book should be read with the children and the props used appropriately -so that the children could get some ideas about how to use them .

 

I found that one little boy (reception) -who had little spoken language and was really immature when he came in ,suddenly came to life during our ( the TA and I) rendition of jack and the beanstalk accompanied with a cardboard axe and my rubber plant from home(!).He would often choose this as his activity and then went on to interact well with the other children in later weeks and with different books.Im convinced that the use of props helped bring him out of himself -and the rest of the school noticed how well he was doing.

 

Similar reports were given from the teachers of other years too .

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