Storytelling approach bridges literacy gap for boys, UoL research finds
The Sector > Research > Storytelling approach bridges literacy gap for boys, UoL research finds

Storytelling approach bridges literacy gap for boys, UoL research finds

by Freya Lucas

November 21, 2018

Using a storytelling approach can help boys aged between two and five years of age to catch up with the literacy levels of their same-aged female peers, research conducted by Goldsmiths, University of London (UoL) has found.


The research focused on using the Tales Toolkit program – already widely used in schools both in the UK and worldwide – which was found to encourage imagination and creativity, and provide educators with child-led resources based around symbols to represent and reinforce the structure of a story, and elements such as character, setting, problem and solution.


Research showed that after a year of using the program, literacy scores showed boys learning with the Tales Toolkit had improved 62 per cent, closing the gap with female peers, with no significant difference between boys and girls scores. By contrast in the group not using the toolkit, the gap widened by 22 per cent.


Analysis of the research found both boys and girls enjoyed using the toolkit, and demonstrated progress in the areas of communication and language, creativity, and improved social and emotional skills approximately three months ahead of peers not using the toolkit.


Report author Dr Alice Jones Bartoli said the results were encouraging and showed the program has benefits for all children, adding “(the program) is particularly useful for helping boys to engage with and improve skills associated with developing literacy and creativity.”


Dr Julian Grenier, Headteacher at Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Newham and a National Leader in Education said Tales Toolkit helped children make quicker progress: “We see children joyfully sharing their ideas and stories with practitioners and with their parents. The gains in confidence and enjoyment have been striking.”


Tales Toolkit founder Kate Shelley said: “Tales Toolkit allows teachers the freedom to be creative and fun with their children. The progress in all early years learning was substantial and demonstrates the value of learning in a way which is meaningful and based on children’s interests.”


A report summarising the research, which involved monitoring 662 children in ten schools across England, is available on the Tales Toolkit website.

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