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  • The Importance of Storytelling and Story Creation

Helping children who are blind or visually impaired or deafblind to tell their stories is very important to their social, emotional and cognitive development, especially communication and literacy.

Written by: Kate Hurst

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importance of storytelling essay

By Kate Hurst

Perhaps the thing that makes us human is the stories (real and imagined) that each of us has inside. Many people think that the gift of storytelling belongs only to writers, shamans, and the very old. The reality is we are all storytellers from the very earliest days of our lives. Children who are blind and visually impaired or deafblind also have stories inside them. Helping them to tell their stories is very important to their social, emotional and cognitive development, especially communication and literacy.

Stories come in different forms and mediums.

Stories come in a variety of forms: poetry, song, movement, pictures, plays and even Dad Jokes. The creators of the stories use various mediums such as braille, sign language, movies, and dance to share the stories with others. 

Some stories are dynamic, we hear them or experience them and then they are gone. Stories become static when we write them down or record them in some way so we can revisit them over-and-over again. 

Children who are visually impaired or Deafblind, may experience a story by tactually exploring items collected on a walk or playing with the materials used to take a bath if these are placed in an experience box or bag. Another child with low vision may enjoy simple picture books with limited print. Audio and braille are other mediums that may be used to share a story with others. 

The form or the medium are not as important as the story itself or the creation of the story.

Storytelling quote

Stories help us cope.

We make sense of our life experiences in part by the stories we learn or tell ourselves. Imagine a story the young child might create and revisit. 

“It is dark and stormy. I am frightened. I think I see a monster in my closet. Will it hurt me? If I cry out loud Dad or Mom will come save me.”

At the time the child tells himself the story he doesn’t know if it is fiction or nonfiction. He is just building a story based on his experience of what happens when he cries out at night. But the power of that story may help to calm him and take action to meet his own needs. This can be true of many stories we read or hear.

Even stories that might frighten us a bit, help us to cope because the outcome for the protagonist or hero ultimately turns out well.  So, when we face challenges in our own lives we may have a certain belief that everything will be alright eventually if we take action.

Research actually shows that using expressive writing can help us deal with stressful and traumatic events and can even positively impact our health. ( Opening Up by Writing It Down , Pennebaker, J.W. and Smyth, J. M., 2016)

Pen and ink drawing of 3 young children reading a newspaper outside

Stories help us remember and imagine.

Humans are constantly creating stories. We make up stories in our heads about how our day will go before we head for the office. We tell ourselves stories about the amazing places we will see and exciting things we will do as we plan our vacations. We tell ourselves stories about how people treat us and how we treat them. We are our stories.

Many people may not agree that this is storytelling, but it is where many of us begin to learn the power our own memory and imagination. Stories told within a family or in a culture become even more powerful as they are shared year after year. They become part of who we are, what we believe, and how we see our future. 

When we preserve stories in some static form like a book or a recording or a movie, people from different times and places can share that story. Many of these stories guide whole populations in learning how to live their lives (e.g., religious and spiritual texts, the Constitution).

Using our imaginations to modify an existing story or create a fictional world allows us to create solutions to existing problems or imagine places where other challenges exist. For example, think of the different real-life devices that reflect the long-ago creations of Jules Verne in his stories, such as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or From the Earth to the Moon . 

Stories help us solve problems and try on solutions.

Stories also help us to solve problems by providing opportunities to try out different actions that might lead to different outcomes. This is especially true if another person is helping to co-create the story.

When someone is creating a story with us, he or she might suggest a different action than we would suggest. What will be the outcome of the story with this new twist? What might I learn from their suggestion or solution? We can often work through a problem or situation by writing about it or creating a story.

Two students collaborate to co-create a play-based story.

Stories engage our attention.

When we find ourselves sitting in an airport or waiting to see the dentist, reading a magazine or book engages our attention and helps to make time pass more easily. For many of us, there is no better form of escape than to stick our noses in a book and vanish into the story. With the advent of audiobooks and podcasts, many of us listen to stories as we jog or walk or ride in a car or airplane. For many of us, reading or listening to stories is our favorite form of recreation.

Stories help us understand others.

Stories have the ability to help us learn about others and to find understanding and empathy for them and their situations. Whether we actually know the individual or not, hearing their story evokes feelings within us. Learning to relate to others and empathize with them is so important in developing social skills and making friends.

We need stories. 

Stories serve so many purposes in our lives. Stories are about so much more than just reading or listening. They are instrumental in cognitive, social and emotional development. 

Literacy begins with stories others tell us or we tell ourselves. Co-creating stories with an adult or peers helps our children and students begin to create stories they can share with others.

Adults begin “storytelling” with infants and toddlers by sharing nursery rhymes, songs, and bedtime stories. Then we help them to learn to read others’ stories and write their own. 

Stories help us understand others and ourselves. We feel empathy with the characters we encounter in stories. This ability to learn from stories is a skill that will help our students throughout their lives. In addition to academic goals, stories enrich lives and provide guidance to living.

If you want to do something great for your child or student, explore the ways you can begin to co-create stories with them. 

Other articles about the importance of storytelling

Collage on the importance of storytelling

  • Why Is It Important?
  • Reflections by Students
  • What Do We Mean by “Play”?
  • Parallels Between Social & Symbolic Play and Playing with Words
  • Differences Between Social Stories and “Playing with Words” Stories

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Digital Storyteller

Storytelling: What is it and Why is it Important?


It would feel morally wrong to write an article about storytelling and not tell you how our company came to be… Digital Storyteller starts with our Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Amanda Rogers .

In 1997, when the actors union was on strike, Amanda taught herself how to code from a book. (Yes, these were the days before WordPress, Squarespace, and WIX—scary times…)

Anyway, Amanda’s martial arts teacher was an 8th degree blackbelt teaching amazing Tang Soo Do in New York City—and had only five students. Amanda knew he needed a website—so she taught herself to write HTML, CSS, and Javascript to try to help him build a studio.

A year later when Amanda moved to Los Angeles, the studio was thriving. In fact, 80% of the students came to him through the website. She was hooked.

After a few twists and turns, Digital Storyteller was born—an organic digital marketing agency in Encinitas, California.

Today, the team has grown from one to nearly 15. On our team , we’ve got content specialists, social media experts, a client success manager, SEO team, as well as a website and graphic design team to continue what Amanda started.

That’s our story . If you haven’t already recognized the importance of storytelling within a business, we’ll continue on for you. Better yet, we snagged the CEO and Owner of Digital Storyteller to chat about storytelling on camera, Andrew Marr .

What is Storytelling? 

At its core, storytelling is (you guessed it!) about telling stories. Yoast tells us that storytelling is “about using stories to engage your audience, or to make something more clear.”

As humans, we’re wired for story. From each of our early days, it’s likely we recall our parents and the people around us sharing and telling stories. We love to read books and see movies and musicals—why? Because people are addicted to stories.

But what does storytelling look like when it comes to marketing for your business? When it comes to marketing for financial services companies, we see storytelling as making what you do and the services you provide:

  • Relatable 
  • Easy to understand by your audience

Why is Storytelling Important in Marketing?

Storytelling builds trust . Here are some of the stories you can share in your marketing strategy as well as how you can share them:

  • Share your stories on your website
  • Share your origin story
  • Share how you’ve grown
  • Share the challenges your business has faced (How did you overcome these challenges? Did any positives come out?)
  • Share how you help your clients (A lot of companies don’t share how they help their clients. Come on, boast a little!)

As the old adage goes, sharing is caring… Communicating your story with your audience.

A Word of Advice from Our CEO and Owner

So, how important is it to share your company story with your digital followers? (i.e. prospects, people in similar industries, current clients, etc.)

According to Andrew, it’s extremely important if you want to build trust and if you want to build a following. We believe in the power of storytelling. In fact, we start all of our partnerships with a Brand Storytelling Session .

Picture this: You go onto a website. For ease, let’s say it’s a digital marketing agency. You’re looking at their services, considering partnering with this company but you don’t find anything about their story.

There’s nothing about their employees or how the company came to be. Does that make you want to partner with that company even more? No, of course it doesn’t. That’s not the way things go.

For those who feel like it’s weird to talk about yourself or what you bring to the table as a business, for fear of coming off as arrogant or boastful, think about it… It’s your website. That’s kind of the point! 

Let go of the taboo you were taught in grade school, that it’s bad to talk about yourself.

In business, it’s important that you share your success stories and tell people how you help them.

Lastly, share your company culture. People want to know what it’s like to work with you. People wanna know if your employees are happy. Are they going to do a great job for them if they decide to partner with you? Share stories, story after story.

Interested in learning how to build more trust with your prospects and clients? Check out this article on how pricing transparency builds trust .

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  • human behavior

How Telling Stories Makes Us Human

O dds are, you’ve never heard the story of the wild pig and the seacow — but if you’d heard it, you’d be unlikely to forget it. The wild pig and seacow were best friends who enjoyed racing each other for sport. One day, however, the seacow hurt his legs and could run no more. So the wild pig carried him down to the sea, where they could race forever, side by side, one in the water, one on the land.

You can learn a lot from a tale like that — about friendship, cooperation, empathy and an aversion to inequality. And if you were a child in the Agta community — a hunter-gatherer population in The Philippines’ Isabela Province — you’d have grown up on the story, and on many others that teach similar lessons. The Agta are hardly the only peoples who practice storytelling; the custom has been ubiquitous in all cultures over all eras in all parts of the world. Now, a new study in Nature Communications , helps explain why: storytelling is a powerful means of fostering social cooperation and teaching social norms, and it pays valuable dividends to the storytellers themselves, improving their chances of being chosen as social partners, receiving community support and even having healthy offspring.

The researchers, led by anthropologist Daniel Smith of University College London, began their work by conducting a literature search of 89 different stories told by seven different forager cultures in Thailand, Malaysia, Africa and elsewhere. All of the tales carried lessons about social cooperation, empathy and justice, and many taught sexual equality too. The researchers then turned their attention specifically to the Agta, focusing on two communities, with a total of roughly 1,250 people, and conducted a number of experiments to determine the power and purpose of storytelling.

In the first experiment, the investigators asked 297 people across 18 villages in the two communities to vote for the best storytellers in their group. There was no limit on the number of people they could name. The votes in each of the camps were tallied, with higher overall scores taken as an indicator of a camp with more and better storytellers.

