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The Significance of Storytelling for Children

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I have chosen to carry out an investigation into the language of books written for young children based on Gordon Pradl’s study of a child’s concept of story development. In ‘Narratology: The Study of Story Structure’, he states:Applebee describes six stages in children’s event-arrangement, a developmental pattern ranging from heaps (mere lists of unrelated perceptions) to true narratives (complete events that reveal a theme or evaluation of experience). Other researchers have shown that children in the telling of their own stories gradually develop certain literary conventions (once upon a time…) as they grow increasingly sensitive to the overall aesthetic structure of a narrative. Reading books to children is an age-old and trusted method of instilling a basic comfort level in the child with a particular language. Barbara Stoodt remarks, Reading which does not stir their imagination, which does not stretch their minds, not only wastes their time but will not hold them permanently (Stoodt, 61) I believe that interacting and reading books with other people is a more natural way for children to learn basic language skills backed up with practice of high-quality phonics (letters and sounds strategy) The point about reading with children is to open up that most vital human interaction: a conversation. I aim to discover how books introduce new words to children and how illustrations play a key part in this. Furthermore, I aim to explore how effective books are in helping children to acquire linguistic and communicative competence by helping them learn the main aspects of language including phonology, pragmatics, semantics, and syntax.