Storying as a social context for language development

Authored by: Kathy G. Short , María V. Acevedo , Dorea Kleker , Lauren H. Pangle

The Routledge International Handbook of early Literacy Education

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138787889
eBook ISBN: 9781315766027
Adobe ISBN: 9781317659204


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The complexities of using language in social interactions can be learned in social contexts where young children engage in talk as a social action within everyday interactions to construct meaning through narratives. The role of narratives is especially significant in language development because story is a way of knowing, an instrument of mind that is used to constitute as well as represent reality (Bruner, 1990). Research on storying with young children has emphasized the contexts in families and classrooms that encourage the making and telling of stories, particularly building on the work of Vivian Paley (2004). Within the context of previous research, this study focused on curricular engagements that immerse young children in storying processes and provide spaces for authentic engagement in co-constructing stories with peers and adults. These spaces were examined through a narrative inquiry methodology to identify how these engagements invited particular kinds of talk, stories and language use. The analysis provided insights into how the selection and grouping of books can influence children’s storying as well as the ways in which artifacts and play open up spaces for storying and invite the cultural and linguistic practices of families into the classroom in authentic ways.

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