Storytelling for Teaching English

This week, our volunteer, Charlotte, describes how using stories enhances learning English.

One of our goals here at Firefly Uganda is to cultivate spirit of curiosity, and an appreciation for learning. One of the ways we do that is by engaging the children in stories during English lessons! Studies have shown that storytelling can play a vital role in English education, as it teaches children a deeper understanding of the language, as well as grammar and sentence structure in a fun and familiar way.

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Our students at Sanyu Junior School will often take turns reading pages from a storybook, as pictured (left) with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Not only does reading stories improve literacy, it introduces children to words they wouldn’t otherwise hear in an English lesson. Putting these words in the context of a story allows children to better guess the meaning of a word, and formulate an understanding of what is written beyond just individual definitions.

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Pictured (right) is Teacher Nora walking students through a storyboard of Little Red Riding Hood, while they tell her what happened in the story they just heard. Unfortunately, the way English is taught is too often based on simple memorization, rather than a deep understanding of abstract concepts. Storytelling helps students to grasp these concepts, clearly visualize a description, and predict what might happen next. All of these skills are vital to an appreciation for language, and being able to fully and clearly articulate oneself. Implementing stories into the classroom has already equipped our children with a curiosity for language, as well as an eagerness to have fun while learning!



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