A different 290 people in the same camps were then asked to play a resource allocation game, in which people were given up to 12 tokens, each of which could be exchanged for about an eighth of a kilo of rice. They were told they could either keep all of the tokens or give as many as they wished to any or all of up to 12 other residents of the camp the researchers secretly chose. All of the subjects made their decisions privately, in the presence of only the researchers. (At the end of the experiment, all of the rice was distributed to all of the villagers according to the choices the subjects had made.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, the subjects kept an average of 62.6% of the rice tokens for themselves. But the actual total changed camp-to-camp, with every 1% advantage in the number of good storytellers in any community associated with a 2.2% increase in the amount of rice given away in the game. The more good storytellers in a village, in other words, the more generous people were. It is impossible to say definitively that the two were connected, but the fact remained, as the researchers wrote, that “Camps with a greater proportion of skilled storytellers, were associated with increased levels of cooperation.”

In the second experiment, 291 people in the same 18 camps were asked to name a maximum of five people in their own community with whom they would be happy to live. Of the 857 people who were named, those who had been designated as good storytellers in the previous experiment were nearly twice as likely to be chosen as those who weren’t. Remarkably, storytellers were chosen over people who had equally good reputations for hunting, fishing and foraging — which at least suggests that human beings may sometimes prize hearing an especially good story over eating an especially good meal.

Of course, nothing captures natural selection quite like the number of babies any one person has, and storytelling confers that benefit too — at least on the tellers. “Storytelling is a costly behavior,” write the researchers, “requiring an input of time and energy into practice, performance and cognitive processing.” But the payoff for making such an effort is big: When the investigators looked at family groups within the 18 camps, they found that skilled storytellers had, on average, .53 more living children than other people.

One reason for that is obvious: if you’re popular — and storytellers are — you’re more likely to have a partner. Another potential explanation is that the rest of the community is inclined to look favorably on the storyteller’s family and extend help when needed in the form of childcare, pitching in to look after a sick family member, or even offering financial or material support when necessary. Significantly, in the resource sharing game, it was storytellers who were likeliest to be recipients of rice. In the real world, all of this community support gives the children of the storyteller a small but real survival edge.

The investigators concede that one study is by no means conclusive and that further work needs to be conducted. That would especially include longitudinal studies in which the composition and welfare of camps with and without good storytellers is tracked over decades and generations. Over the course of those generations, of course, many more Agta children will continue to hear many more instructive stories: of the sun and the moon — a man and a woman — who fight to a draw in their battle for the sky and choose to cooperate to share the day and the night; of the monkey who became a hero for killing a giant, but was kept wise and humble with the knowledge that all monkeys — even him — must still fear the eagle. All of the stories will merely be make-believe — and all of them will be much more than that too.

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Why Storytelling Matters: Unveiling the Literacy Benefits of Storytelling

Denise E. Agosto

Author photo: Denise E. Agosto

S torytelling is a long-standing tradition in US public and school libraries. Storytelling, not to be confused with story reading , involves telling a story from memory without the aid of a book or written script. Some tellers memorize their stories; others memorize the characters and events and freely tell their stories, varying them with each telling.

Many storytellers have written about the strong emotional connections that storytelling builds with listeners, about children’s deeper engagement with live storytelling than with reading aloud, and about the literacy benefits of storytelling. 1 However, little research has tested whether or not these assumed benefits are real. To investigate the possible literacy benefits of storytelling, I analyzed thank-you cards created by children in a second grade class in response to a live storytelling session. The study findings show support for some of the previously assumed literacy benefits of live oral storytelling and point to the importance of continuing to offer storytelling events in public and school libraries.

What Do We Know about the Literacy Benefits of Storytelling?

Most of the writing about the literacy benefits of storytelling in the professional literature has been based on observations from practice rather than on research findings. Authors of these pieces typically suggest that storytelling helps children to become better listeners and better readers while building vocabulary. 2

A small body of research has tested these assumptions. 3 Three of these studies are highlighted here.

First, Brian Sturm studied the trance-like state that listeners enter when they are deeply involved in listening to oral storytelling. 4 He interviewed children and adults at a storytelling festival and identified six characteristics of the storytelling trance:

“Six categories emerged from the listeners’ descriptions of the storylistening trance phenomenon:

  • Realism: the sense that the story environment or characters are real or alive
  • Lack of awareness: of surroundings or other mental processes
  • visual (both physical watching and mental visualization)
  • auditory (both physical hearing and mental “chatter”)
  • kinesthetic
  • Control: of the experience by the listener, or someone or something else
  • “Placeness:” the sense that the listener “goes somewhere” (often “into”) another space
  • Time distortion: the sense that subjective time moves at a different speed than objective, clock time.” 5

While Sturm didn’t address literacy directly, the deep engagement in story content that he identified has been tied to improvements in literacy skills. 6

Next, Louise Phillips conducted a four-week storytelling program with preschoolers to study the usefulness of storytelling in early education. 7 She found storytelling to build community among students and teachers, to enhance memory recall, to support early literacy development, and to promote creative thinking.

More recently, Jo Kuyvenhoven explored the storytelling trance with fourth and fifth graders. 8 She found that during storytelling, children created mental pictures of the stories and often envisioned themselves in the story settings taking part in the action: “They made [mental] pictures and then slid into participation beyond the classroom walls and storyteller’s presence.” 9 Again, this deep level of engagement has been tied to improved literacy.

Together these studies provide general support for the connection between oral storytelling and improved literacy, but they provide few details about effects on specific literacy skills.

Study Procedures

To begin to investigate the literacy benefits of oral storytelling, I worked with a class of twenty second-grade students in a suburban public school in the Eastern United States. It is a Title 1 school located in a mixed-income, mixed ethnic/racial neighborhood. The study participants included nine girls and eleven boys, all aged seven or eight. Ten of the children were white, non-Hispanic; four were African American; three were Hispanic; and three were Asian American.

I told two stories of about fifteen minutes each to the students, who were seated around me on the classroom floor. It was the first time the class had experienced live storytelling. The first story was an original tale, “The Runaway Pumpkin,” about a boy who plants a pumpkin in his garden. It grows to an enormous size, and he rides it as it bounces out of his garden and across town.

The second story was based on a German folktale “The Three Wishes,” in which an elf grants a woodcutter and his wife three wishes in return for not chopping down the tree in which he lives. The woodcutter first wishes for a large sausage. His wife, angry that he wasted a wish, wishes that the sausage would stick to his nose. The woodcutter is forced to use his third and final wish to remove the sausage. A version of this tale can be found in Margot Zemach’s The Three Wishes: An Old Story . 10

The children appeared to be highly engaged during the stories, frequently giggling and making appropriate comments, such as guessing what would happen next or yelling advice to the characters. I spent about five minutes after each story answering the children’s questions, such as, “Did the woodcutter ever get any more wishes?” After the stories and questions ended, I thanked the students for being a good audience and left the classroom.

Data Collection

When conducting research with children, gathering useful data can be difficult due to still-developing oracy and literacy skills. For this reason, I chose drawings as the main source of data for analyzing the children’s story responses. Immediately following the story session, the children’s teacher asked the class to create thank-you cards to send to the guest storyteller. She gave the children blank pieces of paper to fold into quarters to create cards. Beyond that, she let them create their own designs. She did write my name and the words “Thank you” on the chalkboard for children who needed spelling assistance.

After twenty minutes, she collected the cards, asking each student to “Tell me about your card.” She recorded the students’ responses verbatim.

All twenty children completed the thank-you card task. Fifteen wrote words and drew pictures on their cards. Five wrote words alone—no drawings. Several drew more than one picture, resulting in twenty-four separate drawings for analysis. Each child wrote between thirteen and forty-nine words on his/her card, with an average of twenty-five words per card. All twenty children provided verbal descriptions of their cards, ranging in length from twelve to forty-eight words, with an average length of twenty words.

I used the constant comparative method to analyze the words and drawings. The constant comparative method is the most common method for analyzing qualitative data. 11 Developed by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss for use in developing grounded theory, “the constant comparative method of data analysis is inductive and comparative and so has been widely used throughout qualitative research without building a grounded theory,” as it was used here. 12 The constant comparative method has most commonly been used to analyze qualitative data in word format, but it can also be useful for analyzing visual data, such as drawings:

With drawings, photographs, and/or videos, constant comparative analysis can be conducted to assess similarities and differences among the pictures. The similarities/differences are identified by selecting sections of the pictures to analyze, giving them codes, then grouping the codes together to create themes. As themes emerge, new drawings, photographs, and/or video clips are compared to these themes to determine where this new visual information fits in the overall thematic development. 13

During iterative rounds of coding, the analysis progressed from initial descriptive codes of both the drawings and words (such as “pumpkins”) to more conceptual, inferential codes (such as “critical thinking”). 14

The final coding scheme included four literacy benefits that children can gain from listening to oral storytelling. These include practice in visualization, cognitive engagement, critical thinking, and story sequencing. Each of these skills is described below with supporting examples from the data. They are listed in order from most to least supporting evidence in the data. Note, however, that the amount of supporting data is not necessarily a valid indicator of strong or weak connection between storytelling and each benefit, as some literacy skills are better suited to detection through the study methods (such as visualization) than others (such as story sequencing).


Visualization, or the ability to picture a story or other written information, is a foundational literacy skill, helping young readers to comprehend written texts. 15 In describing their drawings, several children discussed having envisioned the stories as they listened. For example, pointing to her drawing of a pumpkin one of the girls explained: “This is how the pumpkin looked when I saw it in my head.”

As another example, figure 2 shows a tree that another girl drew in response to the story “The Three Wishes.” Her drawing shows that she was able to translate into visual form one of the key story elements.

In this same vein, figure 1 depicts the main character from “The Runaway Pumpkin” standing next to his garden. The drawing depicts the three key physical elements of the story: the protagonist, the pumpkin, and the garden.

Cognitive Engagement

Cognitive engagement has also been tied to improved literacy. 16 If new readers are interested in stories or other reading materials, they are more motivated to try to understand them. Cognitive engagement is hard to determine after a learning activity has ended, but visual observation during the storytelling session showed rapt attention and strong engagement on behalf of most of the children, with most laughing at appropriate points in the stories and many guessing aloud what might happen next or offering verbal advice to the characters.

There was additional evidence of cognitive engagement in the data. For example, one of the girls drew a picture of a figure on a pumpkin and wrote, “I am riding run-away pamkin” on her card, indicating that she imagined herself taking part in the action of the story. Other students reimagined the stories and offered alternate storylines. For instance, one of the boys wrote on his card: “In the three wishes he could of wished for a ton of gold and get a lot of $.” Another wrote: “If I had 3 wishis I well wish for a milion dollrs.” (See figure 3.)

