One of the key components to expanding a child’s vocabulary, developing precise grammar, and increasing social skills is teaching your child how to create a story or a narrative. This key skill assists children with learning how to structure their thoughts to produce an organized narrative. Hence, if your child is having difficulty expressing themselves, this should be one of the skills you should capitalize in teaching. So how do you do it? Before we dive in, keep in mind there are macrostructures and microstructures when it comes to storytelling. In this blog we will be covering the macrostructures.
Macrostructures of Story Telling (Stein & Glenn, 1979)
This is the introduction of the characters and the location of where the story is beginning. This can also include when the story is taking place.
Sally and Jimmy were playing in their front yard after school.
Every story has an underlying issue or problem that is involved. Though it is exciting to get to this point immediately, describing the setting first is vital for developing the problem.
While Jimmy was running away from Sally, he fell over and scratched his knee. He started crying loudly.
This is this part about the problem being resolved or fixed though an action.
Sally ran into the house, grabbed a band aid, and rushed outside to put it on Jimmy.
During this component the storyteller should explain the outcome of the previous action.
He slowly stopped crying, and they both were holding each as they walked into the house. Sally said, “Its okay Jimmy. Mom’s kiss will make it all better.”
Healthy story telling engages the audience not only through the action but also though emotion. Make sure the story includes how the characters are thinking, feeling, or overall state-of-being with one or more characters.
Jimmy felt loved by what his sister did and said. He responded by saying, “I love mom’s kisses”
This is the resolution (final nail in the coffin) to the problem of the story. A good habit to create during this last component is giving a summary of the story.
Once inside the house Mom rushed to Jimmy, kissed his knee, and gave him a big hug. Everyone was smiling and happy. The end.
Having a conversation or dialogue in the story is also something that needs to be included. As seen above a brief dialogued occurred, however, it is acceptable for the storyteller to report that a dialogue occurred. See below for an example.
After mom kissed Jimmy, she told him to take a shower and talked to Sally about chasing her brother.
Your child most likely will have difficulty remembering all the components and will not know how to compose a well-structured story from the get-go. Teaching this will take time. Nevertheless, the impact it will make on them will be immense. Lastly, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Learn how to listen all the way through. Do your best to not interrupt and remember what you wanted to correct
- Make sure to highlight when they included a component and praise them for it
- Sometimes it helps to point out directly what they missed but most often it goes over easier to ask a leading question to show what they missed
- Example: If they missed the internal response ask, “How did Jimmy feel when Sally comforted him?”
- There are developmental levels to creating a story. Please see page 6 in this link (Stein & Glenn, 1979)
- If your child is having difficulty with this, you should set up an appointment with a Speech-Language Pathologist
- If they are good at storytelling, teach them a new word and challenge them to use it in a story