What Brings Children to Writing and Energises Their Early Writing Efforts?

  • Sue LyleEmail author
  • Anna Bolt
Part of the International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development book series (CHILD, volume 17)


This chapter discusses the acquisition of literacy through the Storytelling Curriculum. Assuming children are natural authors we privilege children’s imagination as a source for meaning making. The technical skills of literacy are acquired as a by-product of the social practices engaged in. Detailed understanding of the impact of the approach comes from a case study. Teachers immersed the children in story; fairy tales, picture books and the children’s own dictated stories and provided opportunities for role-play and other dramatic devices for storying. Children’s dictated stories were transcribed and discussion of grammar, punctuation and spelling undertaken with each child. After two terms children in the study had moved to independent, high quality, narrative writing. Standardized reading tests showed gains of between 1 year and 3 years 6 months. Where story, enjoyment and the imagination are at the heart of the writing process children are energised to compose story and learn to write by creating and dictating stories.


Fairy Tale Head Teacher Narrative Interview Special Educational Need Sociocultural Approach 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Appleby, A. N. (1978). The child’s concept of story: Aged two to seventeen. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Black (2008) Literature based storytelling: Read one, tell one. In: S. Miller & L. Pennycuff (Eds.). Retrieved March 23, 2008, from
  3. Booker, C. (2004). The seven basic plots: Why we tell stories. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  4. Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Cazden, C. (2001). Classroom discourse: The language of teaching and learning (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, UK: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  6. Cook-Gumperz, J. (2006). The social construction of literacy (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cooper, P. (2009). The classrooms all young children need: Lessons in teaching from Vivian Paley. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Department for Curriculum, Education and Lifelong Learning in Schools. (2008). The foundation phase, 3–7. Cardiff, Wales: Crown Copyright.Google Scholar
  9. Department for Education and Skills. (2015). Curriculum for Wales: Foundation phase framework revised. Cardiff, Wales: Crown Copyright.Google Scholar
  10. Dyson, A. H. (1989). Multiple worlds of child writers: Friends learning to write. New York: Teachers’ College Press.Google Scholar
  11. Egan, K. (1989). Teaching as story-telling: An alternative approach to teaching and the curriculum in the elementary school. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  12. Egan, K. (1998). The educated mind: How cognitive tools shape our understanding. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Egan, K. (2006). Teaching literacy: Engaging the imagination of new readers and writers. Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  14. Egan, K. (2010). An imaginative approach to teaching (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  15. Egan, K., & Judson, G. (2015). Imagination and the engaged learner: Creative tools for the classroom. New York: Teachers’ College Press.Google Scholar
  16. Estyn. (2011). A strategy and guidance for inspecting literacy for pupils aged 3 to 18 years. Cardiff, Wales: Crown Copyright. Retrieved from: Accessed 21 Jan 2016
  17. Gee, J. (1991). Socio-cultural approaches to Literacy (Literacies). Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 12, 31–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gee, J. (2015). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourse (5th ed.). London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hardy, B. (1975). Tellers and listeners: The Narrative imagination. London: Athlone Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hargreaves, A. (1998). The emotional practice of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14(8), 835–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Janks, H. (2010). Literacy and power. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Lyle, S. (2000). Narrative understanding: Developing a theoretical context for understanding how children make meaning in classroom settings. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32(1), 45–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McEwan, H., & Egan, K. (Eds.). (1985). Narrative in teaching, learning, and research. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  25. Miller, S., & Pennycuff, L. (2008). The Power of Story: Using Storytelling to Improve Literacy Learning. Journal of Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives in Education, 1(1), 36–43.Google Scholar
  26. Nicolini, M. B. (1994). Stories can save us: A defense of narrative writing. English Journal, 83, 56–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nicolopoulou, A. (2010). The alarming disappearance of play from early childhood education. Human Development, 53, 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nicolopoulou, A., McDowell, J., & Brockmeyer, C. (2006). Narrative play and emergent literacy: Storytelling and story-acting meet journal writing. In D. S. Singer, R. M. Golinkoff, & K. Hirsh-Pasek (Eds.), Play = learning: How play motivates and enhances children’s cognitive and social-emotional growth (pp. 124–143). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Paley, V. G. (1981). Wally’s stories. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Paley, V. G. (1984). Boys and girls: Superheroes in the classroom. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  31. Paley, V. G. (2004). A child’s world: The importance of fantasy play. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Perry, K. (2012). What is literacy? A critical overview of sociocultural perspectives. Journal of Language and Literacy Education [Online], 8(1), 50–71.Google Scholar
  33. Pitcher, E. G., & Prelinger, E. (1963). Children tell stories: An analysis of fantasy. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  34. Rosen, H. (1985). Stories and meanings. Sheffield, UK: National Association of Teachers of English.Google Scholar
  35. Steedman, C. (1982). The tidy house. London: Virago.Google Scholar
  36. Street, B. (1984). Literacy in theory and practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and language. Boston, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  38. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological process. In M. Cole (Ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Wertsch, J. V. (1991). Voices of the mind: A sociocultural approach to mediated Action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swansea School of EducationUniversity of Trinity St. David’sSwanseaUK
  2. 2.Glyncollen Primary SchoolSwanseaUK

Personalised recommendations