Critical Thinking

Of course, literacy skills involve more than just decoding and understanding words. Critical thinking is also an important component. 17 Throughout the data, there were several examples of participants’ applying critical thinking to the stories they had heard. For example, one of the boys showed evidence of critical thinking when he wrote on his card: “how can a pumpkin bounse?” (See figure 3.) Rather than merely accepting the unusual activity in the story as fact, he questioned it strongly enough to write his question on his card. Critical thinking is closely tied to cognitive engagement; both involve deep thinking about story content and meaning.

Story Sequencing Ability

The fourth and final literacy skill identified in this study is story sequencing, an important skill for literacy development. 18 Story sequencing is the ability to identify different events in a story and place them in chronological order.

Three students each drew a series of vignettes from the stories, showing events in order, such as the series of pumpkins shown in figure 4. Each successive pumpkin is slightly larger than the previous one to represent the growth throughout the story. Arrows clearly indicate the direction of change—from small pumpkin to large—and serve as strong proof of the young artist’s understanding of the order of events in the story.

This single storytelling session enabled a class of second graders to practice at least four important literacy skills: visualization, cognitive engagement, critical thinking, and story sequencing. It’s important to point out that this was a small, preliminary study. While it offers strong evidence that storytelling is beneficial for literacy development, more research with repeated storytelling sessions, different delivery methods, varied types of stories, etc., is needed to determine the full range of literacy benefits of storytelling and the strength of their impact on literacy development. Nonetheless, this study adds to the growing body of work pointing to connections between live storytelling and literacy development, and it provides a strong argument for the continuation of storytelling in public and school libraries.

This study also shows that post-storytelling activities can enhance these literacy benefits. In creating their cards, the study participants demonstrated ongoing cognitive engagement and critical thinking in their drawings, written words, and oral descriptions of their work. Other follow-up activities to enhance the literacy benefits of storytelling, and that are well-suited to library settings, include:

  • Follow-up questions. Asking listening audiences simple follow-up questions related to story comprehension and reflection, such as: “When do you think this story took place?” or “What do you think happened after the story ended?” encourages ongoing cognitive engagement and critical thinking.
  • Personal connection building. Asking questions like: “What was your favorite part of the story and why?” “If you were the main character, what would you have done in her situation?” and “Have you ever had an experience like the one in the story?” helps children learn to connect stories to their own life perspectives and experiences. Learning how to make personal connections can help young readers to comprehend written texts more easily. 19
  • Reenactments. Younger children often enjoy reenacting a story they have heard, thereby enabling them to become a part of the story. Reenactments don’t need to be fancy or involved; the storyteller can simply ask young volunteers to reenact the story as he or she retells it. Or, the storyteller can divide the audience into small groups and encourage each group to act out the story as s/he retells it.
  • Retellings. The storyteller can invite one or more listeners to retell a story after the initial telling to improve recall abilities and to strengthen story sequencing skills. Storytellers can also post audio or video recordings of their tellings to the web to enable children to listen again on their own.
  • Connections to books. Providing book versions of the stories (or of similar stories) for listeners to read in the library or to take home to read encourages continued thinking and reflection.
  • Connections to other stories. As another way to increase children’s critical thinking, storytellers can tell two similar stories or tell a story and read a book version of the same story. Follow-up discussions should focus on asking children how the stories correspond and differ.
  • Response drawings. As shown in this study, asking children to create drawings in response to a story they have heard encourages continued engagement with the story and helps to build visualization skills.

Nearly two hundred years ago, Friedrich Froebel, the founding father of the kindergarten education movement, championed storytelling as an ideal method for educational delivery to young children. 20 Even in the digital age, when many public and school librarians are under pressure to focus programs and lessons on digital-skills building, traditional oral storytelling remains a vital cultural tradition and, as this study has shown, a useful tool for helping new readers build essential literacy skills. 21

There is another equally compelling reason to feature storytelling in public and school libraries: the joy that it brings to young listeners. In addition to showing that storytelling enabled the participants in this study to practice important literacy skills, the data also revealed the joy that many of them experienced during the storytelling session.

They wrote glowing reviews of the experience, such as: “It was so fun and so funny espesially when the pumpkin jumped!” One student even drew a smiling girl’s face on her card. When her teacher asked her about the picture, she said: “I made me smiling at her during the stories when she told it, the stories.”

Live storytelling can bring joy to children and encourage them to view libraries and literacy in a positive light, helping to advance the core mission of libraries. That outcome alone is reason to continue providing storytelling for children in public and school libraries for many years to come. &

  • Cynthia Keller, “Storytelling? Everyone Has a Story,” School Library Monthly 28, no. 5 (February 2012): 10–12; Jerry Pinkney, “The Power of Storytelling,” Horn Book Magazine 91, no. 3 (June 2015): 29–30.
  • Dianne Butler, “Storytelling in the Classroom or Library,” Mississippi Libraries 76, no. 3 (Fall 2013): n.p.; Janice M. Del Negro, “The Whole Story, the Whole Library: Storytelling as a Driving Force,” ILA Reporter 33, no. 2 (April 2015): 4–7.
  • For a more comprehensive review, see Kendall Haven, “The Story of the Story: Research Support for the School Librarian’s Role in Teaching Writing,” School Library Monthly 26, no. 6 (February 2010): 39–41.
  • Brian W. Sturm, “The Enchanted Imagination: Storytelling’s Power to Entrance Listeners,” School Library Media Research 2 (1999), accessed August 8, 2015, .
  • For example, see Susan C. Cantrell et al., “The Impact of Supplemental Instruction on Low-Achieving Adolescents’ Reading Engagement,” Journal of Educational Research 107, no. 1 (2014): 36–58.
  • Louise Phillips, “Storytelling: The Seeds of Children’s Creativity,” Australian Journal of Early Childhood 25, no. 3 (2000): 1–5.
  • Jo Kuyvenhoven, “‘What Happens Inside Your Head When You Are Listening to a Story?’ Children Talk about Their Experience during a Storytelling,” Storytelling, Self, Society 3, no. 2 (2007): 95–114.
  • Ibid., 111.
  • Margot Zemach, The Three Wishes: An Old Story (New York: Farrar, 1986).
  • Denise Agosto and Sandra Hughes-Hassell, “People, Places, and Questions: An Investigation of the Everyday Life Information-Seeking Behaviors of Urban Young Adults,” Library & Information Science Research 27, no. 2 (Spring 2005): 146.
  • Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research (Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter, 1967); Sharan B. Merriam, Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009), 175.
  • Nancy L. Leech and Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, “Qualitative Data Analysis: A Compendium of Techniques and a Framework for Selection for School Psychology Research and Beyond,” School Psychology Quarterly 23, no. 4 (December 2008): 599.
  • Matthew B. Miles and A. Michael Huberman, Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994).
  • Dawnene Hassett, “Teacher Flexibility and Judgment: A Multidynamic Literacy Theory,” Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 8, no. 3 (December 2008): 295–327.
  • For example, see Cantrell et al., “The Impact of Supplemental Instruction on Low-Achieving Adolescents’ Reading Engagement.”
  • For example, see Nancy J. Ellsworth, “Literacy and Critical Thinking,” in Literacy: A Redefinition (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994), 91–108.
  • Maggie Chase, Eun Hye Son, and Stan Steiner, “Sequencing and Graphic Novels with Primary-Grade Students,”  Reading Teacher  67, no. 6 (March 2014): 435–443.
  • For example, see Carter Latendresse, “Literature Circles: Meeting Reading Standards, Making Personal Connections, and Appreciating Other Interpretations,” Middle School Journal 35, no. 3 (January 2004): 13–20.
  • Martha E. Gregor, Storytelling in the Home, School, and Library, 1890–1920 . University of Oregon, Department of History, master’s thesis (2010), accessed August 9, 2015, .
  • Del Negro, “The Whole Story, the Whole Library.”

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Figure 1. An example of visualization

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Telling a Story in Academic Writing

Storytelling is the most engaging way to communicate. In storytelling, writers use a variety of methods to maintain an appealing pace, to create human connections with their readers, and to help readers visualize their ideas. These same techniques are effective across all types of writing. They can be used to make writing assignments more engaging, more readable, and more persuasive.

When you build plot, you think of your writing as a sequence of connected events where anticipation (tension) rises toward a final climactic event, and ends with a resolution.  For an academic argument, you can use the traditional narrative arc as a basic structure. The following shows how these narrative arcs of story structure might map onto academic paper.

  • Story: “This is the background you need to know to understand what’s coming next.”
  • Academic Writing: Introduce the issue and the argument you want to develop.

Rising action

  • Story: “First this happened. Then this happened. Then this happened.”
  • Academic Writing: To build tension, arrange your arguments to build in strength. How each point builds upon the previous one should be clear. For example, in a literature review, you would arrange the previous research to show how and why you came to your own research question. (You might think of this format like a detective story. The problems, successes, or omissions in previous research serve as the “clues” that led you to your own research project).
  • Story: “All of that led to this big event.”
  • Academic Writing: At the climax, reveal your most convincing reasoning and evidence.
  • Story: “Here’s how everything came together at the end.”
  • Academic Writing: In the final phase, summarize your arguments and emphasizing the significance of the issue.

Balance Action with Commentary

Academic writing with too much action - where the writer presents facts and descriptions, one after the other - reads like a rapid-fire list of statements. This kind of writing doesn’t give the reader time to process and reflect on the information. Make sure that you include analysis, reflection, and other commentary to build the right pace for your readers.

In contrast, academic writing with too much commentary feels slow and plodding and often has so much discussion that the reader loses sight of the writer’s goal. Make sure that you provide only the most important commentary. Then move on.

Instead of . . .

“ So and so argues this… so and so claims this… so and so analyzes this…  “ or  “One definition of the topic is x. Another is y. The definition proposed by z is….”  or   “There are multiple approaches to the topic. X looks at this . . ., Y views this. . ., Z combines this. . .”

“ There are many approaches to the topic. X looks at this . . ., which establishes important criteria for the field but avoids finding a consensus about issue M.  Y’s research adds to the conversation about fundamental criteria for assessing these clinical situations. However, the author also takes a critical look at the disagreements underlying certain existing criteria. In contrast, rather than establishing criteria, Z investigates systemic assumptions in the field that lead practitioners to weigh some criteria more heavily than others.”

Focus on Pacing

Use active voice.

When writers use active voice they focus their sentences on an actor and the action – the two most important parts of storytelling. For more information on using active voice, check out our resource,   Active and passive voice .

Ideally, to avoid unintentional bias in our measurements, information regarding the source population of each specimen   was withheld   from the observer.

We strived   to avoid unintentional bias in our measurements. To that end,   we withheld   from observers, information about each specimen’s source population.

