Introduction: The Strength of Stories

  • Kelli Jo Kerry-MoranEmail author
  • Juli-Anna Aerila
Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 16)


Narratives in diverse forms are strong forces in children’s lives. Children learn concepts and phrases closely connected to stories, consider moral dilemmas, and tell stories of their daily lives and significant events; they dance, play, dramatize, and develop fantasy worlds through stories while processing information and developing new skills. They learn, grow, and think through stories with other children, adults, and individually. Stories can exert positive and powerful influences in all contexts of children’s lives. This chapter explores what counts as story and the forms that narratives may take. We assert that stories are powerful and protective agents for children. At their best and fullest, stories create meaningful sites for supporting the whole child.


Holistic development Children’s narratives Story 


  1. Aerila, J.-A., & Merisuo-Storm, T. (2017). Emergent readers and the joy of reading. A Finnish perspective. Creative Education, 8, 2485–2500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aerila, J.-A., & Rönkkö, M.-L. (2015). Enjoy and interpret picture books in a child-centered way. Reading Teacher, 68(5), 349–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aerila, J.-A., Rönkkö, M.-L., & Grönman, S. (2016). Visiting hometown museums with preschoolers: Stories and crafts as tools for cultural heritage education. Visitor Studies, 19(2), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allington, R., & Gabriel, R. (2012). Every child, every day. Reading: The Core Skill, 69(6), 10–15.Google Scholar
  5. Aukerman, M., & Schuldt, L. C. (2016). Closely reading, reading closely. Language Arts, 39(4).Google Scholar
  6. Ayhan, A., Simsek, S., & Bicer, A. (2014). An analysis of children’s attitudes towards reading habits. European Journal of Research on Education, Special Issue: Contemporary Studies in Education, 13–18.Google Scholar
  7. Baker, C. E. (2013). Fathers’ and mothers’ home literacy involvement and children’s cognitive and social emotional development: Implications for family literacy programs. Applied Developmental Science, 17(4), 184–197. Scholar
  8. Bamberg, M., & Georgakopoulou, A. (2008). Small stories as a new perspective in narrative and identity analysis. Text & Talk, 28(3), 377–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barthes, R. (1975). An introduction to the structural analysis of narrative (L. Duisit, Trans.) New Literary History, 6(2), 237–272. (Originally published in Communications, 8, 1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Binder, M. M. (2014). The storied lives children play: Multimodal approaches using storytelling. Canadian Children, 39(2), 11–20.Google Scholar
  11. Bruner, J. (1987). Life as narrative. Social Research, 54/1, 11–32.Google Scholar
  12. Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.Google Scholar
  13. Buckingham, W. (2012). The Snorgh and the sailor. Fareham: Alison Green Books.Google Scholar
  14. Campbell, R. (2001). Read-alouds with young children. Newark: The International Reading Association.Google Scholar
  15. Cooper, P. (1993). When stories come to school: Telling, writing, and performing stories in the early childhood classroom. New York: Teachers & Writers Collaborative.Google Scholar
  16. Deitcher, H. (2013). Once upon a time: How Jewish Children's stories impact moral development. Journal of Jewish Education, 79(3), 235–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dickinson, D. K., Griffith, J. A., Michnick Golinkoff, R., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2012). How reading books fosters language development around the world. Child Development Research, 1–15. Scholar
  18. Dowling, M. (2010). Young children’s personal, social and emotional development. New York: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Engel, S. (1995). The stories children tell: Making sense of the narratives of childhood. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company.Google Scholar
  20. Flevares, L., & Schiff, J. (2014). Learning mathematics in two dimensions: A review and look ahead at teaching and learning early childhood mathematics with children’s literature. Frontiers in Psychology.
  21. Gottschall, J. (2012). The storytelling animal. How stories make us human. Houghton: Mariner Books.Google Scholar
  22. Grossman, P. (2001). Research on the teaching of literature: Finding a place. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 416–432). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  23. Haven, K. (2007). Story proof: The science behind the startling power of story. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.Google Scholar
  24. Hohti, R., & Karlsson, L. (2013). Lollipop stories: Listening to children’s voices in the classroom and narrative ethnographical research. Childhood. Scholar
  25. Isbell, R., Sobol, J., Lindauer, L., & Lowrance, A. (2004). The effects of storytelling and story reading on the oral language complexity and story comprehension of young children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 32(3), 157 163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Izumi-Taylor, S., & Scott, J. (2013). Nurturing young children’s moral development through literature in Japan and the USA. Research in Comparative and International Education, 8(1), 38–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Karlsson, L. (2003). Sadutus – Avain osallistavaan toimintakulttuuriin [Story crafting a key to participating culture]. Jyväskylä: PS-kustannus.Google Scholar
  28. Merisuo-Storm, T., & Aerila, J.-A. (2018). Boys’ reading skills and attitudes during the first six school years. In P. Baldwin & P. O. García (Eds.), Reading motivation and achievement differences between boys and girls. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  29. Molloy, G. (2003). Att läsa skönlitteratur med tonåringar. [Reading literature with teenagers]. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  30. Nikolajeva, M., & Scott, C. (2013). How Picturebooks work. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Paley, V. G. (1990). The boy who would be a helicopter: The uses of storytelling in the kindergarten. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Rikama, J. (2005). Kirjallisuudentutkimuksen uusista näkökulmista vetoapua koulun kirjallisuudenopetukselle. [New Perspective of Literature Research as Support to the Literature Education in Schools.]Virke, ÄOL jäsenlehti [Sentence], 21–24.Google Scholar
  33. Short, K., Lynch-Brown, C., & Tomlinson, C. (2018). Essentials of children’s literature. New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
  34. Siren, M., Leino, K., & Nissinen, K. (2018). Nuorten media-arki ja lukutaito. PISA 2015. [Media and literacy in today’s world of young people in PISA 2015]. Helsinki: The Institute of Educational Research and The National Union for Newspapers in Finland.Google Scholar
  35. Slade, S. s., & Griffith, D. (2013). A whole child approach to student success. KEDI Journal of Educational Policy, 10(3), 21–35.Google Scholar
  36. Solomon, D., Watson, & Battistich. (2001). Teaching and schooling effects on moral/prosocial development. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 566–603). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  37. Tartar, M. (2009). Enchanted hunters: The power of stories in childhood. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  38. Zepeda, J. (2014). Stories in the classroom: Building community using storytelling and Storyacting. Journal of Childhood Studies, 39(2). Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana University of PennsylvaniaIndianaUSA
  2. 2.University of TurkuRaumaFinland

Personalised recommendations