Using short videos to develop storytelling skills


As part of our work in schools we run a number of narrative groups to focus on storytelling skills. I found that as the weeks went on the narrative plans had to be adapted for each group. This depended on the needs of the different children and their willingness to engage.

As we all know with any child, sometimes structured plans do not always work and last minute changes need to be made (depending on their mood that day!). After a few weeks of the group the children were becoming familiar with the session plans and knew what to expect by the end of the session. We would read through a story and then discuss the various aspects that need to be included (who, what, where, when and doing what). Children were slowly becoming less engaged in this activity which is when the video clips came into play.

Nowadays children are more motivated and interested in different uses of technology therefore the video clip was used as a reward in the last session. The Pixar video ‘For the birds’ is an animated video clip of a scenario without any dialogue. This provided an opportunity for the children to think of their own ideas about what was happening in the story, what the characters were saying to each other and to predict what would happen next. The video was a great way to encourage children to think of their own scenarios and to collectively create a story.

Using videos is very engaging and it is certainly entertaining to listen to the ideas of the children. It provides an opportunity for me as a therapist to gain more information about the skills the children have developed and whether their narrative skills had improved over the weeks.

Next time your child isn’t interested in listening to or reading story try discussing the pictures instead. Provide your children with a chance to create their own stories and discuss their ideas. Ask your child questions such as ‘who do you think is in the story and what are they doing?’  ‘What do you think is happening?’ or ‘what will happen next?’ Their ideas might even be more interesting than the story you’re trying to read!

– ChatterBug Speech and Language Therapist

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