Oral Storytelling: a dropped thread in the tapestry of literacy
This article is written by Cyntia Andrew and it stresses the importance of oral foundation in language and literature. Since prehistoric times, lessons, morals, history, and practical knowledge have been passed from generation to generation in the aborigianl culture through oral tradition. Oral storytelling has been a powerful teaching tool in past aboriginal cultures Barton believes in this article that oral storytelling, stimulates the imagination and develps and enhances student's response to literature, including their awareness of story sturcture and sequence.
I feel that there are benefits to oral story telling as argued in this article. When asked if they would rather be in a culture that used books or one that just told stories, most teenagers would opt for books. We tend to think that things that are written down are somehow more true than things we are told. Often when someone tries to tell directions, the listener will say, "Just let me read it for myself" But there are many advantages to using stories to pass down information.
If your friend were robbed on the way to school, would you rather read about it in a letter, hear about it on the phone, or have your friend discuss it over lunch? When we are face-to-face we can use gestures, facial expressions and changes in our voice to make our meaning clear. Our listeners can ask questions and we can have a chance to clear up any misunderstandings. The story seems more real. We can emphasize the events that have meaning or importance for us and shorten the parts that don't. We can choose how to tell the story to different people. We don't tell the same version of a story to our mothers as we do to our best friend or our teacher.
On the other hand when you write something down, you have time to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. You can edit your work to make it clearer. Written work lasts, it is a permanent record of what someone has found out, thinks or feels. Writers can reach a bigger audience even after they are dead. Texts can be translated more easily because the translator can use a dictionary and re-work difficult sentences. The writer does not have to be present when the story is heard. And the reader can enjoy a book privately reading in their own room while eating a favorite snack food.
Both methods of story telling are important but i think oral story telling might depend on how well you know a story and how comfortable you are telling it. As we have learned in the case of the three robbers we all have our own meaning and interpretations to everything we se hear, and read.