Storytelling the past

Primary History article

By Alastair Daniel, published 30th October 2020

The role of story and storytelling in primary history

This article will demonstrate how to engage children through storytelling and how it can be used to develop their critical understanding of the past.

Why story?

Despite their common derivation, the words ‘history’ and ‘story’ suggest very different kinds of knowledge, the former carrying overtones of detached understanding of the past, and the latter being concerned with individuals and their personal journeys. While these differences can sometimes make the relationship between story and history uncomfortable, story remains fundamental to the way that we understand the world in which we live. In history, stories can be fictional narratives set in particular periods, or can provide accounts of specific events bringing together disparate pieces of factual evidence to create a coherent whole. In either case, when we use story, we work with the way the brain most likes to organise information and create networks of connected ideas...

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