Why we should consider Story-based Approach at Foundational Stage?
Stories, through involving children directly in their learning process, help them build their own vocabulary. Besides being a rich resource in language learning and teaching, stories also introduce the world beyond their immediate experience, thereby helping children learn much more than words.(NCFFS-145)
Everybody loves a good story, especially children.
Stories are one of the oldest tools of communication. In our culture, stories play a very important role in binding together our families and communities. Stories have been used to talk with children about the world around – nature, animals, people, tell them about the richness of tradition, introduce them to different ways of doing things and engage them in questions of ethics and morality. Stories have also been an effective means of maintaining family and community relationships.
Stories are also able to stimulate the attention and the memory of children because of their emotional connect. Stories play an important role in everyday conversation – different aspects of life are communicated through stories. Since most children have already been introduced to stories in their home language, their use in school is an effective introduction to new languages in a meaningful context.
There is an infinite variety of stories to choose from. At the same time, authentic stories or those that reflect the child’s reality are preferable to adapted stories. These stories not only provide a rich source of ‘authentic input’ but are motivating and challenging. It is not necessary for children to understand each word since pictures, gestures and intonation help them understand the gist of the story and provide them with a sense of achievement.
Stories also serve as a powerful tool for the holistic development of children. They foster language learning as well as emotional, social, and intellectual development.(NCFFS-145)
Teacher Role and Responsibility in Fostering Story Based Approach
Teachers can choose from a rich repository of children’s literature, preferably stories in their home language that children are already familiar with, e.g., traditional stories and tales. Other genres include picture books, myths, legends, folktales, fables, poetry, songs, rhymes, alphabet and counting books, animal stories, stories with humour, and so on.
Teachers must carefully consider the aims they want to achieve while planning a story-based approach. They must think of possible activities, time required, links across the curriculum, the languages children speak – these and similar considerations must inform material preparation as well as lesson planning.
A story-based approach is generally developed on the basis of three phases – pre-story activities, activities while reading a story and post-story activities.
The first step is to select stories based on teaching objectives and children’s needs. This must be followed by considering as well as brainstorming ideas for activities based on the stories, leading to preparation of a lesson plan.
Pre-story reading activities could include the following: Show the cover of the book and the title and talk about it, ask children questions on the name of the story and the picture being used, ask questions about the story to be read, play small games around the story to be read.(NCFFS-145)
Activities while reading could include the following: Repeat and mime vocabulary, hold up cards, predict what is going to happen next, sequence parts of the story, ask yes/no questions, guess the ending.(NCFFS-146)
Post-reading activities could include the following: Choose another title, order pictures or sequence events, make a mini-book or poster, read or act out the story, play games around the story, sing a song about the story, make puppets/masks, retell the story.(NCFFS-146)
Example-Using Stories-Story-based Approach at Foundational Stage
I teach 3-6-year-olds where stories form an important way of keeping all of them engaged, build their imagination, vocabulary as well as to convey and have dialogue on positive learnings. I select a story based on what children like or a value that I want to emphasise and discuss with them. I already have a collection of age-appropriate stories.
Usually before the class, I plan a pre-story activity for context setting, the story itself
(which I sometimes narrate, sometimes play an animated video and sometimes do a role play) and a post-story activity. I also keep in mind the new words they should learn by the end of this period. For example, I have already done an activity on animal flash cards in my circle time as pre-story activity. Now, I plan to do the Panchatantra story on the elephants and the mice.
The story goes like this:
Once upon a time there lived a group of mice under a tree peacefully. But once a group of elephants came that way and destroyed the homes of all the mice because of which many of them were crushed to death. Then the king of mice decided to approach the elephant chief and request him to guide his herd through another route. The elephant king agreed to this and took another route to the water. And so, the lives of the mice were saved. One day a group of elephant-hunters came and trapped many of the elephants in huge nets. Then the elephant king suddenly remembered the king of the mice. He summoned one of the elephants of his herd which had not been trapped, to go and contact the king of mice. On listening to the
elephant, the mice king took his entire group of mice and they cut open the nets which trapped the elephant herd. So, the elephant herd was totally set free.
A friend in need is a friend indeed!
Reference and Excerpt
National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022
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