Storytelling in Early Childhood: Enriching language, literacy, and classroom culture

Cremin, Teresa; Flewitt, Rosie; Mardell, Ben and Swann, Joan eds. (2016). Storytelling in Early Childhood: Enriching language, literacy, and classroom culture. London and New York: Routledge.



Over the past 20 years, a considerable body of research by applied linguists, educationalists, and child psychologists has established the developmental significance of storytelling and imaginary play during early childhood. This book foregrounds the power of children’s own stories and their dictation and dramatisation in the early years classroom. It provides empirical evidence that storytelling and story acting, a pedagogic approach pioneered by Vivian Gussin Paley (1990), affords rich opportunities to foster learning within a play-based and language rich curriculum. Narrative and imaginary play are widely recognised as valuable strategies for the development of spoken language and literacy within early years and elementary classrooms. Nonetheless in accountability cultures, where early years educators are pressured by the ‘drive to literacy’ and policy expectations regarding contested concepts such as ‘reading readiness’ (Whitebread and Bingham, 2012), practitioners often find it hard to make space for children’s own stories. Drawing on studies in the USA and the UK, this edited collection illustrates and explores the multiple dimensions of Paley’s storytelling and story-acting approach and shows how these interrelated practices enhance language and literacy learning, and contribute to an inclusive classroom culture that embraces young children’s diverse interests and learning needs.

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