Vary sentence and paragraph length

Blair shone in his extracurricular activities at school. During his time at university he produced a magazine, joined in the production of other publications, and, in addition, participated in the college’s acapella group, but his academic performance reports suggested that he neglected his academic studies. His parents could not afford to send him to university without him winning another scholarship, and thus they concluded from his poor results that he would not be able to win one. His family decided that Blair should join the Imperial Police instead of finishing school.

Blair shone in his extracurricular activities at school. During his time at university he produced a magazine and also joined in the production of other publications. In addition, he participated in the college’s acapella group. Despite these achievements, his parents could not afford to send him to university without him winning another scholarship. Judging from Blair’s poor results, his family concluded that he would not be able to win. They thought Blair should join the Imperial Police instead.

Omit clutter

Too many unnecessary words in a sentence can not only lead to confusion, but also slow the pace and make text feel onerous and tiresome.

It has been found that   CO2 and H2O formation   has been reduced   at high temperatures.

Less   CO2 and H2O   form   at higher temperatures.

Humanize your Writing

Stories are powerful because, in one way or another, they place human concerns as their focus. To remind your readers of the human concerns that your research paper addresses, put human elements into your writing.

Use characters as your subjects

When a sentence describes an action completed by a person, that person should be the subject of the sentence. This small change in structure provides your sentences with characters and their actions, adding human elements to the paper.

Fetal DNA has been found in maternal plasma but exists as a minor fraction among a high background of maternal DNA. Even with highly precise single counting methods such as digital PCR, a large number of DNA molecules and hence maternal plasma volume would need to be analyzed to achieve the necessary analytical precision.

Researchers   have found fetal DNA in maternal plasma, but it exists as a minor fraction among a high background of maternal DNA. Hence, even with highly precise, single molecule counting methods, such as digital PCR,   geneticists   must analyze a large number of DNA molecules and maternal plasma to achieve the necessary analytical precision.

Use the first person (I/we )

First person provides a human connection and improves clarity. It lets the reader know clearly who did what.

Here, instead of using approaches that target specific gene loci, the use of a locus-independent method would greatly increase the number of target molecules from the aneuploidy chromosome that could be analyzed within the same fixed volume of plasma.

Try . .   .

Here,   we chose   not to use approaches that target specific gene loci. Rather, by using a locus-independent method,   we could greatly increase   the number of target molecules from the aneuploidy chromosome, and, with this increase,   improve our analysis   within the same fixed volume of plasma.

Add Metaphor

When we use one object, experience, or event to help symbolize and represent a different one, we are using metaphor. Through metaphor, writers use a concept familiar to the reader to help explain something that is unfamiliar. Metaphor helps a reader understand a concept from two pathways – literal and visual – and increases engagement.

Beyond treating individual letters as physical objects, the human brain may also perceive a text in its entirety as a kind of physical landscape, similar to the mental maps we create of terrain. For example, in the physical world we might recall that we passed the red farmhouse near the start of a trail we hiked. In a similar way, in text, we remember that we read about Mr. Darcy rebuffing Elizabeth Bennett on the bottom of the left-hand page in one of the earlier chapters.

importance of storytelling essay

The Power of Narrative Writing

by Melissa Donovan | Feb 4, 2021 | Creative Writing | 6 comments

narrative writing

What is narrative writing, and why is it so powerful?

The secret is out: narrative is powerful.

A narrative can entertain, inform, and persuade — but most importantly, it can forge deep, meaningful, and lasting connections.

What is Narrative Writing?

A narrative is a spoken or written account of events. The word  narrative  is often used interchangeably with  story , because a narrative is structured like a story: it has a beginning, a middle, and an end (although it’s not always presented in that order). A narrative can be true or fictional.

Narrative writing is the act of crafting a written narrative (or story), real or imagined. Here are a few different types of written narratives:

  • Novels, films, television shows, and plays are narratives.
  • A narrative essay is written like a short story, but it’s an account of real events whereas a short story is fictional.
  • A short story is also a narrative.
  • Narratives also appear in speeches, advertisements, lectures, and even in personal encounters.
  • Have you ever shared a personal story about your life with someone? That was your narrative.
  • Personal essays, memoirs, and autobiographies are narratives.

We also use the word  narrative when discussing how a story is written and structured. We might say that a narrative is messy or tight, that it lacks consistency, or that it’s long and winding.

Narrative writing opportunities abound in industries in which stories are told. Some examples include filmmaking and television, marketing, and politics (speech writing).

But we all use narrative: stories are everywhere.

What is the Power of Narrative?

The word narrative is often thrown around by the media, politicians, and commercial enterprises. They understand the power of narrative, which can be used to spread a message, cultivate emotional connections, and control a story in the cultural landscape; in fact, narratives shape culture. Stories have a profound effect on people, from a single individual to the widespread masses.

Let’s look at some examples of the power of narrative:

Writing Resources: Telling True Stories

Telling True Stories (aff link).

Narrative Changes the World: Consider Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who was shot in the head at age fifteen because she wanted to go to school. Malala survived and went on to become a world-renowned advocate for education, focusing on regions of the world where girls are deprived of schooling. Malala’s story, or narrative, was instrumental in making the world stage available to her so she could broadcast her message to the masses and affect positive change. In 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Narrative Creates Celebrity: Some celebrities excel at using narrative to build their brands and cultivate fans. Watch any music competition show and you’ll see the contestants sharing their life stories, often emphasizing the difficulties or conflicts they’ve experienced. It’s been said before: conflict is story . When audiences see these contestants’ struggles, they want to root for them, and a fandom begins to blossom. Throughout a celebrity’s career, the narrative continues, as we watch their highs and lows. It can be a long, ongoing narrative that keeps the fans tuned in and buying books, movies, music, magazines, tickets, and more.

Narrative Wins Races: Politicians use narrative to build emotional and intellectual connections with the public, and as a tool of persuasion, but they are often more invested in controlling the story than sharing it. As they reveal their life stories to us, politicians pick and choose which bits to include, forging a selective narrative that emphasizes their strengths while downplaying their weaknesses. And the best narrative often wins while an unappealing or disagreeable narrative is a losing proposition.

Narrative Sells: Watch some commercials to see narrative being used to sell products and services. In advertising, stories are often presented as problems, with the product as the solution: After years of itchy razor burn, a young man finally finds a razor that leaves his face clear and smooth. Ads feature narratives that a target demographic can relate to, which is why commercials sell millions of products ranging from food and cleaning supplies to computers and makeup and life-insurance policies.

Narrative Teaches: In high school, I had a history teacher who stood at the front of the class, reading aloud from a dry textbook that was written strictly to impart information — certainly not to engage. A few years later, I took a history class in college with a professor who sat casually on the edge of his desk, relaying the events of history as if we were all sitting rapt around a campfire and he was our master storyteller. Guess which lessons stayed with me?

Narrative Bonds: Narrative is one of the key elements of a relationship. As you get to know someone, you learn about their life and a narrative starts to form. You use that narrative to understand and relate to the other person. We also share in each other’s narratives as we participate in each other’s lives. You are the main character in your life story, but there are many other characters surrounding you, from sidekicks to nemeses. The roles we play in each other’s narratives bind us together. We are all threads in a massive tapestry of a narrative.

Why We Love Narrative

wired for story

Wired for Story (aff link).

Whether we’re buried in books or ogling at screens, we love to immerse ourselves in narratives. Why is that?

An article on Wired titled “ The Art of Immersion: Why Do We Tell Stories? ” delves into the science behind why we love stories so much:

Anthropologists tell us that storytelling is central to human existence. That it’s common to every known culture. That it involves a symbiotic exchange between teller and listener — an exchange we learn to negotiate in infancy. Just as the brain detects patterns in the visual forms of nature — a face, a figure, a flower — and in sound, so too it detects patterns in information. Stories are recognizable patterns, and in those patterns we find meaning. We use stories to make sense of our world and to share that understanding with others. They are the signal within the noise.

So how do we find meaning in stories? How do we use stories to make sense of our world? Let’s look to fictional and personal narratives for the answers:

Personal (Nonfiction) Narratives: Storytelling is used in memoirs and documentaries to convey true stories. When we hear about a devastating natural disaster on the other side of the world that affected thousands of people, it’s difficult to put it into context. But when we hear firsthand accounts from survivors who describe what it was like to witness and experience the disaster — when we hear their narratives — we can better relate to the events that transpired. We begin to understand what it was like to be there, and our empathy gets engaged.

Fictional Narratives: Fiction is probably the most beloved form of narrative writing and story consumption. Books, movies, television shows, and video games give us made-up stories. Whether a historical novel that carries us into the past so we can gain insight on what it might have been like to live in a world without technology or a science-fiction film that takes us far into the future where technology has surpassed our wildest imaginations, fictional narratives, like true narratives, give us access to experiences that we’ll never have and allow us to gain better understanding of the world we live in, and in some cases, the world we might someday live in.

The most successful narratives make the audience feel something. Let me say that again: the most successful narratives make the audience feel something . It is a narrative’s ability to evoke emotion (and it can be any emotion) that determines its impact on individuals and groups. Narrative can make us laugh or cry, terrify or mystify us. They can fill us with awe and wonder and glory. Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage: “People will forget what you said and what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”

Therein lies the greatest power of narrative: its impact on our emotions.

The Science of Narrative

Scientists have examined the power of narrative and made some fascinating discoveries, most of which confirm the experiences that we’ve all had with books, movies, and other forms of storytelling. It turns out that narrative directly affects the human brain, and its effects can be measured :

  • Narrative changes our brain activity.
  • It increases oxytocin synthesis, which increases empathy, trust, kindness, and cooperation.
  • It alters our emotional state, aligning it with the narrative we’re experiencing.
  • It improves recall and increases attention.

That is real, proven power.

But let’s get back to our business — the business of writing.

A Guide to Narrative Writing


But how do we go about writing a good narrative?

There are several key elements that we find in successful narrative writing, which you can use as a guide while crafting a narrative of your own:

  • Setting: The backdrop of a narrative sets the stage and helps the audience enter a story world. Setting is crucial, even if it only takes a few words to establish.
  • Characters: They can be made-up characters or real people. Audiences develop relationships with characters; it is through this bond that we connect with stories on an emotional level.
  • Conflict: All the best narratives are built around a core conflict or story question. We stay tuned in because we want see how the conflict gets resolved. We want to find out the answers to questions that the story poses and see how the characters solve the problems they’ve encountered.
  • Rising tension: As a narrative progresses, the tension increases. There are peaks and valleys, but the tension ultimately rises until the narrative reaches its climax.
  • Plot: Plot is what happens (the beats of a story) as the narrative follows an arc that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Arcs almost always result in meaningful transformation, which is one of the most appealing elements of narrative.
  • Action and dialogue: Action and dialogue are how we experience a narrative. The characters say and do things that move the plot forward.
  • Point of view: Who’s telling the story? The voice of the narrative sets the tone for the tale. The narrative point of view gives us a particular perspective on the events taking place.

