Historic Royal Palaces
Julia Carroll, Rosa Kwok, Anna Cunningham, Luisa Tarczynski-Bowles
This project evaluated the Curious Stories programme for schools provided by Historic Royal Palaces. This was a programme for reception and year 1 classes in which children were encouraged to develop oral and written language skills through storytelling and understanding of other times and places. We compared three schools who took part in the programme with two who did not.
To evaluate the programme a mixed methodology approach was used. Children taking part in the intervention were compared to a control group of children not taking part before and after the programme on their language, writing and attainments. Teachers were asked to complete an online survey and parents were interviewed over the phone. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected to enable an overall examination of the programme to statistically evaluate positive outcomes of Curious Stories on the children’s literacy skills and to assess any impact of the programme on teachers and parents. Mixed methodology was implemented to enable examination of the programme from different perspectives to provide more robust evidence of its efficacy.
The group who received the intervention produced longer stories at the post-test, both in terms of their spoken storytelling and their written stories. Their written stories also contained more adjectives and a more coherent story structure. However their overall vocabulary and the amount of information conveyed in their spoken stories was similar to the control group.
In general the teachers and parents were very positive about the project and felt it had been useful in introducing new ideas as well as developing storytelling skills, and that all the children had really enjoyed it.
The research shows that the Curious Stories intervention was effective at improving oral and written storytelling skills in beginning writers.