Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Arts




Heydon, Rachel



The purpose of this systematic literature review was to investigate and synthesize several aspects of storytelling in the reviewed scholarly research, providing a holistic summary and potential insights for early childhood educators. The study asked: (1) What are the various forms, modes and media, and involved pedagogies that storytelling in early childhood education can take? (2) What are the reported benefits of storytelling in early childhood education? (3) Based on the literature, what understandings and pedagogical implications are enriched for early childhood educators to utilize storytelling in their pedagogies? Using a theoretical framework based in multimodal literacy and sociocultural theory, data for the study were derived from 33 screened articles that had been published in the last 10 years. The findings showcase that educators use diverse storytelling approaches with multimodal ensembles in early childhood education, and storytelling was found to provide children a variety of different opportunities to make meaning of the world and express it. By being immersed in storytelling, children were documented in the literature as benefiting from considerable immediate and long-term effects. This study offers understandings of a diversity of forms of storytelling and instructional implications for engaging children through multimodal participation. Additionally, this study may provide baseline knowledge for teacher education to improve storytelling strategies and corresponding multimodal scaffolding feedback, which may provide insights into supporting young children’s storytelling experiences.

Summary for Lay Audience

Summary for Lay Audience

This systematic literature review focuses on studies exploring children’s storytelling practices in the context of early childhood classrooms, offering a summary of its forms, involved modes and media, included pedagogies, and benefits.

With the selecting strategies and screening criteria, I drew on this SLR of 33 reviewed studies from Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database (CBCA), Education Database, and Academic Search Ultimate. By employing inductive and deductive thematic analysis, I synthesized the extracted data and reported findings based on my research questions which concerned several aspects of early childhood storytelling practice. This study intends to enrich early childhood educators’ understandings of storytelling, encouraging them to incorporate storytelling in their pedagogies and providing insights to employ this practice in an engaging and multimodal environment to meet children’s needs and interests. In addition, this study may support teacher education in improving pedagogical strategies for storytelling, which also offers suggestions for future research needs in exploring storytelling’s scaffolding and feedback with multimodal features.