Stories have been part of human life since the first campfire. Some say that the first humans invented language in order to tell the stories of the animals they drew in their caves.
We still tell stories. It’s in our DNA.
So why not tell stories in your new language.
Suppose you are just starting out in your new language, and you want to tell the story of the fox and the grapes.
Let’s see how this makes your language go zoom.
1. Storytelling stretches vocabulary
You can tell many simple stories by using words you already know. We call them ‘high frequency words.’
But to carry the main point of many stories, you need to learn some new words.
Have fun trying to get across the concept “fox” by using words you may already know, like “dog, small, long, red, and white.” You’ll probably learn some more new words along the way, like “tail” or “wild” or “crafty.”
You really want to tell that story, so you are motivated to learn the words you need.
2. Storytelling puts grammar to work
When you tell a story, you explain something that has happened or is happening. See? You’re learning past tense and present tense.
Welcome to the real world of grammar!
Also, a good story is made up of several events. Words can tie those events together and keep the story flowing.
See! I just used “also” in the previous sentence. Those connecting words (grammar) are important because they tie together the parts of every good story.
3. Storytelling helps you remember
Instead of learning a list of words, or filling out a grammar worksheet, you’ve learned a whole lot of language that is strongly connected to a story you already know.
All the connections to ideas and stories already yours encourages your brain to stash your new knowledge in long-term memory!
And because you have worked so hard to prepare your story, you want to practice it with others. .
Go ahead! It’ll help your brain to remember the grammar and vocabulary that you worked so hard to get.
4. Storytelling connects people
Everyone loves a good story. By telling stories, you have more time talking with more people.
Sure, you’ll fumble a bit, that’s part of the process, but you won’t have to carry the give and take of a real, spontaneous conversation.
Your friends will listen carefully. They’ll even refine it for you. Viola—more language learning! See how natural that is?
Even better, one story leads to another.
As you learn to tell stories, you can start telling your story. Doesn’t everyone have at least one personal “sour grapes” story? Most all of Aesop’s Fables lend themselves to, “something like that happened to me once…”
Storytelling invites your friends to share their stories with you.
After all, isn’t that the whole point of being fluent?
Would you like to learn more about using storytelling to gain fluency?
At Mosaic, we have a method to help you begin well in this new chapter of your life. We call it the Growing Participant Approach.
With GPA you start with the goal of becoming a part of the story being lived in your new language community.
Our PreFLITE seminar is carefully designed to help you…
• focus on learning hundreds of words you will use all the time
• start with the right simple stories to strengthen your grammar and vocabulary
• select and use well known stories to increase your fluency
• interview native speakers and use their stories to boost your language learning
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