How do traditional stories support a child's literacy development?

Jul 2012
Children have a natural instinct to listen intently to stories because they are inquisitive and naturally want to discover the end of a particular narrative.

Children often get the first true sense of their surrounding world through traditional stories as they can subtly teach children the importance of respecting different attitudes, cultures and religions, among many other things.

In addition to getting a general grasp of the world, stories also teach children how to read and interpret words to subsequently form sentences:

So, how do traditional stories develop children's literacy skills?

Traditional stories employ traditional techniques
Traditional stories will often vary the length of sentences, complexity of words and expression of characters.

It is these features that allow parents and teachers who read to children to, in turn, vary the volume, tempo and pitch of their voice when re-telling the story.

They also encourage different facial and body expressions to be made on behalf of the reader. This allows children to associate different sounds and actions with different words and phrases.

Traditional stories are different every time
Traditional stories are often very different as you move from book to book. With different themes, narratives and outcomes each time, children are unknowingly becoming aware of different stylistic and writing techniques.

This can encourage children to be more experimental when it comes to writing stories, poems and letters.

Different traditional stories will use punctuation in different contexts and by encouraging children to identify where different full stops, commas, question marks, exclamation marks and speech marks are used, a child's knowledge of punctuation can grow considerably.

Traditional stories give children new ideas
Due to the range of traditional stories which are available, children are always presented with new ideas and concepts regarding everyday life. Therefore, they help children link the outside world with the classroom, home-life and everyday experiences.