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Learning oral storytelling can improve children's reading and writing skills

A young child reading a book at a table, finger on the page as they look closely at the words.
Michał Parzuchowski

A study from researchers at Utah State University and University of Texas at Austin found that teaching students to tell stories orally could help with their reading and writing skills.

First through fourth grade students with language and literacy difficulties were put in a three-month program where they learned the elements of a story and how story elements work together. They then created their own stories orally rather than writing them down, where they could become stuck due to issues with spelling or handwriting. The students were tested five months after the program, and those who learned and practiced oral storytelling improved their skills more than the control group.

The study comes as reading scores across the country have taken a hit from the pandemic. In Utah, overall proficiency in language arts has dropped over 3% since the 2018 to 2019 school year, according to data from the Utah State Board of Education. Students who struggle with reading will also likely struggle in other subjects as well.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.