Статья опубликована в рамках: Научного журнала «Студенческий» № 8(28)
Рубрика журнала: Педагогика
master student, Faculty of Education & Humanities Suleyman Demirel University,
This paper aims at investigating the impact of storytelling on learners’ reading comprehension. Storytelling in the classroom is a way to get students actively involved in their learning. Reading is an important language skill and a highly complicated act that everyone must learn. Reading is not a single skill but a combination of many skills and processes in which the readers interact with printed words and texts for content and pleasure. Through reading, one can teach writing, speaking, vocabulary items, grammar, spelling and other language aspects. The basic goals of reading are to enable students to gain an understanding of the world and themselves, to develop appreciation and interests, and to find solutions to their personal and group problems.
Keywords: Storytelling, reading comprehension, EFL learners, language teaching methods
Reading is an important language skill and a highly complicated act that everyone must learn. Reading is not solely a single skill but a combination of many skills and processes in which the readers interact with printed words and texts for content and pleasure. Through reading, one can teach writing, speaking, vocabulary items, grammar, spelling and other language aspects. The basic goals of reading are to enable students to gain an understanding of the world and themselves, to develop appreciation and interests, and to find solutions to their personal and group problems.
However, Nabeel, claims that in some English classes, the announcement of a reading assignment elicits moans and groans from students as they envision the long time it will require, the laborious task of looking up words’ meanings in the dictionary. What makes matters worse is that after all the time and efforts; students fail to comprehend the text. Most EFL students, especially school students, are often unable to comprehend a written text effectively. Therefore, teacher’s storytelling aloud, the focus of this study, is one of the factors that may motivate students to read and improve their reading comprehension.
The benefits of using storytelling. Storytelling has been widely investigated, used, checked and practiced by several scholars in language teaching area. Andrew Wright, Jean Brewster and Gail Ellis are among others. Authors provide many examples of the advantages of using storytelling in language teaching. Ellis and Brewster give several reasons why teachers should use storytelling in the English language teaching classroom [1, p.6]:
Wright provides the following reasons for advocating the use of storytelling in the classroom [2, p.14-15]:
The use of storytelling has been linked to improved literacy and language development. When children participate in storytelling it can increase reading comprehension. While children are listening to stories, they are forced to focus because there is no page and no picture to rely on. They must visualize the setting, character, problems and other parts of a story. These are comprehension skills that must be acquired and applied when students are reading in order to gain understanding. Language is used for communication between the people both from the same or diverse lingua cultural background. When we use storytelling, we do not only use language in the text but also the whole context which brings out the meaning. In stories, children learn the language in a context in meaningful way (contextual and situational learning). In teaching and learning processes, when the teachers tell stories while the students listen, they focus on meaning first through using imagination and visualizing the events and almost everything in the stories in their minds. Some teachers may present the new language by repeating the stories several times, and they require students to listen to it carefully. They think that the more the teacher repeats the new language, the better the children will remember, perceive, understand and acquire it, and in this way, they will learn some single words or some sentences. However, some children complain that it is hard to retain them. They quickly forget the new words or sentences because the new language is not presented in a context. They would probably remember the words if they encounter them in a story. There are some other ways to overcome word memory, retention, and gaining. Due to the fact that it is out of our scope we would not tackle this topic in our article right now. Then we would continue about own subject about the use of storytelling effectively in teaching English as a second language.
Stories can provide natural repetition.
When the students read the stories, they tend to pay attention to the key words, and new language can be naturally repeated in stories.
Children’s listening skill can be developed.
The use of storytelling also enhances students’ listening skill. While children listen to the stories, they try to guess the meaning of the new words and to grasp the main idea. Thus storytelling develops children’s listening skill – seeking for details. Some teachers ask children to listen to carefully when they begin to say out the new sentences or words. The results may be that while listening, the children just concentrate on the pronunciation of the words or sentences, but not their meaning or the meaning of the context. Fluency in reading comes as result of visual acuity. Bruan and Chilcoat reported that comic books have always been very popular with children. These researchers explained that because of the high levels of visual cues in comic books they can be useful in the language arts classroom. The high level of visual stimulation motivated the students to read more. Dickinson et al. reported a study of elementary school students who drew characters of the subjects they read in their books. These students scored higher on reading comprehension tests.
Requirements for stories’ selection and then implementation effectively.
