Pre-Literacy: Narrative Skills


Okay, that video has been around for years. But I don't think there is a more adorable and appropriate way to introduce the pre-literacy skill of narration. When a child understands that stories have structure (usually: beginning, conflict, end), and has the short-term memory to explain elements of a story (characters, setting) or to retell a story they've heard or experienced, they have narrative skills. Speech-Language Pathologist Rachel Betzen explained kindergarten-readiness/pre-literacy skills at, and I stole these narrative-related skills from her checklist:
  •  be able to talk about about his or her everyday experiences
  •   understand two-step verbal directions
  •   understand and remember simple stories
  •   understand 2-3 steps involved in sequences of events or stories
  •   be able to answer simple questions about stories and routine experiences
(end quote) 
Encourage narrative skills by:
  • ask about her or his everyday experiences
  • give two-step verbal directions, and help her or him follow through (ex: Choose a book and bring it to me; Pick up your fork and put it on the table)
  •  ask for help telling a story she or he is familiar with; ask her or him to "read" a favorite picture book to you; perform fingerplays that tell a story, (such as "Itsy Bitsy Spider"); invite her or him to retell a story (ex: tell Grandma about when you saw the dolphins)
  • ask questions about a story: What happened at the beginning of the story?; And then what happened?; Why did he feel sad/frustrated/excited?; Did that [solve the problem]?; What happened at the end?
  • ask simple questions about stories and routine experiences: Where does [the main character] of this book live?; What do you do first every day when you wake up? 

Do you already read, talk, and play like this? What books do your pre-literate tots "read" to you? 

Baby A is currently all about the "Oops!" Hassu kalkkuna! [Silly turkey!] in Boynton's Blue Hat, Green Hat. And look, there's an app for it.

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