The Open UniversitySkip to content

Paley’s approach to storytelling and story acting: Research and practice

Flewitt, Rosie; Cremin, Teresa and Mardell, Ben (2016). Paley’s approach to storytelling and story acting: Research and practice. In: Cremin, Teresa; Flewitt, Rosie; Mardell, Ben and Swann, Joan eds. Storytelling in Early Childhood: Enriching language, literacy and classroom culture. London and New York: Routledge.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (217kB) | Preview
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This chapter serves as an anchor for the book by presenting a focused examination of one of Vivian Gussin Paley’s advocated practices in the early childhood classroom: teachers scribing children’s stories (storytelling) and children enacting these later on the same day (story acting). We begin by tracing the approach back to its origins in the 1970s, where as an early childhood teacher in Chicago, Paley was seeking to offer routes into early education that appealed to children from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds, and with different learning needs. We discuss the affinity of her story-based practice with sociocultural theory, and consider key themes that have emerged from research evidence regarding the contribution of storytelling and story acting to young children’s narrative competence, cognitive and oral language development, and their preparedness for school. We also summarise research findings regarding how children share story elements reworked from popular culture and story books, how the approach can promote a cohesive and shared classroom culture, and how meanings are jointly constructed during storytelling and story acting through embodied actions as well as through spoken and written language. We then present an overview of the different routes that have brought teachers in the USA and England to Paley’s storytelling and story-acting curriculum, and the types of training and professional development they have been offered. Lastly, we provide background information on the diverse studies that are referred to across the chapters in this book, including their methodological and ethical stance towards the respectful conduct of research with young children.

Item Type: Book Section
Copyright Holders: 2017 The Authors
ISBN: 1-138-93213-2, 978-1-138-93213-5
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Evaluation of the Helicopter Technique of Storytelling and Story Acting (E-12-002-TC)Not SetMakeBelieve Arts
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport > Education
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Education Futures
Related URLs:
Item ID: 47053
Depositing User: Teresa Cremin
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2016 10:50
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2020 04:01
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU