Why Is Storytelling Important in Early Childhood Education?

ALI Staff | Published  March 29, 2024

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication as a way to share experiences, understand others, and entertain. It can also be a powerful learning tool, especially in early childhood education.

Stories have the ability to connect young learners to the content in a more relatable way. They’re also a fun, engaging approach to learning that requires little more than a good narrative linked to your objectives. They also work in tandem with play-based learning

Why is storytelling important in early childhood education? Let’s take a look at the importance of stories in the classroom and story-based learning as a teaching tool.


Why is storytelling important?


What is story-based learning?

Story-based learning is an educational approach that weaves narratives into the learning process. The idea is that when information is embedded within a compelling story, students engage with that information on a deeper level.

A higher level of engagement means better understanding, retention, and application of that new knowledge. Stories also make learning more fun, and any approach that makes learning more enjoyable is bound to be an effective teaching tool.


Why is storytelling important in early childhood?

Storytelling is important in early childhood because it engages children, cultivates language development, and taps into children’s imaginations. Through narratives, children can explore their emotions, expose themselves to new worlds and ideas, and develop a passion for learning.


Top 8 Benefits of Storytelling in Early Childhood Education

The benefits of storytelling go deeper than engagement, although that’s certainly a huge perk. Let’s take a closer took at the top benefits of storytelling for your youngest learners.

1. Storytelling supports cognitive development.

Storytelling has a number of noted brain benefits in young students. Stories can stimulate the imagination as students visualize what they see and hear, boost memory skills, and lay a foundation for more complex cognitive processes down the line.


2. Stories are an introduction to early literacy.

Through exposure to rich language and plot structures in stories, children can expand their vocabularies, improve their listening comprehension, and start developing early literacy skills. This doesn’t just support language acquisition. It builds the foundation for a love of reading.


3. Stories can teach children about themselves.

Storytelling can be used as a tool for social-emotional learning. Narratives that explore complex emotions, social dynamics, and topics like empathy, resilience, and self-awareness can support students’ emotional intelligence.


4. Storytelling encourages creativity and imagination.

Children who see and hear stories are able to use their innate curiosity to envision worlds and visualize what they’re thinking. This is a great way to foster a student’s creative thinking and develop skills that could support innovation and project-based learning in later grades.


5. Stories can boost cultural understanding.

Diverse stories introduce students to new traditions, cultures, and perspectives they may not have been exposed to otherwise. This can foster empathy, respect, and appreciation for the differences in young learners that they carry with them.


6. Group storytelling can improve social skills.

On top of the social-emotional aspects of storytelling, storytelling as a group activity can promote cooperation, communication, and collaboration. Students must use skills like active listening, turn-taking, and sharing to participate.


7. Storytelling is active learning.

Stories that engage students are a more active approach to learning. Connect to students on an even deeper level with student-led discussions or retellings about stories, props, or visuals to support their learning. You can make stories accessible to all of your students.


8. Storytelling makes learning easier…and more fun!

Engaging stories allow students to build on concentration skills and create pathways for deeper connections with new content. Relatable stories or stories that tap into student interests are an even stronger introduction to literacy and a story-based approach.


Ready to tap into student imaginations? Story-based tools like Kide Science use playful inquiry to connect students to science, math, literacy, and social-emotional concepts in an engaging way. Captivate learners with ready-made lesson plans for your classroom.


Learning Through Storytelling in the Classroom

Now that you’ve heard about the benefits of storytelling in education, you can think about how story-based learning can fit within your classroom. The key is making content more accessible for children. That includes tapping into their interests with stories you know will spark curiosity.

Think about the questions you know your students have about the world around them and lead them on their path of discovery through stories. The basics behind the importance of storytelling are the basics behind phenomenon-based learning, too. These are student-driven tools that give students the opportunity to experience content rather than simply hear about it.

It can also be about exposing children to stories that feature novel ideas. Linda Liukas, the author and illustrator of Hello Ruby, a children’s book about a little girl’s love for technology, loves the idea of expanding students’ worldview through storytelling.

Want to hear more? Listen to Liukas talk more about tapping into students’ imaginations in this podcast with the author.

Here are some takeaways:

  • Stories can make even the most complex topics, like computing and programming, feel more accessible for students.
  • These stories become even more powerful when students feel heard, whether that’s through diverse topics and voices or stories told in their native language.
  • Technology isn’t going anywhere, and your students are likely savvier with tech than you know. Getting creative with tech and storytelling can be a useful teaching tool.
  • That said, don’t drop physical books for technology. There is power in stories told through your fingertips and that physical interaction between books and learning.
  • Don’t be afraid of a changing educational landscape. For the most part, the stories being presented to children are meant to get them more engaged in their learning. 


Why are stories important in education?

Stories are important in education because they can serve as a point of connection for students. They can certainly be used to entertain, but they’re also a great way to inform, engage, and make complex concepts accessible and relatable.

Through narrative storytelling, students explore diverse perspectives, sharpen their critical thinking skills, and develop empathy. Stories foster language skills and ignite imaginations, especially in our youngest learners.  


Teach science, math, SEL, literacy, critical thinking, and more with confidence with our research-backed, child-led activities!

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