As you pursue narrative writing, ask whether you’re including these essential elements and whether they’re woven together seamlessly.

Have you tried your hand at narrative writing? What kind of narrative did you write? Did you aim to educate and inform, share your thoughts and ideas, or entertain audiences? Share your experiences with narrative writing by leaving a comment, and keep writing!

Ready Set Write a Guide to Creative Writing

Ideal way to kick off a dull damp Thursday morning. Thank You.

Melissa Donovan

Thank you for this article, am a reaseacher and using narrative ✍️ 🔡 📝 ✍️

You’re welcome!


Excellent. Clear, to the point and easy to understand. I loved it. Thank you for writing it.


  • Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 02-11-2021 | The Author Chronicles - […] Donovan explains the power of narrative writing, Stephen D. Rogers urges us to write better and sell more by…

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Scholarship Story

The Power of Storytelling in Scholarship Essays: Engage, Impress, Succeed

Table of Contents

Submitting a scholarship application is a complex assignment requiring hard work, dedication, and diligence. From gathering all the paperwork, filling it out, getting those letters of recommendation, and submitting it – it can get pretty exhausting and even daunting. Still, for many students, the most challenging part of the scholarship application process is writing the scholarship essay.

Writing a winning scholarship essay requires great writing skills and the ability to cover the given prompt. But, without adding the storytelling element to the mixture, your essay might end up unnoticed. This article breaks down the power of storytelling in scholarship essays and tells you how to engage and impress the scholarship committee and succeed in your academic goals.


What is a Scholarship Essay?

Before we discuss the power of storytelling in a scholarship essay, let’s define it. What is a scholarship essay, and how does it fit a scholarship application?

Simply put, a scholarship essay is an integral part of a scholarship application. It’s an essay written by the students, but Trust My Paper can help you write one if you’re insecure about your writing skills. They’re typically based on prompts the students should address, respond to, or answer.

The goal of writing a scholarship essay is for students to showcase their:

  • personality
  • experiences
  • standpoints

The essay is supposed to combine all the right elements and balance between answering the prompt, showcasing your skills, highlighting your achievements, and still sounding grounded. It’s not easy to write one, but it’s crucial for your success.

Why is Storytelling Important?

The scholarship committee reads hundreds of applications that often look alike. It’s no wonder that only 1 in 8 college students receive a scholarship. Students often try so hard to impress the committee that they all start using the same writing style, examples, phrases, and essay forms.

This is why the committee is looking for someone to impress them, stand out from the rest, and leave a unique signature. Luckily, storytelling makes it possible for you to be the one that stands out.

So, storytelling is an important element of your scholarship essay for a number of reasons. Here are the most important ones.

1. Personal Mark

Storytelling allows you to show off your personality and help the committee picture who you are and what you’re like. Bringing your personality closer to them makes you more memorable and, thus a more obvious choice for assigning the scholarship.

2. Engagement

If your storytelling skills are on point, you’ll be able to grab the reader’s attention and keep them focused from top to bottom. They won’t just skim your essay and move on, but they’ll read the whole thing and listen to what you have to say.

3. Exemplifying

Through storytelling, you can show your skills and experience instead of just describing them. You can use examples to help the reader make the right conclusions about you and your traits.

4. Communicate

Finally, storytelling in an essay will help the committee realize that you have great communication skills. This is important, no matter the type of scholarship you’re applying for or the goals you’ve set.

As you can see, storytelling is beneficial for you on multiple levels and something to include in your scholarship essay, no questions asked.

How to Use Storytelling in a Scholarship Essay?

Now that you know how powerful storytelling can be for a scholarship essay, it’s time to look at the practical ways to use it.

There are several main steps that you should take after you decide that storytelling is the main tool you’ll use in your essay. We’ll break them down below and help you master this skill.

1. Brainstorm Story Ideas

The first thing you need to do is think about the essay prompt you’ve received and brainstorm story ideas that will help you answer it the right way. What story from your personal life, education journey, or valuable experience is a good fit to answer this prompt?

The prompt will typically ask about your career goals, life challenges, important people in your life, passion, your community, and more. Find the right connection and choose a story directly answering the prompt.

2. Open Strong

The beginning of your essay story needs to grab the reader’s attention. So, start strong with a sentence that will give them a glimpse of what the essay is about, shock, intrigue, or surprise them.

3. Build the Story

Now that you have their attention, set the scene for the rest of the story. Provide context and all the information necessary for understanding it. Don’t overdo it with descriptions and specific details, as you have a limited number of words for your essay.

4. Draw the Connection

Your story and the essay prompt now need to be connected. The readers have to find this connection and understand how the story relates to the prompt.

Conclude your story by reflecting on how this event or experience made you who you are or influenced your academic and professional path. Write about the things you’ve learned and the motivation it gave you for the future.

6. Edit & Proofread

Finally, if you want your story to be effective and leave a strong impact on the reader, you must make sure it’s written professionally. Edit it to keep it well organized and create smooth transitions from one paragraph to the other. Proofread it to eliminate all spelling or grammar mistakes.

Make sure to keep it concise and allow the story to flow by using natural language and simple sentence structures. This will make it more appealing and believable to the reader.

Final Thoughts

The power of storytelling in a scholarship essay is not to be underestimated. It can help you bring out your best qualities, leave a strong impression, and succeed in your academic goals. Using it the right way is key to making the wow effect, so make sure you read our advice carefully.

Hopefully, with a little practice, you’ll nail your next scholarship essay by using your storytelling skills.

Author’s Bio

Alice Barrios is a college advisor and a blogger. She writes about college applications, professional development, scholarships, internships, and more student-related topics. Her goal is to help students lessen the stress of these academic transitions and make the most out of their education journey.

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  • Writing Tips

The Importance of Powerful Storytelling in Writing

importance of storytelling essay

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” - Joan Didion, writer and journalist

From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to the 280 characters of a Tweet, the ritual of sharing stories through writing continues to be a vital component of human connection. For writers looking to connect with their readers on a deeper level, it’s imperative to learn the basics of powerful storytelling. 

That’s why in Part II of this interview series, we talked to writer, editor, and writing coach Ben Riggs of Riggs Writing LLC to learn more about effective storytelling and writing techniques. In Part I , Ben shared his insight on the writing process, what it takes to “write well,” and how to get started with writing if you feel stuck.

How does storytelling relate to good writing?

Good storytellers know what it takes to connect to and keep the interest of another busy human. 

Storytelling requires lots of thinking about how to bring a reader through an event or series of events while also informing that reader. 

Consider short story authors. They have to think long and hard about how to create worlds, dilemmas, and resolutions through a fairly narrow focus. To do so, they’ve thought about what will be meaningful to readers , what will keep them engaged, and what will get in their way that needs to go. Short story authors are ruthless clutter cutters. 

We can learn a lot from them about what makes for good writing.

Is there a specific structure or flow to compelling storytelling?

It’s an age-old question with many answers. Since the days of Aristotle, we’ve toyed with what makes for a good story, wandering into weird territories (often called Literature departments) only to come back to the same “storyteller tested, listener approved” domain of appealing to human empathy to tell tales of others navigating life’s problems.

I don’t mind the typical narrative arch of “beginning, middle, and end.” We’re pattern-seeking creatures, and this tends to be the pattern we process life through. But life rarely unfolds in such a packaged way. And the “trick” of the storyteller, particularly distilling real life for readers, is to subtly impose some sort of structure onto an unfolding event or series of events without making it seem like that’s what’s happening. 

No writer can, nor should she, try to say everything about something. Great stories are the result of a writer having carefully selected what she’s going to say and not going to say.   For me, though, before I consider what structure makes for a compelling story, I consider two variables that are non-negotiable in good storytelling: momentum and meaning.  Great stories answer two questions: “What happened?” and “What does it mean?”  Good stories—like good writing—keep readers moving and keep the main point uncluttered.  In narrative writing, or verbal storytelling, readers stay involved where they feel momentum. Scenes are important, but too many static paragraphs (or pages) of description start to feel like a still life. Readers need to feel momentum, what novelist John Gardner called “profluence.” Even if there’s nothing dramatic happening (in narrative, there’s almost always something happening, whether it’s dramatic or not), readers can still feel as though there’s forward motion.  

How can writers connect better with their readers?

Remember that a reader is likely to put a piece of writing down because they’re bored, not because they’re lost. 

When a writer assumes a reader is always at risk of getting lost, that writer will anxiously overcompensate to keep that reader from wondering where to go between the recent period and the next capital letter. Ironically, that writer risks insulting the reader and it makes for clumsy writing. Some indicators a writer has gone this route are mile-long warm-up phrases at the beginning of sentences, painfully obvious transitions between paragraphs, and more than one parenthetical in nearly every sentence.

My advice: envision the sentence as a walking trail or path. A writer’s job is not to bludgeon readers and drag them through the sentence. A writer’s job is to clear the path of problems to let readers enjoy walking along at their own pace.

About Ben Riggs

Ben is a writer, editor, and writing coach in Dayton, Ohio. He's married to his wife, Emily, and is an unabashed dog dad to Lewie. He's the author of Tell Them a Story , a booklet on using narrative in everyday writing. And he posts regularly on his LinkedIn page . 

About the Author

Nicole Abboud-Shayan is the Business Development Associate for WordRake. Prior to joining the team, Nicole practiced law for several years and then launched her own media and marketing company. Follow Nicole on Twitter @nicoleabboud or connect with her on  LinkedIn .

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importance of storytelling essay

Why Is Storytelling Important?

‘Tell me about yourself’. This is a common question that many of you have probably faced in job interviews. Many…

Why Is Storytelling Important?

‘ Tell me about yourself ’. This is a common question that many of you have probably faced in job interviews. Many of us simply summarize our education, work experience and our current situation. But is that enough to make an impression on the interviewer?

What employers really want is to feel comfortable with the idea of hiring you. This is where storytelling comes to the rescue. Stories give you an opportunity to create an emotional rapport with the person you’re speaking to. Read on to understand the importance of storytelling in the corporate world.

Storytelling In Business Communication

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication. At its core, storytelling is the art of sharing information and engaging people. As a storyteller, you convey your message in a way that stimulates people’s minds and evokes emotion. You can use any medium to tell a good story—photographs, podcasts, videos and even paintings!

