Strong Storytelling Can Tally Up Math Skills

Kids who were good at the first at young age turned out to be good with numbers

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THURSDAY, Aug. 12, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A child's storytelling skills at a young age may predict later math ability, say researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Researchers asked 3- and 4-year-old children to use a picture book to tell a story to a puppet and rated the children's storytelling talents.

Two years later, the children were given a number of tests of academic ability, including math skills. Children who had scored high on certain measures of storytelling also scored high on the math test.

"It was only certain aspects of storytelling that were related to later mathematical ability," lead researcher Daniela O'Neill said in a prepared statement.

"Most strongly predictive of children's mathematical performance was their ability to relate all the different events in the story, to shift clearly from the actions of one character to another, and to adopt the perspective of different characters and talk about what they were feeling or thinking," O'Neill said.

The findings suggest that building strong storytelling skills in preschool children may help prepare them for learning math when they start school.

The study appears in the current issue of First Language.

More information

The Ambulatory Pediatric Association has advice on building your child's preschool and school skills.

SOURCE: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, news release, July 29, 2004

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