There can be little doubt that pedagogical practices have increasingly become focused on reading and writing in childhood education. In the Presence of Each Other is a brilliant ethnography that examines the educational benefits of the use of oral storytelling in the classroom and the ways in which non-print literacy enhances children's overall language and communication capacities. Presenting a strong argument based on compelling evidence for the incorporation of oral practices in the classroom, Johanna Kuyvenhoven follows a group of children in grades four and five as they forge an inclusive learning environment that respects linguistic, social, and ethnic diversity by sharing stories out loud. She traces the positive effects that oral storytelling has on children's vocabularies, writing skills, as well as for problem-solving abilities and empathetic responses that are essential to learning across the disciplines. In the Presence of Each Other is a ground-breaking work not only for educators but also for anyone interested in the practice of storytelling.
Johanna Kuyvenhoven is an associate professor in the Education Department at Calvin College.
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