☰ The Importance of Storytelling

The Importance of Storytelling

Posted on: March 28th 2014

As you can see from the newsletter, as ever, it’s been a busy couple of weeks at Norfolk House and once again we are hurtling towards the end of another term. I don’t know where the time goes. We’ve been a bit luckier with the weather this half term and enjoyed some very sunny days, which seems to energise the children (and staff!) even more.

As you may know, I spend Friday mornings teaching Form 6 and have been super excited to be working with them on Macbeth the past couple of weeks in English. I was listening recently to an article about the importance of making Shakespeare accessible to children in order to develop their appreciation, and indeed last week was Shakespeare week, I was reliably informed by Jasmine. I believe wholeheartedly that if taught in the right way it can be magical for children and quite rightly, Shakespeare still remains one of the world’s great story tellers; if you could have seen the faces of my Form 6 class today, moving all the chairs and desks to the edge of the room so that they could sit on the carpet to be read to, and their sheer pleasure and absorption in the story, I think anyone would agree that it is critical to bring Shakespeare to our younger children and to keep storytelling and sharing alive.

The language that the children came up with to describe the characters was so ambitious and paved the way to introduce even more sophisticated language, not least to make links between their other learning – about dictatorships and tyrannical rule, about megalomania and delusional paranoia, about links with the word megalo to the Greek language, all ‘incidental’ through the use of one story in the classroom.

We sometimes think our children, when they learn to read, should be left to do it privately and enter their own worlds and imaginations. There is sincerely a place for that, but to share stories and thoughts, opinions and ideas on them enriches our language and our culture. So when you feel like curling up with your child like you used to when they were little, and sharing a story, do it – even if they think it’s a bit potty! We all love sharing stories and getting lost together in characters and imagination… I think it’s what keeps us young!

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