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of storytelling. It’s a vital communication skill that helps employees engage better at work. You can sharpen your leadership and management skills by embracing powerful storytelling techniques.

Examples Of Storytelling

Let’s look at some examples of storytelling to better understand the effectiveness of this communication tool.

If you look closely at Amazon’s logo, you’ll see a small yellow arrow that starts from the letter ‘A’ and ends at the letter ‘Z’. It symbolizes Amazon’s brand value—selling everything from A to Z. This is an example of a simple yet effective storytelling technique.

TED and TEDx talks or conferences are also examples of effective storytelling. They’ve become one of the most successful mediums for spreading ideas and inspiring people, thanks to the powerful stories people from various walks of life share.

Importance Of Storytelling

Now that we’ve seen some real-world applications of storytelling, let’s look at some of the benefits of storytelling in business environments:

Creates Relevance

One of the major benefits of storytelling is that it creates interest among people. Good stories provide meaning and establish emotional connections. People are able to relate to something because they feel emotionally invested. The more people relate, the better you’ll be able to communicate your intentions.

Increases Understanding

The importance of storytelling lies in the impact it has on the audience. Well-crafted stories have the power to change people’s perspectives. This is why you’ll often see public speakers use stories in their presentations. This way, they’re less likely to lose the crowd’s attention.

Enhances Creativity

In the storytelling process, a listener or observer becomes a co-creator because people create their own truths. This is a valuable tool for industries that rely on innovations and creative thinking . For example, if you’re developing a mobile application, you can brainstorm different user personas by weaving multiple stories about users.

Improves Decision-Making

You can’t deny that most of us make emotional decisions in life. We connect and relate to things that define our identity. We often look up to social media influencers and make purchasing decisions on the basis of the products they’re advertising. This is how powerful and convincing storytelling can get.

Increases Employee Engagement

Employees are the backbone of any organization. It’s important that you cultivate the right workplace culture so that your employees enjoy their work. You can use storytelling techniques to keep your team motivated. For example, give people a greater sense of purpose by sharing the organization’s history and mission.

How To Craft Your Story

Whether you’re trying to connect with your coworkers or trying to motivate your team, tell a story that stays with your audience. Here’s how you can master the art of storytelling:

Know your audience and adjust your tone and language accordingly

Have an end-goal for your story and figure how you can make it relevant for everybody

Try to keep your story interactive and pause in between to give your audience an opportunity to ask questions

End on a strong or inspirational note and leave your audience with a few big questions that can help them think about the topic outside the session

Have fun in the process

Effective storytelling can inspire people, win their loyalty and affection and make things memorable. Harappa Education’s   Speaking Effectively course will teach you how to tell compelling stories. The PAM framework will help you define your purpose, audience and message. Additionally, Aristotle’s Appeals will help you tap into the reasoning, credibility and emotional aspects of an argument. Deliver your ideas with precision and give people a reason to remember you.

Explore topics such as  Storytelling ,  Public Speaking ,  Audience Analysis ,  Rule of Three  & How to Find the Right  Tone of Voice  from our Harappa Diaries section and deliver compelling stories.


Importance and Power of Storytelling


People have been telling stories for thousands of years and will continue to do so in thousands of years ahead. The reasons for such extraordinary longevity of stories are multiple. First of all, stories reflect the world around us and help us understand our place in it.

Ancient people had been creating epic poems describing heroic deeds and significant events from their history. Later, novels became a popular type of literature that depicted characters in various life situations and allowed us to identify with them or look at our lives from a different angle.

Stories are powerful because they shape our worldview and help us understand other people’s perspectives. For example, stories about slavery cause one to realize why this phenomenon should never happen again. Moreover, reading a story written from another person’s perspective makes one more empathetic and conscious of other people’s experiences.

Stories are also a significant source of knowledge since they help people share wisdom and disseminate moral principles. Since childhood, we are told stories in the form of fairytales that teach us to distinguish right from wrong. In adulthood, we hear stories from our peers and elderly people who share their experiences, caution us against mistakes, and encourage us to act more wisely. The educational power of stories is so extensive that even numerous holy books, such as the Bible, use stories to convey their ethical and moral teachings to people.

Overall, stories serve as a guide through the hardships of life. One can solve some technical problems using the information found in various sources. However, in order to find answers to crucial existential questions and solutions to life issues, one will need stories.

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Early Impact Learning

17 Benefits Of Storytelling (The Full Guide)

If children enjoy listening to and telling stories, then they are opened up to a world of possibilities.

Storytelling has a massive impact for the whole child. It can also be used to develop skills across the entire curriculum.

When children listen to stories…or make them up…or engage in activities that link to books and story, it fires up their imaginations, and gets them fully involved in what they are doing.

So then, in short what are the benefits of storytelling for children? Some of the major ones are:

  • Igniting Curiosity
  • Expanding Horizons
  • Experience The Challenges Of Life
  • Increase Memory
  • Develop A Passion For Books
  • Impact On Our Minds
  • Teaches Whole Curriculum
  • Understanding Society
  • Imagination
  • As A Stimulus
  • Brain Development
  • Listening And Attention
  • Providing Hope

In ten years of teaching children between the ages of 3 and 5, I have found that storytelling in its different forms can be the driving force behind getting children learning, and setting them up for future success.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of storytelling, and why you definitely want to channel into this rich stream of learning either at home or in an educational setting.

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1. Curiosity

In many ways curiosity is the root of learning. Children are curious, so they want to find out more, and therefore they learn.

The key thing is to spark this curiosity to start with!

Stories are one of the best ways of firing up curiosity.

Children want to find out about the characters, and what they are going to do. They hear about interesting settings, like haunted castles, and they want to know more about them.

Everyone wants to know the answer to that key question…what is going to happen next?

Stories will be developing this curiosity from very early in children’s lives. If exposed to them, even very young children find physical books very interesting. They are brightly coloured, and create a shared experience with an adult.

Later on, they enjoy hearing about fantastical beings with different voices, faraway lands, and amazing adventures.

There is pretty much nothing better to fire up curiosity, and fire up learning.

2. Expand Their Horizons

Stories are one of the best ways of developing aspirations in young children.

In particular, stories help the following:

Children see heroes – they see others involved

Triumph over adversity – they see how obstacles can be overcome with a bit of resilience and problem solving

Experience fantastic faraway lands – children get to see treasure islands, magical lands with castles, and all the rest of it. They can go to space, deep into the earth’s core, or travel back thousands of years.

See wonderful characters – They can see a full range of goodies, baddies, and everything in between

3. Challenges of Life

Life is tough.

In books we see all sorts of terrible things happening – ships are wrecked, houses fall down, people are put under terrible spells by witches, and all the rest of it.

But do the main characters lie down and let this happen?

Of course not!

Books are filled with tough, never say die characters, that get stuck in and take the opposition on.

So many stories model this resilience, and this never say die attitude. It shows children how to take problems on head-first, and try to overcome them.

4. Increase Memory

Memory is a huge deal in the modern world. With the advance of technology, many children are losing the ability to retain information.

Stories help this in so many ways:

Retelling stories – helps children to make sense of what they have heard

Acting out stories – through role-play, small world, and playing with puppets , children take on characters and situations in the stories they know and extend them

Linking events in their own lives – stories spark off our own memories. A character may do something that we have done before. Or face a similar problem to one we have experienced. This gets us thinking and powers our memory.

To check out my ultimate guide to the best memory games for young children, then go here.

5. It Develops A Passion For Books

What starts off as verbal storytelling will lead onto reading books. That is how it works.

People think that children that are good readers are that way because they enjoy phonics, or have good memories.

Those things can be important, but often it is the children that want to read that will learn more confidently. If you love stories, you see the point, and you want to do it – it’ that simple.

Any play activities that link to stories can develop this passion. It can be role-playing, pretending to be The Three Bears.

It could be using puppet characters, and giving them different voices.

Anything that develops this passion for imagination and storytelling, can blossom into a love of books later on.

importance of storytelling essay

6. Stories Have Greater Impact In Our Minds

Storytelling has a powerful effect upon our minds and on our memories.

Great orators and politicians use this power all the time. Their speeches will be littered with anecdotes and stories that really bring life and substance to what they are saying.

The child psychologist Jerome Bruner said that, ‘Stories are about 22 times more memorable than facts alone.’

If you tell a fact to a child it will often make little impression, but bring this to life with a story and it will have a much greater impact.

It is one thing to tell them about bullying, but read a story about a bully – the difference is huge!

Children learn morals from stories, they learn facts and knowledge, and they learn about life. Huge lessons that cannot be just ‘told’; they need to be brought to life.

7. Vocabulary

There has been several pieces of research done into the importance of vocabulary and economic success. ( Source )

The correlation is massive!

Children with better vocabularies have been seen to do better in their jobs and relationships.

But how does this link to storytelling?

Well, from the age of about 6 upwards, 80% of the vocabulary that children acquire comes from books. That’s a huge majority.

And how do we get children going down the road of reading, and engaging with books? By getting them excited by verbal storytelling in all its many forms.

8. Teaches The Whole Curriculum

Everyone clearly understands that literacy and storytelling go hand in hand.

But also storytelling can help teach maths, science, physical development, and so many other things.

In math, children can learn to count through simple number stories (see my full guide on number stories here) .

There are numerous books about science, such as Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car (where the car gets stuck in the mud because it is so heavy).

And there are so many ways that you can link books to quests outside, den-making, different cultures, and all so many more areas.

9. Understanding Society

It takes children a long time to work out what the world is all about.

In fact, all of use, adults and children, are still learning.

Stories really help this process. In them we see how humans work. We see good characters and what they do, and we also see bad.

In fact, most people have a bit of good and bad in them, and we see all of that too.

We see how people react to the actions of others, and we learn from that. There is so much going on!

10. Imagination

Books and stories create a world of make believe.

They get children thinking in lots of ways, including:

  • Making predictions – what is going to happen next?
  • What would I do in this situation?
  • What are characters going to do?

Children often link other pieces of art to stories.

They will create pictures or artworks of characters they know.

They might build a tower out of building blocks for Rapunzel, or build the Second Little Pig’s house out of a pile of sticks.

Books fire up the creative spirit in us all!

That little word, that is often left out in education – ‘fun’. That is exactly what stories can be.

Stories are enjoyable, and pleasurable experiences for children have many benefits. For example, stories can:

Inspire – children want to act like the heroines and heroes in the books. They want to fight dragons, or go on a magical quest

Motivate – books can really get children moving! If a character in a book needs a rocket to get to them moon, some children will go all out to try to build it for them.

Engage – Stories can get that total involvement out of children. This is a true force of nature when it is fully activated.