What can language teachers do to make the story more accessible is a mail stone question in choosing right stories and using them effectively in classroom instructions for language teaching. Here are some of the ways presented below;
Vocabulary and general meaning:
– Check unfamiliar content of words: We believe that is it necessary to substitute familiar words for them with more unfamiliar ones? (note: – in some stories it is important to keep certain key words, even if they are a little unfamiliar)
– Check idioms: are there any idioms which need to be rephrased in making the language clearer for the learners? (for example, in Little Red Riding Hood the sentence “The beast had a mind to eat her up” could be replaced by “The wolf decided to eat her up”
– Check clarity: would more examples make the meaning of the story more understandable?
– Check tenses: are there too many tenses? Can they be simplified? (for example:
“Everyone was enjoying the ride” can be changed to “everyone enjoyed the ride”)
– Check use of structures: the story may use several structures but you may wish to emphasize one or reduce the number of structures.
– Check word order: in stories the word order sometimes differs from everyday use to create a more dramatic effect (for example: – “down came the rain”), (note: –you will need to decide whether this is confusing or whether the original effect should be kept)
Organization of ideas:
– Check sentence length and complexity: a long sentence may need shortening by splitting it into two sentences. You may have to add other words or mime actions to make the meaning more explicit.
– Check time references: is the sequence of events clear or does it needs to be reinforced by time markers such as first, then, the next day, etc.?
– Check the way ideas are linked: does the relationship between sentences need to be made clearer;
– Check the way ideas are explained: if there is a lot of narrative, would more direct speech make the story easier to follow?
– Look for a single, clearly defined theme, a well-developed sequential plot, a consistent style, standardized characterization (except perhaps for the protagonist), conflict resolution, dramatic appeal, unity, interesting subject matter, and strong emotional content.
– Avoid stories with long explanations or descriptions, flashbacks, subplots, and other literary devices that break the flow of a story.
– Choose stories with positive values that implicitly express joy, compassion, humor, resourcefulness, and other positive aspects of human nature. On the other hand, experts tell us not to be excessively concerned about violence, fear, anger, hatred, lying, etc., in stories [3, p.81-84].
Having provided and presented the hits and principles in choosing the appropriate stories and some exercises in using them effectively in English language teaching now we think it is right to discuss about implementation of storytelling techniques in the classroom instructions.
The Implementation of Storytelling Techniques for Teaching Reading.
Here are some ideas that can be useful for teachers in implementing the storytelling techniques for using storytelling effectively in foreign language teaching:
Compare and contrast: Compare and contrast is suggested to be one of the most effective ways in FLT, since it develops not only speaking skills but also critical thinking, analyzing skills (it might be in different forms: stories, characters, location, time, etc.)
Predict the end of the story: Guessing the end of the story is likely to increase learners’ motivation, develops imagination.
Substitute words with pictures (picture gap): Pictures are always believed to be beneficial in language teaching, and it encourages creativity as well.
Analyze characters: Analysis is definitely necessary in storytelling, especially analysis of characters (to identify positive and negative characters and present the reasons why negative characters became negative).
Split the paragraphs (put in the right order): This technique is good to improve logical thinking and highly like to develop concentration.
Writing group stories: Group work is crucial in language learning; it inspires team spirit and makes the lesson interesting.
Writing individual stories: Even though group work is extremely significant, teacher should encourage individual work too. Because it is quite normal that there may be many shy and introvert students. (Compiled by prof., Dr. Z.Akhmetzhanova and S.Bolat).
Stories educate, teach, illustrate, enlighten, and inspire. They give relief from the routine and stimulate the minds. They are great motivators for teachers as well as for students. Stories are used in an exclusively positive scholastic setting, i.e., no grades, no failures, no textbooks, no notepads, no dictionaries, no costly audiovisual equipment nothing coming between the listener and the storyteller. Storytelling is learned slowly over a long time, but the novice and the expert storytellers can both experience success on different levels. A storyteller eventually makes a personal collection of stories for various occasions and purposes. Storytelling is a folk-art which can't be manipulated, intellectualized, or mass-produced. Its magic lies in its uniqueness. The storyteller is always a teacher, and the teacher is always a kind of storyteller. All teaching methods and suggestions in this article may be adapted to foreign language teaching at different grade and proficiency levels depending upon the type of literature chosen.