Summer Conference 2014 < Dr. Nicola Grove


Oracy, Literacy and Narrative:
Helping Children with Communication Difficulties become Storytellers

This presentation will address the question of how to enable pupils with a range of communication difficulties to become effective narrators both on and off the page. Stories and storytelling are usually located within the literacy curriculum, but evidence suggests children will benefit in several ways if oral narrative is developed in its own right, as well as in the service of literacy. Oral personal stories, in particular, are virtually excluded from the curriculum but have been shown to provide the key to emotional literacy and narrative competence. The ability to write a story can be naturally and spontaneously mediated through oral telling. At a time when the role of oracy has been challenged and marginalised by political influences, we need to maintain a focus on direct face to face communication in the classroom in order to equip pupils with the skills to function in everyday life.

Nicola Grove is a former English teacher and speech and language therapist who has a lifetime interest in stories, curriculum and special educational needs. Her early work focused on access to literature across the range of ability; her book Ways into Literature (joint winner of a NASEN prize) featured practical ideas and examples from teachers all over the UK who used original works of poetry and fiction in special school classrooms. She taught at the Institute of Education, then at City University, leaving in 2004 to set up the first company of storytellers with learning disabilities, now an award winning charity ( Over the last 10 years she has been researching and developing strategies to enable children and adults with severe and profound communication challenges to engage in personal storytelling. Last year she published the first edited book about storytelling and special educational needs. Using Storytelling to Support Children and Adults with Special Needs Transforming lives through telling tales. The Big book of Storysharing will be published this summer by Speechmark.

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