English is considered one of the most important subjects for students right from an early age. It is the official language of more than fifty countries and is spoken by more than 750 million people worldwide, either as their first or second language. This wide influence of English on the working and lifestyle opportunities around the globe makes good English language skills a desirable trait in students. No wonder teachers and parents start focusing on their students and child’s language skills in English right from primary school level!
One of the most widely accepted mediums of imparting language skills among younger kids is storytelling, verbal and written. Additionally, it also helps in the overall growth and development of a child’s personality. The question then arises whether the books and materials that are available to children for learning purposes are upto the standards in terms of their content. But before diving into this question, let’s have a look as to why stories are important for kids, especially at younger age and when learning a new language other than their mother tongue.
- Stories are an extraordinary medium to help students enrich their vocabulary and communication skills. By observing the characters of stories while interacting with each other, they get the sense of different modes of carrying out a conversation. Teachers can even try enacting stories in classes with kids as actors playing various roles. If done from an early age such as Class 1, students can develop a wider perspective about the world around themselves.
- They are also a great way to instill values and ethics in learners as stories carry within themselves a lesson to be remembered and cherished. They are much more than the simplistic setup and events described via words on pages and helping students understand this aspect should be one of the major goals of books and teachers. It’s a well-established fact through research and studies that students who spend their time reading or listening to stories tend to become sensitive, honest, compassionate and empathetic members of society later on.
- Another benefit is that quality storytelling imparts social and emotional skills in students which makes their personality dynamic. They open up students’ minds to new places, cultures, beliefs, people, etc. and allow them to develop a larger understanding of the world where similarities and differences exist together. Consequently, they get to learn comprehending things while taking into account various perspectives and not just their own limited experiences and beliefs.
- Reading, listening or weaving a story is also a mental exercise that improves imagination skills in students. Allowing them the space to imaginate characters in real life as they unfold on paper but with a hint of their own, makes their thinking process rich with creativity. Such skills come in handy later on in problem solving and innovation oriented career choices.
- When a story is being narrated in class, students tend to show increased concentration and attention to detail which indicates the fact that storytelling is really helpful for students struggling with a short attention span. In general as well, teaching complex concepts via storytelling is a tested method to retain more information for a longer time.
Having outlined the benefits of quality stories for students, it’s now time to analyse whether the standard books prescribed in schools are rich enough to bring about all these benefits. NCERTs are the most popular and standard study material present out there that are said to be both students and teachers friendly. Here are a few pointers assessing whether NCERT Class 1 English Book has good english stories.
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- NCERT textbooks are curated by a group of experts experienced in pedagogical tools and well aware of the cognitive level of students for whom such material is being curated. Thus, the stories mentioned in these books are put there after much deliberation and research.
- Students of younger classes such as Class 1 require a great amount of assistance in navigating through these stories included in these books and for the same reason, each story is followed by a variety of exercises and engaging tasks. Furthermore, instructions for teachers are also given making it easier for them to make teaching these stories in classrooms way more interesting and educational. As already mentioned above, stories are a great source for making students aware of the world around them and it’s precisely what these exercises at the end of each chapter does for them.
- Another important feature that makes these english books quite exceptional is that stories in them are accompanied by colourful and engaging illustrations which enable students to have a graphical vision of the events being described. Children often stay engrossed in books that have a colourful layout and are full of pictures. In that way, NCERTs are a package of quality content presented in a captivating manner.
- Language used in these stories is also very much in accordance with the cognitive level of students. What is even more fascinating is that stories in these books are written in a very balanced form wherein students are both entertained and educated in terms of lessons being conveyed and the vocabulary used.
- Additionally, the subject matter of these stories is quite diverse making them very relatable yet educational. Instead of using themes which might come across as wry or beyond the understanding for kids of this age group, these books do an extremely intelligent job when it comes to story selection.
- Last but not the least, stories mentioned in these books are culturally rooted and students coming from any strata of our Indian society can easily understand the context of events being described. Right from using names which are culturally appropriate to the setting of these stories, either in villages or in suburbs or cities, these stories create a realistic image of society in students’ minds.
All in all, stories are a great medium to share experiences, knowledge systems and wisdom from generation to generation and schools with their innovative textbooks play a very important role in this. In this context, NCERTs for grade one are a treasure trove of knowledge, staying true to all parameters of quality content.