Story telling in learning a language

How to get a Spanish conversation
Open Air Dining flickr photo shared by Anne Worner under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Story telling is most often associated with young children. We all remember the tales and narrations told by the elderly family members. When we read stories to children they are absorbed in the content and it helps them to master the skill of speaking and literacy. In a similar way, the great potential that story telling has for learning a language is widely used in learning a second language with both children and adults. Obviously it is not the same when you hear a story in your native language and in the foreign language you have just started to learn. This is why there are various approaches for engaging language learners.

Folktales and fables

Different types of stories may be applied to learning. The oldest form of common pastime was retelling folktales and fables. Long time ago when people did not have access to books and libraries, or were even illiterate, oral narrations were the usual way of listening to imaginative stories from cultures that passed through generations.  Nowadays, they are quite often used in language learning as they also present the typical culture of the language.

Short stories-Family stories and memories

Reading or listening about people, places and events may be a memorable experience in exploiting a new language. Often these types of stories come in simplified versions depending on the level of the individual. Thus, you may find stories beginning from the simplest basic level up to the advanced level. These editions always come along with exercises to practice the comprehension of the reading, listening or writing.  They may be vocabulary practice or grammatical structure exercises.

Benefits of using storytelling

There are multiple benefits of learning a foreign language through stories. First, it helps improving your verbal skills. Expanding your vocabulary, gaining effective verbal and spoken communication are important interpersonal skills we need as individuals to be able to maintain wise communications. Clarity of speech, focused and directed flow of interaction make you a more productive participant in every conversation. Not to mention the influence on writing skills. Storytelling can be a powerful tool for writing because it provides skills for identifying details and understanding important messages. Secondly, storytelling always provides a kind of imagination among the readers or listeners. It can empower individuals to develop new ideas, innovative ways of thinking or numerous solutions to problem solving. Last but not least, if storytelling is audio presented, it develops the listening skills of the learners as listening is also a key to effective communication. Without listening, messages may be easily misunderstood and communication may break down.

As we can see, storytelling as a method in language learning holds advantages necessary for comprehensive interaction, particularly now when the limits of various cultures have widely outstretched and influence our everyday lives. Most importantly, it develops language capacities regarding literacy in all language skills not only when learning a new language but in using your own mother tongue.

Where to find stories in Spanish

If you have a good level let’s say B2 or above the best way is to check some newspapers and magazines.

For instances:

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