The Magic of Storytelling: The Gateway to Literacy

Early Childhood Education - Discover Playful Ways to Engage Children in Storytelling
Free tutorial
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 (1,460 ratings)
16,329 students
1hr 24min of on-demand video

Introduction to Fantasy Play
The Work of Vivian Paley & Boston Public Schools
The Role of the Teacher
Be Courageous & Bold - Certificate of Completion


  • Basic understanding of child development.
  • Interest in learning more about how teachers can draw out children's stories.


Literacy begins with telling our story!  Discover playful and creative ways to engage children in speaking, drawing, and writing about their lives through imaginary play.

In Reggio Emilia classrooms, the most important voice is the voice of the child.  Our task, is to draw out their stories.

We begin by defining Cooperative play is the highest form of play. Learn how recognize the types of play occurring in your classroom.  Lev Vygotsky was a Russian developmental psychologist in the early twentieth century.  His research in child development led to what is now called, the Constructivist Theory.  The belief that we all learn by constructing knowledge over time.  We will examine the work of Vygotsky and Dewey as they describe the child as a social learner, becoming knowledgeable within the context of group work and play.  Vygotsky differentiated between immature and mature play - calling dramatic play the highest form of learning.

This course follows the research of Vivian Paley, examining our adult perceptions of children's learning and the value of imaginary play.  We look at the work of Boston Public Schools implementing Paley's model of storytelling.  What is Paley getting at when she says, "As I continued to record the children's dialogues, my own mind began to open.  I felt ready to risk the role of storyteller".  Paley (2009)  How comfortable are you as a teacher fostering make-believe stories?

Finally we will look into teaching strategies, encouraging teachers to take a leap of faith in modeling storytelling based upon the real stories occurring in your classroom.   Drawing stories out from children is really about mastering the art of asking open-ended questions.  It requires a patience to wait for young children to process your questions and respond.  We place interesting materials in front of the children and ask them to create something.  As the child creates, we engage them in conversations, writing down their words.

This course includes over 60 minutes of quality classroom video and pdf article downloads.

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Who this course is for:

  • This course is designed for Early Childhood educators, leaders and policy makers.


Mary Ann Biermeier
  • 4.7 Instructor Rating
  • 2,418 Reviews
  • 18,245 Students
  • 5 Courses

Mary Ann Biermeier M.Ed. began her teaching career in education in 2000 after a 20 year career in software design and development.  She brings to our online courses over twenty years experience in early childhood education - first as a classroom teacher and also as the Director of Professional Development at NAEYC accredited preschool in Arizona. Not only does she have 12 years of direct classroom experience, she continues to provide educator workshops and online courses in the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. 

She has served on the Governing Board for Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children and served as Executive Director for Valley of the Sun Early Childhood Association in Greater Phoenix, Arizona. She has served on the executive board of All-Star Kids Tutoring, an Arizona non-profit providing volunteer tutors that mentor children in grades 2 & 3 struggling with literacy and reading fluency. She is also former board chair of Communities In Schools, an Arizona non-profit providing community resources within schools to help young people successfully learn, stay in school and prepare for life.

Mary Ann Biermeier is an Arizona certified instructor holding a Master degree with distinction in Early Childhood Education Curriculum & Instruction from Northern Arizona University, a graduate degree in Instructional Design and Digital Media from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. in Political Science & Economics from the University of Minnesota.

Deep learning is always connected to enjoyment ~ all things with joy!

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