Listening to the children’s stories: To a more mutual interaction

Narges Sadat Sajjadieh, University of Tehran, Iran (
Mohammadreza Madanifar, Institute of Stalk of Thinking and Action, Iran (
Fatemeh Zolanvari, Institute of Stalk of Thinking and Action, Iran (

Background: Much research has indicated the positive effects of storytelling on improving children’s lives. Stories create new worlds in which, children can have new experiences. These vicarious experiences empower children for encountering the real world. On the other hand, preparing situations for children to tell their lived stories can enrich their experiences. Bridging the gap between stories and the children’s lifeworlds, this approach attempts to close the world of stories to the children’s lifeworlds. Consequently, the children can be more agent in the stories, they feel themselves closer to the stories, and grasp the stories’ themes more deeply.

Aim: To establish a schema for synchronising telling stories to children and listening to stories from children and to understand how this synchronised schema can enrich children’s real lived experiences.

Method: This research has two phases. At first, regarding an agent view of human action, we tried to plan a schema for a telling/ listening story program with children and implemented this with five groups of children aged 5 to 8 years. There were 6-8 children in each group. The total number of children who participated in this research was 32. In the second phase, we interviewed the 25 volunteer parents of these children asking about the presence of the central themes in the stories to their children’s real-life experiences.

Results: Based on the findings of this research the Story, Child, and the Life (SCL) program was developed. This program synchronised telling stories to children with listening to stories from children. The qualitative interview results indicated that this accompaniment of telling for children and listening from children results in children’s deep applied understanding of the stories’ themes.

Conclusions: Story listening alongside story telling can connect the children’s daily lives to the stories’ themes and recognise their agency. This approach helps them re-enact and recreate the stories’ themes in their lifeworlds. Therefore, this can result in a more meaningful applied presence of themes in their real worlds.

Implications for children: You can tell your own stories, tell stories about things that you are learning, and learn from other people’s stories. You can recreate your experiences and improve your life.

Implications for families: Listening to children’s real-life stories can motivate children to reflect on their own lived experiences. It can help us enter into the children’s lifeworlds and view things from their points of view. This can facilitate our interrelationship with children.   

Implications for practitioners: Listening to children’s stories improves children’s experiences. This approach can enter us into the children’s lifeworlds, help us to understand their concerns, and provide a situation for a fusion of horizons.  

Key words: children’s voices, story listening, agent, philosophical and qualitative methods

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: