How Can Storytelling Improve Communication Skills in a 4 Yr Old

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CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

This research was carried out in an Early Childhood Care and Education Centre located in an urban community. It is based on a four year old child whose name is Sarah Lall (not real name). She is very loving and helpful but interaction with her peers is limited since she does not speak in clear sentences. Her words do not take the form of complete sentences and sometimes puzzles the teachers and her peers as to what she is trying to say. Based on face to face interviews with her mother it was clear that she is not given much opportunity to communicate at home which as a result her vocabulary is limited. Many young children lack vital experiences in background knowledge that develop vocabulary and other important concepts for learning (Zill & Collins, 2000). Sarah plays with her toys and looks at television regularly. Her grandfather died about one month ago but she often remembers him and once drew her mummy and her crying for grandpa. (See appendix E). Sarah is of East Indian background and is the only child for her parents. Her mother works from Monday to Saturday and depends on the grandmother to teach Sarah. Limitation of this study

This study had some level of limitations due to a few unforeseen circumstances that occurred during the observation period. The child’s interaction with the materials provided was not fully utilized because of absenteeism due to the death of her grandfather and her inability to focus as she would often talk about her grandfather being in heaven. This resulted in a disadvantage for the teacher and the child.

Rationale:

This study was done to examine the extent to which storytelling can improve communication skills in a four year old child. The idea of storytelling was chosen as it presents characters and roles whereby the child will be able to experience various social interaction and practices that can be suitable in promoting the development of communication and language. Many research studies have shown that children make significant gains in various areas of development through shared storybook experiences (Kaderavek & Justice, 2002). This would also provide the child with acquisition of language and literacy resulting in improvement of communication skills. The teacher have observed this child over a period of time and noticed that she displays a lack of verbal interaction while at play. She uses three to five word sentences that are unclear at times and has to repeat it for clarification. As a result of this her peers would look at each other and shake their shoulders when they don’t understand what she is trying to say and some just laugh. Having observed this, the teacher decided to use active learning strategies through various mediums to assist this child with her sentence construction and speaking ability with her peers. These strategies intended to expand and develop her vocabulary and social interaction with her peers as she learns. The environment was prepared to encourage assimilation of information through her daily interaction and experiences with other children, parents and teachers. In an attempt to assist the child in applying newly learnt vocabulary in meaningful contexts, opportunities were given to enhance language and social communication during authentic and tactile learning experiences. These included the use of storytelling with sequencing cards, storybooks, flash cards, picture books, shared picture reading with peers and self created big books. Shared reading has also been found to have a significant impact on vocabulary development, listening comprehension and understanding of print concepts (High et al, 2000) Objectives

To improve the child’s ability to interact socially with peers. To increase the vocabulary used in a child’s communication. To determine the extent to which storytelling impacts on the improvement of communication in a four year old child. To assist the child in developing her ability to...
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