Storytelling (1998)

A Foundational Pillar of Literacy

Stories fill every comer of our lives. They come to us unsolicited as we overhear a conversation on the bus, and shock us as we listen to the evening news. We surround our children with stories, reading storybooks to them and encouraging them to read good literature, in the hope that they will visit-in their imagination-a world beyond ours. And most of us also tell them stories about our childhood adventures and their escapades while in diapers, yet, when we think about how to
nurture their literacy, we usually think only of formal literary stories.

Although I would never dispute the importance of printed literature, it is not the sole foundational pillar of literacy. As Canada's renowned novelist Margaret Atwood has noted, literature has roots in the "kitchen stories" that we adults tell children, or that they hear us telling each other while they play or dawdle within earshot. These oral stories, told within the family context, promote emerging literacy in that they shape a child's sense of what makes a good story, they provide a model of how events are woven together in story form, and they potentially shape the child's own life story. What I'm suggesting here is that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have, at the tips of their tongues, a second source of literacy support. Along with reading storybooks, they can offer children a "literacy boost" by telling them family stories.

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APA citation
Anne McKeough. Storytelling 1998. Web. 28 May. 2022 <>
Anne McKeough (1998). Storytelling. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from
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