The Benefits of Fantasy Storytelling for Elementary-Aged Children
Going beyond the traditional storytelling and literature being taught in the classroom, fantasy stories have broad appeal and provide many critical benefits. They help children to develop their imaginations, to gain a better understanding of the world, to acquire essential language and literacy skills, and to grow emotionally.
Develop Imagination and A Greater Understanding of the World
Children who read fantasy stories have an advantage in the development of their imaginations, in comparison to their peers who read stories without an element of fantasy. As a form of escapism, fantasy stories allow children to explore a world of make-believe, enabling them to gain a greater understanding of their own world in the process.
Fantasy stories introduce characters and settings that can be so vastly different than what exists in the real world. With this exposure, children are able to make sense of their own realities. Drawing mental comparisons between the fantasy worlds and their own, the dream-like nature of the stories can broaden the readers’ horizons, along with their ability to think critically.
Language and Literacy Skills
Fantasy stories also provide huge benefits in the development of language and literacy skills. The use of often fairly advanced vocabulary – accounting for the genre’s suitability for older readers, as well as younger – encourages children to increase their levels of comprehension and to develop their own language skills. This can include an improved command of descriptive language, which is beneficial to all aspects of their reading and writing.
Several systematic studies have suggested that there is a direct connection between reading for pleasure and numerous literacy-related benefits. It has been widely documented that children who enjoy reading will tend to develop a greater penchant for reading and language generally, with reading fantasy stories being particularly beneficial.
Emotional Growth and Development
Notwithstanding the cognitive benefits outlined above, fantasy books also have a role to play in aiding emotional development. Fairytales are said to help with the children’s emotional development, as they often embody various moral tales and help give young readers the tools to make sense of the world around them.
What’s more, stories can offer readers the safe environment being explored, meaning that they can come to terms with different and sometimes difficult emotions without feeling under threat. Via the characters in the stories, an identification process begins, providing an outlet for children to explore certain emotions in a non-threatening way.
In conclusion, it’s clear that fantasy stories bring an abundance of positive benefits to elementary-aged children. From helping children to develop their imaginations and gain a better understanding of the world, to enabling them to acquire essential language and literacy skills, and to grow emotionally, there are many rewards associated with engaging with this form of creative storytelling.
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