The Stories Children Tell: Making Sense Of The Narratives Of Childhood

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Henry Holt and Company, Jan 15, 1995 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 250 pages
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Whether presenting their versions of real events or making up tales of adventure and discovery, children enchant us with their stories. But the value of those stories goes beyond their charm. Storytelling is an essential form through which children interpret their own experiences and communicate their view of the world. Each narrative presented by a child is a brushstroke on an evolving self-portrait - a self-portrait the child can reflect on, refer to, and revise.

In The Stories Children Tell, developmental psychologist Susan Engels examines the methods and meanings of children's narratives. She offers a fascinating look at one of the most exciting areas in modern psychology and education.

What is really going on when a child tells or writes a story? Engel's insights into this provocative question are drawn from the latest research findings and dozens of actual children's tales - compelling, funny, sometimes disturbing stories often of unexpected richness and beauty.

In The Stories Children Tell, Susan Engel examines:

- the different functions of storytelling
- the way the storytelling process changes as children develop
- the contributions of parents and peers to storytelling
- the different types of stories children tell
- the development of a child's narrative voice
- the best way of nurturing a child's storytelling skills

Throughout these discussions, Engel presents compelling evidence for what is perhaps her most intriguing idea: that in constructing stories, children are constructing themselves.


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1 The World of Childrens Stories
2 Why Children Tell Stories
3 Perspectives on Narrative
4 The Kinds of Stories Children Tell
5 The Origins of Storytelling
6 Developing a Narrative Voice
7 We Are the Stories We Tell
8 Fostering Narrative Development

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About the author (1995)

Susan Engel, currently a visiting professor of psychology at Williams College, has taught at all levels, from prekindergarten through college. In her research and writing, she has focused on children's language and creative processes and the meaning of their stories. She lives with her husband and three children in New Marlborough, Massachusetts.

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