Story telling is fundamental to human interaction. It is the way that we share experiences, relate to one another and empathize with others. Story telling is the way we keep family memories alive, study history and understand our place in the world. Story telling starts very young. Children as young as 2-3 years begin to share experiences by stringing sentences together (called Heaps by Hedberg and Westby (1993)) and very soon thereafter (age 5) begin to tell well organized cohesive stories with a central character and sequenced events. But, like so many other communication skills that come easily and naturally to many, narrative skills don’t come easily to all. Children may struggle with the linguistic components of a narrative, they may struggle with word retrieval and formulation or they may struggle with taking the perspective of the listener. For these kids, the joy of a story well told is often unattainable. But there is help available.
The Story Grammar Marker
MaryEllen Rooney Moreau, founder of Mindwing Concepts , developed the Story Grammar Marker© more than 20 years ago to support children’s narrative development. According to their website, “ MindWing’s methodology stems from research on oral language development, narrative structure and narrative development by Applebee (1978), Stein and Glenn (1979), Roth and Spekman (1986), Merritt and Liles (1987) and Westby (1991). Our research-based methodology and multi-sensory tools provide an explicit, systematic approach to instruction and intervention on narrative (story) development and expository (content area) text. Our methodology is designed to be implemented across the curriculum and throughout all grade levels targeting the development of oral language skills necessary for comprehension, writing, critical thinking and social-emotional growth.” And now… the Story Grammar Marker is available as an app for the iPad!
And Now it’s Digital
Together with all4mychild, the Story Grammar Marker app was developed to provide teachers, therapists and parents another way to expose kids to this amazing tool. This versatile app can be used to teach the individual components of a narrative or can provide a story scaffold appropriate to the child’s developmental level.
Text and images are easily imported onto a virtual Braidy (the Story Grammar Marker’s nickname) building a visual support …
Once the Braidy is complete, the child can record the story and have it played back as though he is a newscaster on WSGM…
For Younger Kids
All4mychild has also developed the Talking Train app to provide support for our youngest story-tellers. This engaging app uses the framework of a train to provide support for a main idea or story topic (the train engine) and 3 or more details (the train cars)..
Once the child has recorded the story, it can be played for instant feedback or emailed along. The email includes the Talking Train image as well as the child’s recording. But the best part of all is that when the child hits the “GO!” button the train chugs down the track, disappears for a moment, and then comes right back and this is all accompanied by delightful train sound.
So whatever the age of your little story-teller, these two apps will provide the just-right support.
photo by Alexander Lyubavin