Reading aloud a story or telling it are useful informal techniques to promote language development, stimulate language use and lastly, to give inputs which will prepare the pupils to read effectively and efficiently. Learning a language formally is only a small visible part of the process of language acquisition and development. Incidental, non-formal, unconscious internalization and use of structures and lexical items are the ways in which learning takes place.
There are two ways in which a story can be narrated to pupils. Both have their advantages and limitations. Teacher can alternate between two styles of narration.
(a) reading aloud
(b) telling a story
Reading aloud is one of the time-favored ways of talking about people, thing happening to them, things they do, their picaresque advantages through a coloring of fantastic, futuristic, improbable as well as realistic elements. The magic of this mélange is irresistible. The advantages of reading aloud are that children will associate stories with books and this in turn will facilitate the development of their reading skills. Also, many rhyming words, onomatopoeic words or repetitive phrases attracts children attention and they want to hear them every time they listen to the story, so text must ensure an accurate reproduction of these elements. Besides it gives pupils the confidence of knowing a story and later narrating it themselves to friends, grandparents and others because they remember the sequence of events. For teacher, it is an easier way to narrate a story without worrying about forgetting the sequence of events or important details of a character, a situation or a happening. The limitation of this narrative style includes a lack of spontaneity and a lack of control over reading speed. Any pause to ask question to check the pupil’s comprehension or inviting their comments tends to be disruptive, breaking the flow of reading aloud.
Telling a story, on the other hand, has a spontaneity, naturalness and intimacy which make it a vivid and enjoyable experience. Teacher reach out to the pupils through her conversational style of narration, maintains an eye contact with all listeners and a changing voice quality and body language according to the character, the action in progress, the atmosphere and the tonal texture of the elements of the narrative. Also, using easier words, repeating catchy phrases or refrains, modifying the story to make it more appealing, and exaggerating body movements and facial expression add to aural comprehension.
Asking questions at various points in the narration about what has happened so far and children to predict what will happen next, is possible without disturbing the flow of telling a story. The limitation of this kind of narration is that teacher has to memorize the story to prevent omission of details or not getting the sequence right.
Thus, both styles and methods of narration are equally effective in presenting language material through an irresistible language experience. They can be used alternately or children can be asked which style they prefer. Visual aids like posters and puppets can be used as effective illustrations to make the storytelling experience a vivid and engrossing one in which exposure to English and the use of the language are crucial objectives. Sound effects or pieces of music at various points can be used for added interest, for example, the sounds of animals, thunder, stormy wind, people running, shouting or crying. Music pieces could include classical, contemporary or folk music.