12. Storytelling As A Stimulus

Books and stories are an amazing way to ‘hook’ children in. If you want to start a topic, teach a concept, or fire them up to try an activity, then often a book may be the ultimate way to do this.

Stories do the following:

Hook children’s interest – Even reading just a couple of pages of a story can really grab children’s focus. Learning all about food. Then a few pages of The Very Greedy Caterpillar is a great place to start.

Even stories they know well can be re-read, or parts retold to gain children’s attention.

Make great starters – Storytelling is a great way to start an adult-led learning time. Even a simple imagined story

Set the scene – Going on a trip to the local farm? Storytelling and reading books around farms is a fantastic way to get started.

importance of storytelling essay

13. Confidence

Stories build confidence in lots of ways.

Children can relate to characters in stories, and seeing other do great deeds gives them the inspiration to try it themselves.

Also stories give children understanding of themselves. This boosts self-esteem, which is of course strongly linked to confidence.

Storytelling is also a fantastic launch-pad for role-play, small world play, playing with puppets, and all the other brilliant activities that children will get involved in that help them develop their social abilities.

14. Brain Development

Stories ignite all different types of thinking.

When children are immersed in storytelling, a huge portion of their brains will be stimulated at the same time.

Stories use many different parts of the brain, for functions such as:

  • remembering
  • problem solving
  • And so many more!

15. Develops Listening And Attention

One of the key skills of life is learning to listen.

By listening we receive information. It is also a key skill in building all of our relationships with people throughout our lives.

Stories are one of the best ways of developing listening and attention.

Even very young children will listen to stories at least for a few moments, even if they appear to listen to others in virtually no other situations.

The more storytelling the children are exposed to, the better their listening. It’s that simple.

If you’re looking for lots of other listening games, then check this article out.

16. Stories Are Magical

They offer that sense of fantasy that we all desire.

Early years consultant Yasmine Thebault states that, ‘Stories are magical. They provide the most effective routes by which children can make sense of the world.’

In the concrete world that we live in, stories offer that element of ‘awe and wonder’ that inspires children.

It is great to see that spark of curiosity in children’s eyes when they engage with books and stories. They offer:

Escapism – there is an element of fleeing reality in any storytelling, and entering an unknown world

Making the normal fantastic – stories help us see the wonder in the world around us

Anything can happen – the normal rules of reality are thrown out in stories. Prince’s turn into frogs with the single wave of a wand.

17. Provide Hope

The Ex Secretary General of the Un, Kofi Annan, has said that ‘Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.’

This is true in many different ways.

The skill of reading provides all people with the ability to learn skills and knowledge and take control of their lives. It helps them fulfil ambitions and dreams.

And even before that, for younger children, stories can create a level of hope also. It creates a world of imagination, that takes them out of their day-to-day existence.

Final Thoughts

Storytelling offers so many benefits.

But the biggest challenge is of course, how do you do it?

If you have found this article useful, then you may be interested in how to get children storytelling. Some good articles to try include:

How To Use Story Spoons (10 Ideas With Pics)

The Essential Guide On How To Use Story Stones

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International House World Organisation

Why Storytelling is Important

by Carys Shannon

Children love stories. Stories are magic, they can create other worlds, emotions, ideas and make the everyday seem incredible. They can teach us empathy and take us on terrific journeys. They can make us laugh, cry, jump with fright and then comfort us with a happy ending.  From a very young age we learn how to enjoy a story both for pleasure and to help us make sense of the world and ourselves. In this article I’ll look at why stories are important for ESL students and I’ll share some simple story-based activities that can be adapted for different ages and abilities.    

Stories in Class  

In the ESL classroom stories have a special place and value. Students can listen to the sounds and rhythms of English just as native speakers will have done to acquire their first language. Students can identify vocabulary and expressions that they have learnt or heard regularly and see them in use. Frequent telling can help them to learn new phrases and expressions with the correct emotional resonance.  Storytelling with participation uses experiential learning to ask about what is happening to the characters and what they should do next, or offers a student the chance to be that character and hear/say their words in a true context.   

Storytelling brings language learning alive and creates a participatory and immersive experience that allows Young Learners to enjoy hearing the language in a dynamic, sometimes stylistic and entertaining way.  Participation using key vocabulary and phrases can create an awareness of rhythm and structure. This atmosphere of play and creative expression creates an appetite for more similar experiences. Students who have enjoyed storytelling in class often ask for more stories and also feel motivated and encouraged to create and tell, act out or illustrate their own stories in a variety of ways.   

The act of storytelling appeals to different learning preferences and personalities ensuring that from the shyest to the most active of students, everyone has a chance to participate in a way that they can enjoy. This ranges from listening quietly to taking part as an actor.   

Storytelling also helps students to enjoy and be aware of intonation and tone of voice, natural sounding expressions and phrases as well as interaction between native speakers.  For older YLs they offer the opportunity to retell, rephrase, enact or summarise what they’ve heard, to rewrite the story or to create their own as a group or individual.   

Stories also offer a link between the classroom and home. Students may have the same books in their own language at home; they may read with a parent or family member and be able to identify vocabulary in English; simple stories in English can be read again by a parent at home. Many stories also have talking books, YouTube videos, animations or films in VOSE that could be enjoyed after the session.    

Stories offer everyone a chance to enjoy language and discover new worlds, new words and new things about themselves.  

  In Summary:  

Stories can…  

  • Enable children to empathise with unfamiliar people/places/situations.  
  • Offer insights into different traditions and values.  
  • Offer insights into universal life experiences.  
  • Help children consider new ideas.  
  • Reveal differences and commonalties of cultures around the world.  
  • Promote a feeling of well-being, fun and relaxation.  
  • Increase children’s willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings.  
  • Encourage active participation.  
  • Increase verbal proficiency.  
  • Encourage use of imagination and creativity.  
  • Encourage cooperation between students.  
  • Enhance listening skills.  

(Source: British Council Teach English Website)  

Activities to Try  

Story Dice 

Make your own based on the vocabulary you’re studying in class or choose from a whole range of templates online (try this online generator from ReadWriteThink: ). Story dice offer input from basic vocabulary nouns to action verbs or adverbs. Use them to construct a story in groups or for fast finishers as a speaking activity in pairs.   

Story Grids 

Story grids are so flexible – all you need is to be able to draw lines! Elicit current vocabulary from your students for a whole class activity or let individual imaginations run wild. Story grids are great for recalling and classifying vocabulary into word groups (e.g. write three nouns, two adverbs, a collocation and an idiom from the current set). Once inputted into the grid the options are varied: you can ask students to swap grids for an extra challenge, create stories in groups or set the story writing for homework after eliciting possibilities and combinations in class. You can even use a ‘heads up’ board grid to play Whispers with invented stories.   

Story Generators 

The online world makes story generation easy. Use the Story Maker from the British Council Kids website ( ) to create a horror or fairy story with your class. Choose from picture-based options and read or act out the final text together. Great for a further comic strip activity or use it as pure creative imagination time.   

Story Book Creation 

Online websites such as  Story Bird  make creating beautiful and professional storybooks with your class easy. The artwork can be used as stimulus or as an accompaniment to your own story. Hugely motivating.  

Author’s Bio : Carys Shannon is an experienced ESL teacher and cultural facilitator with professional credits in theatre production and writing. Currently teaching at IH Academia Britannica Sierra in Córdoba, where she has been based for the last five years, Carys also carries out teacher training workshops and storytelling sessions for Macmillan Iberia. Her interests lie in utilising drama and theatre skills within the ESL classroom for all ages and levels as well as working with storytelling as a vehicle for language learning and production.

importance of storytelling essay

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Theme Analysis

Survival Theme Icon

The nature of storytelling itself is threaded throughout Life of Pi , as the book is told in a complex way through several layers of narration. The real author writes in the first person as a fictional author similar to Yann Martel himself, and this author retells the story he heard from the adult Pi about Pi’s younger self. At the end, in a transcript of an interview which the author provides, the young Pi then retells an alternate story of how he survived his days at sea, giving a version of events with only human survivors instead of animals. The larger question raised by the novel’s framework is then about the nature of truth in storytelling. Pi values atheism as much as religion, but he chooses to subscribe to three religions because of the truth and beauty he finds in their stories. He also possibly invents the animal version of his story as a way of finding more truth in his ordeal – as well as staying sane by retelling his gruesome experience in a more beautiful way. The Japanese officials think Pi’s human story is the “true” one, but they both admit that the animal story is much more compelling and memorable. In the end Martel comes down clearly on the side of storytelling as its own truth. When actual events and realities are unknowable – like the existence of God, the reason the Tsimtsum sank, or just how Pi survived the Pacific for 227 days – we must choose the stories that seem the most true, beautiful, and moving, and make them our own.

Storytelling ThemeTracker

Life of Pi PDF

Storytelling Quotes in Life of Pi

He took in my line of work with a widening of the eyes and a nodding of the head. It was time to go. I had my hand up, trying to catch my waiter’s eye to get the bill. Then the elderly man said, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.”

Religion and Faith Theme Icon

In the literature can be found legions of examples of animals that could escape but did not, or did and returned… But I don’t insist. I don’t mean to defend zoos. Close them all down if you want (and let us hope that what wildlife remains can survive in what is left of the natural world). I know zoos are no longer in people’s good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both. The Pondicherry Zoo doesn’t exist any more. Its pits are filled in, the cages torn down. I explore it now in the only place left for it, my memory.

Survival Theme Icon

I can well imagine an atheist’s last words… and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, “Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain,” and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story.

“If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn’t love hard to believe?... Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?” “We’re just being reasonable.” “So am I! I applied my reason at every moment… Nothing beats reason for keeping tigers away. But be excessively reasonable and you risk throwing out the universe with the bathwater.”

“So tell me, since it makes no factual difference to you and you can’t prove the question either way, which story do you prefer? Which is the better story, the story with animals or the story without animals?” Mr. Okamoto: “That’s an interesting question…” Mr. Chiba: “The story with animals.” Mr. Okamoto: “Yes. The story with animals is the better story.” Pi Patel: “Thank you. And so it goes with God.”

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The skill of telling stories.

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By Mikhail Kadymov , Owner of Alpha-Center.

I would like to tell you my story about story telling—excuse my wordplay. Telling stories is a powerful skill that can be used to inspire, motivate and lead others. Whether it's in the context of leadership, sales or motivation, storytelling has the ability to captivate an audience, convey important messages and create a lasting impact. Here are some of my insights and experiences on the skill of telling stories in those specific areas.

