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Author Topic: Any ideas on how to encourage verbal story telling skills with toddlers?  (Read 5289 times)
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« on: September 08, 2013, 08:00:24 AM »

I just want to share my daughters verbal bedtime story she told me tonight and I want advice on where this could be heading and what ideas you parents have for encouraging creative storytelling with toddlers.

Over the last month I have been asking her to tell me a story. We usually turn the lights off and share stories in the dark before bed. I get her going with saying "Once upon a time....." and then add a few questions as her story grows eg "then what happened, what colour was it, who was there..." things like that.
But tonight she didn't need any prompting and just told me this whole story from start to finish.

She is 28 months old and this is her story:

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Chloe
She walked all the way to the salt mash, then walked back “Come on Mum”
Mum packed a picnic, then down to the salt marsh, ate nuts and things…
Walked home “Come on Dad” Dad went to work at Mt Maunganui,
We walked to Mt Maunganui, then home for a nap.
No nap, just went to park, no back for nap then woke up and took tricycle and biked to park then home again.
The End

I'm going to have to start recording them as they are getting longer with more and more details. I want to encourage this creative side of her as I can see it leading to her eventually writing her own stories. But it seems a big jump from verbally saying a story to leaning how to write and writing a story. What are some steps in between that your kids have done, please share ideas.... 


I've been using YBCR, NZ Sign language, Little Reader, Little Musician and now thinking about chinese
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 04:43:48 AM »

Very cute Kiwimum smile

I have a few thought and Ideas, most of which we either did or still do with Alex. We started really trying to work on her narration skills, story-telling, and teaching-back skills at about 2.5, with a big boost in effort just before her 3rd bday.
1) the first thing we started was just getting her to attempt to give a few sentence narration of what had JUST happened in a short picture book we read. Of course, with lots of prompts and questions in the beginning. It sounds as though you are doing something similar with story-telling (which we also did some of then), but I did want to make sure she was also modeling from great books with lovely vocabulary and proper sentence structure.

2) storyboards/puppets- Give her a venue! I bought one of the large felt storyboards, and several sets of felt 'characters' to go with it. I bought a few popular story sets like a farm set, a family set, etc, until there was a pretty good mix. Then I showed her how to use them to enact increasingly elaborate scenes and stories. I read somewhere that having them do this concretely helps them to develop more vivid mental imagery, in greater detail, that translates into their ability to do it without the aids. This made a lot of sense to me, and I have seen it work with Alex.
We also built a larger puppet theater for her for this reason!

3) Rory's Story Cubes- these I HIGHLY recommend! If you haven't seen them, it is a game of sorts. It is basically a set of 10 6-sided dice that have only pictures on them. We have two different sets, the original and an 'actions' set. You roll the dice, look at the pictures you garnered, and have to tell a story around them. It really is hilarious, and it has made me appreciate the sheer genius of the concept--as well as the ability of kiddos to do it!
At your daughters age I would actually suggest making your own: take 4-6 blocks, paste or draw a picture (more effective here than a word because you want them to think in terms of the images. I also find it is useful for memory practice.) these pictures should be things that interest her in the beginning, but make sure to vary the categories. You want a lot of pics that seemingly do NOT go together to get their creative juices flowing:)
Alternatively, there is a Rory's Story Cube app available that is nice.

4) definitely journaling. Let her watch you writing her stories and thoughts on paper. This made a big difference to Alex as she not only loved to read and reread the things she had made up, she wanted to make them bigger and better. I also think it is important that they I know you value their stories enough to record and share them smile

5) vocabulary building- this is something we do a lot of still, with lots of games and apps, but we use specific games for the story-telling/writing aspect of it. For example, if she uses a bland word, we might discuss 4-5 synonyms that might create a more powerful image or convey the meaning she wants. At your kiddos age you might just separately play a simple synonym/antonym game.

6) practice visualization, making 'pictures' in her head. Ask her to take a picture with her mind of something I. Front of her, close her eyes, and practice describing it in detail...eventually you can get her to visualize things for her stories, using more imagination that something tangible she can look at.

7) tell her stories of young children that have written and or published stories at young ages! There is something powerful about a child seeing that another child has done something. I can't think of names of the child authors off the top of my head, but I did look at one point.

Anyway, maybe a couple of ideas will appeal...


Alex\'s YouTube Channel: BabyBibliophile
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 07:43:15 PM »

Great topic and I love what you mentioned.  We have been working on Fables in our homeschool.  What I love about this, and you can definitely implement this with your daughter, is that my kids are getting so creative and having a lot of fun changing the fables around.  We read the Fable several times and they we see if we can change some of the words by finding synonyms or changing the sentence structure.  I have them change the setting and whatever else they want.  I have not ever seen them have this much fun writing.  They laugh and try to outdo each other.  Now, my kids are older and are writing, but you could record or write down your daughter's stories.  She would probably love this.  My older daughter actually writes up more than one version because she enjoys it so much.

I love the ideas of the puppets and felt boards that Keri recommended, but then again, Keri has awesome ideas.  I just want to live next door to her. smile


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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 10:44:29 AM »

Sometimes we play "story telling game". I printed more than 50 small cards with pictures (google: Shichida linking memory flashcards") for the memory linking exercises. We did not succeed with memory linking. Our game is - each participant randomly takes 2 - 4 cards (number of cards increases with age) and compiles a story.

I started it when my first kid was 2.5 (now she is 6). I think, this game raised her creativity in a new level; she become more creative in her other games. When she was 5, she also started to write her own stories (without any pressure from me), designed as books with pictures.

My second child (3.7) seems to be very creative, at least much more creative than most of other kids I know, including my first kid, and including me as a kid. In his games, he makes his own world, with sounds and emotions. And it seems that this game has nothing to do with his creativity. He is making plain "left brain" stories which are boring compared to his life. I will continue smile


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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 07:30:00 AM »

Thanks Keri for your ideas, I googled Rory's cubes and I've got my artist mother to start making a bigger exciting version to start off with, I think this will be a great fun first step.
Frukc I also like the small card idea, I've already got cards like that so thanks for the idea.


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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 05:33:38 AM »

Storytelling has helped me a lot.


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