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Utah State University

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


Classroom Storytelling to Enhance Language and Literacy Skills (C-SHELLS) is a guide for helping preschool children “write” books. C-SHELLS is designed to promote communication by using storytelling and book making activities to promote child language and literacy skills and community by helping culturally and linguistically diverse children engage with peers, understand classroom routines, and develop socially appropriate and regulated behaviors. C-SHELLS helps teachers engage children, get them talking, help them make friends, and increase their school readiness. C-SHELLS activities do this by helping children work together to make picture books based on shared classroom experiences. C-SHELLS uses a simple, fun, and engaging approach. In our previous work, parents receiving home visits have used this approach to improve the language skills of children who are English language learners and children who have language delays or related disabilities. Preschool teachers can use this approach with children in their classrooms. C-SHELLS incorporates evidence-based practices that promote children’s language, literacy, and social development. C-SHELLS activities are designed to build preschool children’s communication and behavioral skills within their preschool community. As children learn to organize and talk about experiences, they are learning skills important for later reading and understanding what is read. The C-SHELLS process for creating books is straightforward, and many preschool teachers have made books with young children. However, the benefit of making books depends on children’s engagement, conversation, and participation. A 3-part process is recommended. First, share experiences by encouraging children’s conversation about and interest in an activity. Second, make books by writing down what children say about photos or drawings of the shared experience and organizing words and pictures into a book. Finally, use the books by reading and talking about the books together again and again.

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