Storytelling is an essential tool for effective leadership. Leaders who can tell compelling stories have the ability to connect with their teams on a deeper level, inspire them to action and communicate their vision in a way that resonates with others. I believe great leader knows how to use stories to illustrate key values, share experiences and provide context for their decisions.

One of the most powerful aspects of storytelling in leadership is its ability to humanize the leader. Consider sharing personal anecdotes and experiences to create a sense of empathy and understanding among their team members. This can help you break down barriers, build trust and foster a more collaborative and supportive work environment.

In my own experience, I have seen the impact of storytelling in leadership firsthand. I once worked with a leader who was able to rally the entire team around a new initiative by sharing a personal story about overcoming adversity. This story not only inspired us, but it also gave us a deeper understanding of the leader's motivations and values, which in turn strengthened our commitment to the project.

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In a competitive marketplace, the ability to tell a compelling story can set a salesperson apart from the rest. Try to weave a narrative that highlights the benefits of a product or service, addresses the customer's pain points or showcases real-life success stories. This way, you can create a more engaging and persuasive sales pitch.

Effective storytelling in sales is not just about presenting facts and figures; you must create an emotional connection with the customer. When a salesperson can tell a story that resonates with the customer's needs and desires, it becomes much easier to build rapport and ultimately close the deal.

I have personally witnessed this impact during my time working in a sales role by incorporating customer success and failure stories into my presentations. This made for a more compelling narrative that helped potential clients see the real-world benefits of our products. With this approach, I was able to increase our sales conversion rates and strengthen our relationships with existing customers.

You can use storytelling as a tool to motivate and inspire others. Whether it's in a professional setting or in personal development, I've found that stories have the ability to convey important lessons, instill a sense of purpose and ignite a passion for growth and improvement. In my recent role as a leader and mentor, I see how this helps illustrate what I'm trying to communicate and teach my team.

If you're looking to motivate your coworkers, tell a story that illustrates a journey from struggle to success, the triumph of the human spirit or the power of perseverance. By sharing stories of individuals who have overcome obstacles, achieved their goals or made a positive impact, you, as a motivator, can instill a sense of hope, resilience and determination in your audience.

In my experience as a motivator and coach, I have found that sharing my own experiences of overcoming challenges and achieving personal growth has helped to motivate young colleagues to take action, pursue common goals and embrace a mindset of continuous improvement and development. As we are working in quite an unpredictable and “shaky” market and economy in Kazakhstan, the role of continuous motivation is hard to overestimate.

To conclude, the skill of telling stories is valuable and one of the key assets in many realms, especially in fostering leadership, sales and motivation. Whether it's using stories to communicate a vision, persuade a customer or inspire personal growth, the ability to craft and deliver compelling narratives can have a profound impact on others. By honing this skill, individuals can become more effective leaders, persuasive salespeople and influential motivators, ultimately driving positive change and success in their respective fields and even in their personal lives.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

Mikhail Kadymov

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The GPT-WritingPrompts Dataset: A Comparative Analysis of Character Portrayal in Short Stories

  • Huang, Xi Yu
  • Vishnubhotla, Krishnapriya
  • Rudzicz, Frank

The improved generative capabilities of large language models have made them a powerful tool for creative writing and storytelling. It is therefore important to quantitatively understand the nature of generated stories, and how they differ from human storytelling. We augment the Reddit WritingPrompts dataset with short stories generated by GPT-3.5, given the same prompts. We quantify and compare the emotional and descriptive features of storytelling from both generative processes, human and machine, along a set of six dimensions. We find that generated stories differ significantly from human stories along all six dimensions, and that human and machine generations display similar biases when grouped according to the narrative point-of-view and gender of the main protagonist. We release our dataset and code at

  • Computer Science - Computation and Language


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  1. What Makes Storytelling So Effective For Learning?

    For starters, storytelling forges connections among people, and between people and ideas. Stories convey the culture, history, and values that unite people. When it comes to our countries, our communities, and our families, we understand intuitively that the stories we hold in common are an important part of the ties that bind.

  2. The Science Behind The Art Of Storytelling

    In his essay "The Science of Storytelling: What Listening to a Story Does to Our Brains", entrepreneur and storyteller Leo Widrich noted that there's research to suggest that when we hear a story, "not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the ...

  3. Stories Matter: Why Stories Are Important to Our Lives and Culture

    Stories preserve culture and pass on cultural knowledge from one generation to another. In essence, stories keep cultures alive. Stories provide a timeless link to ancient traditions, legends, myths, and archetypes. But they also connect us to universal truths about ourselves and our world. Through stories, we share passions, fears, sadness ...

  4. The Importance of Storytelling and Story Creation

    Co-creating stories with an adult or peers helps our children and students begin to create stories they can share with others. Adults begin "storytelling" with infants and toddlers by sharing nursery rhymes, songs, and bedtime stories. Then we help them to learn to read others' stories and write their own.

  5. Storytelling: What is it and Why is it Important?

    According to Andrew, it's extremely important if you want to build trust and if you want to build a following. We believe in the power of storytelling. In fact, we start all of our partnerships with a Brand Storytelling Session. Picture this: You go onto a website. For ease, let's say it's a digital marketing agency.

  6. How Telling Stories Makes Us Human: It's a Key to Evolution

    Storytelling is important to society and benefits the storytellers, a new study found. Here's why it's so significant. There's a reason every culture on the planet does it.

  7. PDF Telling Stories: How Leaders Can Influence, Teach, and Inspire

    The Power of Storytelling to Influence, Teach, and Inspire All your leaders have stories to tell. The best way to get them to tell theirs, and to enhance their abilities to influence, teach, and inspire, is to build a storytelling culture. Make sure that storytelling holds a central place in your learning programs. Tips for Making an Organization

  8. Why Storytelling Matters: Unveiling the Literacy Benefits of

    The study findings show support for some of the previously assumed literacy benefits of live oral storytelling and point to the importance of continuing to offer storytelling events in public and school libraries. ... essays, or short stories after listening to a story. Storytellers can record children who are too young to write reciting their ...

  9. Telling a Story in Academic Writing

    Telling a Story in Academic Writing. Storytelling is the most engaging way to communicate. In storytelling, writers use a variety of methods to maintain an appealing pace, to create human connections with their readers, and to help readers visualize their ideas. These same techniques are effective across all types of writing.

  10. The Power of Narrative Writing

    Narrative writing is the act of crafting a written narrative (or story), real or imagined. Here are a few different types of written narratives: Novels, films, television shows, and plays are narratives. A narrative essay is written like a short story, but it's an account of real events whereas a short story is fictional.

  11. The Four Powers of Storytelling in Scholarship Essays

    Luckily, storytelling makes it possible for you to be the one that stands out. So, storytelling is an important element of your scholarship essay for a number of reasons. Here are the most important ones. 1. Personal Mark. Storytelling allows you to show off your personality and help the committee picture who you are and what you're like.

  12. The Importance of Powerful Storytelling in Writing

    Good stories—like good writing—keep readers moving and keep the main point uncluttered. In narrative writing, or verbal storytelling, readers stay involved where they feel momentum. Scenes are important, but too many static paragraphs (or pages) of description start to feel like a still life. Readers need to feel momentum, what novelist ...

  13. The Power of Storytelling: How Stories Shape Our Lives

    In this article, we will explore the profound power of storytelling and how stories influence our lives, perspectives, and values. We will delve into the impact of stories on personal growth ...

  14. Storytelling

    As a storyteller, you convey your message in a way that stimulates people's minds and evokes emotion. You can use any medium to tell a good story—photographs, podcasts, videos and even paintings! Businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of storytelling. It's a vital communication skill that helps employees engage better at work.

  15. Full article: The power of stories: A framework to orchestrate

    Introduction. Storytelling has been part of human life for as long as we know. The power of stories has been acknowledged since the times of Aristotle, and is still embraced by modern philosophers: "You can't really change the heart without telling a story" (Martha Nussbaum, (Nussbaum, Citation 2007)).Stories are special in making people aware of their shared values and they call to ...

  16. Importance and Power of Storytelling

    Main body. Stories are powerful because they shape our worldview and help us understand other people's perspectives. For example, stories about slavery cause one to realize why this phenomenon should never happen again. Moreover, reading a story written from another person's perspective makes one more empathetic and conscious of other ...

  17. 17 Benefits Of Storytelling (The Full Guide)

    Fun. As A Stimulus. Confidence. Brain Development. Listening And Attention. Magic! Providing Hope. In ten years of teaching children between the ages of 3 and 5, I have found that storytelling in its different forms can be the driving force behind getting children learning, and setting them up for future success.

  18. From the Editors: Being Scheherazade: the Importance of Storytelling in

    BEING SCHEHERAZADE: THE IMPORTANCE OF STORYTELLING IN ACADEMIC WRITING. We have two jobs as scholars: Answering stories inter- stronger and enhance their impact by spend- esting questions and telling the story. Numerous ing time inside the heads of master storytellers. books, articles, and "From the Editors" columns are dedicated to the former ...

  19. Why Storytelling is Important

    Storytelling brings language learning alive and creates a participatory and immersive experience that allows Young Learners to enjoy hearing the language in a dynamic, sometimes stylistic and entertaining way. Participation using key vocabulary and phrases can create an awareness of rhythm and structure. This atmosphere of play and creative ...

  20. Storytelling Essay Examples

    Storytelling is a common theme in the human experience. Almost all civilizations have a tradition of storytelling whether it be folk tales used to teach lessons or stories used to remember the past. Storytelling is important to Judaism as it is used to recount Jewish history and to teach new generations about the past to create a better future.

  21. Storytelling Theme in Life of Pi

    The nature of storytelling itself is threaded throughout Life of Pi, as the book is told in a complex way through several layers of narration.The real author writes in the first person as a fictional author similar to Yann Martel himself, and this author retells the story he heard from the adult Pi about Pi's younger self. At the end, in a transcript of an interview which the author provides ...

  22. The Skill Of Telling Stories

    Leadership. Storytelling is an essential tool for effective leadership. Leaders who can tell compelling stories have the ability to connect with their teams on a deeper level, inspire them to ...

  23. News & Publications

    Stay up-to-date with the AHA View All News The American Historical Review is the flagship journal of the AHA and the journal of record for the historical discipline in the United States, bringing together scholarship from every major field of historical study. Learn More Perspectives on History is the newsmagazine…

  24. The GPT-WritingPrompts Dataset: A Comparative Analysis of Character

    The improved generative capabilities of large language models have made them a powerful tool for creative writing and storytelling. It is therefore important to quantitatively understand the nature of generated stories, and how they differ from human storytelling. We augment the Reddit WritingPrompts dataset with short stories generated by GPT-3.5, given the same prompts.