The Effects of Storytelling and Story Reading on the Oral Language Complexity and Story Comprehension of Young Children

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine how storytelling and story reading influence the language development and story comprehension of young children from 3 to 5 years of age. During the study, two groups of children heard the same 24 stories. Group A heard the stories told and Group B heard the stories read from a book. The language pre- and post-samples were elicited from the participants by retelling a story they had heard and creating a story using a wordless picture book. The language samples were transcribed and analyzed using measures of language complexity and story comprehension. Both storytelling and story reading were found to produce positive gains in oral language. Differences between the two groups indicated that young children who heard the stories told demonstrated improved story comprehension in their retelling, while children in the story reading group improved their language complexity.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

REFERENCES

  1. Aina, O.(1999).The importance of oral storytelling in literacy development.Ohio Reading Teacher,33(1),15–18.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Applebee, A.N.(1978).The child's concept of story.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  3. Chomsky, C.(1972).Stages in language development and reading exposure.Harvard Educational Review,42,1–33.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Collins, F.(1999).The use of traditional storytelling in education to the learning of literacy skills.Early Child Development and Care,152,77–108.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Colon-Vila, A.(1997).Storytelling in an ESL classroom.Teaching PreK-8,27(5),58–59.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Egan, K.(1986).Teaching as storytelling.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  7. Ellis, B.F.(1997).Why tell stories?Storytelling Magazine,9,21–23.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Farrell, C.H.,& Nessell, D.D.(1982).The effects of storytelling: An ancient art for modern classrooms (Report No.ISBN-0-936434-04-X). San Francisco,CA.

  9. Ferreiro, E.,& Taberoski, A.(1982).Literacy before schooling. Portsmouth,NH: Heinemann Educational Books Inc.

  10. Fillmore, L.W.,& Snow, K.E.(2000).What teachers need to know about language (Report No.FL026371).Washington,DC: Center for Applied Linguistics (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.ED444379).

  11. Gavin, W.J.,& Giles, L.(1996).Sample size effects on temporal reliability of language sample measures of preschool children.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research,39(6),1258–1262.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Genishi, C.(1988).Young children's oral language development. Retrieved September 19,2002 from http://npin.org/library/ pre1998/n00406/n00406.html

  13. Huck, C.S., Helper, S.,& Hickman, J.(1989).Children's literature in the elementary school (4th ed.).Fort Worth,TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

  14. Jacobson, L.(2001).Education department advocates clash at NAEYC meeting.Education Week (p.12).

  15. Kaderavek, J.,& Justice, L.M.(2002).Shared storybook reading as an intervention context:Practices and potential pitfalls. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology,11,395–405.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Kim, S.Y.(1999).The effects of storytelling and pretend play on cognitive processes,short-term and long-term narrative recall. Child Study Journal,29(3),175–191.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Kontos, S.,& Wells, W.(1986).What preschool children know about reading and how they learn it.Young Children,42(1), 58–66.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Maguire, J.(1985).Creative storytelling:Choosing,inventing,and sharing tales for children.New York: The Phillip Lief Group, Inc.

  19. Malo, E.,& Bullard, J.(2000).Storytelling and the emergent reader (Report No.CS 217 352).Auckland,New Zealand: The 18th International Reading Association World Congress on Reading (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.ED448464).

  20. Mayer, M.(1973).Frog on his own.New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.

  21. Mayer, M., Mayer, M.(1975).One frog too many.New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.

  22. Morrow, L.M.(1985).Retelling stories:A strategy for improving young children's comprehension,concept of story structure, and oral language complexity.The Elementary School Journal, 85(5),647–661.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Morrow, L.M.(2001).Literacy development in the early years: Helping children read and write. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

  24. Myers, P.(1990).Stories from print. Language Arts,67,824–831.

    Google Scholar 

  25. National Research Council (1998).Preventing reading diffculties in young children. Washington,DC: National Academy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Neuman, S.B.(1999).Books make a difference:A study of access to literacy.Reading Research Quarterly,34,286–311.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Paley, V.G.(1993).You can't say you can't play.Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press.

  28. Palmer, B.C., Harshbarger, S.J.,& Koch, C.A.(2001).Storytelling as a constructivist model for developing language and literacy. Journal of Poetry Therapy,14(4),199–212.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Peck, J.(1989).Using storytelling to promote language and literacy development.The Reading Teacher,43(2),138–141.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Raines, S.,& Isbell, R.(1994).Stories:Children's literature in early education.Albany,NY: Delmar.

  31. Roney, R.C.(1996).Storytelling in the classroom:Some theoretical thoughts.Storytelling World,9,7–9.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Rubin, P.C.,& Wilson, L.(1995).Enhancing language skills in four-and five-year-olds.Retrieved September,19,2002 from http:// www.cfc-efc.ca/docs/cccf/00001046.htm

  33. Silvern, S.(1985).Parent involvement and reading achievement:A review of research and implications for practice.Childhood Education,62(1),44 (See also pp.46,48-50).

  34. Snow, C.E.(1983).Literacy and language:Relationships during the preschool years.Harvard Educational Review,53(2),165–187.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Snow, C.E.(2001).Knowing what we know:Children,teachers, researchers.Educational Researcher,30(7),3–9.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Sobol, J.D.(1992)Innervision and innertext:Oral traditional and oral interpretive modes of story performance.Oral Tradition 7(1),66–86.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Strickland, D.S.,& Morrow, L.M.(1989).Emerging readers and writers/oral language development:Children as storytellers. The Reading Teacher,43(3),260–261.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Trostle, S.,& Hicks, S.J.(1998).The effects of storytelling versus story reading on comprehension and vocabulary knowledge of British primary school children.Reading Improvement,35(3), 127–136.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Walker, V.L.(2001).Traditional versus new media:Storytelling as pedagogy for African-American children (Doctoral dissertation,The University of Texas at Austin,2001).Dissertation Abstracts International,62,820.

  40. Weismer, S.E., Murray-Branch, J.,& Miller, J.F.(1993).Comparison of two methods for promoting productive vocabulary in late talkers.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research,36, 1037–1050.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Wells, G.(1986).The meaning makers:Children using language and using language to learn.Portsmouth,NH: Heinemann Educational Books Inc.

  42. Zeece, P.D.(1997).Bringing books to life:Literature-based storytelling.Early Childhood Education Journal,25(1),39–43.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Isbell, R., Sobol, J., Lindauer, L. et al. The Effects of Storytelling and Story Reading on the Oral Language Complexity and Story Comprehension of Young Children. Early Childhood Education Journal 32, 157–163 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:ECEJ.0000048967.94189.a3

Download citation

  • oral language
  • preschool
  • storytelling
  • story reading