Narratives/Story telling skills can be in either spoken or written form
For young children, around 2-3 years their narrative skills level usually allows them to be able to:
Label objects and actions
Talk in the present tense about what’s happening in the here & now, although stories may not be in a sequential order
For children, around 4-5 years their developing narrative skills level usually allows them to be able to:
Talk about a simple sequences of events
Start to link events – and realise that one event will have an affect on another
Develop understanding of story sequencing … that is, that narratives have a beginning, a middle and an end
For children, around 8-9 years their developing narrative skills level usually allows them to be able to:
Give a narrative with a developed plot and fairly complex structure
Begin to understand character’s feelings and point of view
Understand how the ending relates to the beginning and middle of the story
Children with weak narrative skills may experience difficulties with:
- developing social relationships
- accessing the full curriculum
- reading for meaning and inference
- general language skills and vocabulary
- more complex grammar
- spelling and punctuation
Playing sequencing games and teaching question words will help to develop your child’s narrative skills.
Even with very young children, playing ‘Cause and Effect’ games will help them develop an understanding the one event will lead to another. ‘Pop up’ toys are great for this.
As children get a little older and their vocabulary range widens, early stories will help children’s narrative understanding and help to develop more complex cause and effect understanding (eg Lift the flap books).
In our Sprites class (12 months+) our younger members will be benefitting from early picture labeling games and our older members will be using the picture cards to benefit from early narrative cause and effect games.
At around 2+ yrs children begin to understand that sequences of effects have order to them …. so for example, night follows day and that there’s certain things we do in the daytime and certain things at nighttime.
In our Sprinters class (2 - 3 yrs) we will be playing with specially created picture cards to help children sort activities in to sequences … such as starting with a full glass of drink and finishing with an empty glass.
As children are heading towards the pre-school age, they are, with support, able to recognise and order 3 picture card sequences that have a beginning, middle and end.
To help children’s narrative skills continue to develop in to school, it’s good to talk about, make up and play with stories working out the 4 Wh’s (who? where? when? what?)
Who …. Who is the story about? (eg; character)
Where …Where does the story take place? (eg; setting)
When … When does it happen ? (eg: time of day / period)
What … What is the story about? (eg; what happens in the story)
You can start teaching narrative structure early … as young as 2 years of age!