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We love to listen to stories and they are a powerful resource for our classroom activities
Storytelling is part of our human heritage. It’s hard-wired in us to both tell stories and listen to stories of others. It’s a powerful approach for any language teacher to adopt into their teaching.
There are many ways one might do story “telling” and especially retelling as a lesson activity. I’d like to share one that truly works wonders, offers repetition, recycling and allows students to see their improvement in using the English language. After, I’ll list some other ways and lesson library resources for storytelling.
Retelling is a powerful way for students to learn language. They retell in their own words and using the context of “the story”, acquire language. Here is a nice template to use with these activities.
A Storytelling Retelling Lesson
1. Find a set of stories for students to read. One short story for each student. I recommend using our Best Funny Stories. You could use any set of simple stories, folktales work well too) Give one to a student (one of your better students). Ask the student to go out of the classroom and read it carefully.
2. Model the activity. Tell or read the rest of the students a story and tell them to listen carefully because if they guess the ending, you’ll give them a prize. Stop before the punchline or ending and ask them if they can guess it. Here is one I wrote and use often - Who Is Driving The Bus?
3. Bring in the student who is outside. Ask them to retell their story to the class, stopping before the ending/punchline. The student can read but should try to retell as much of the story without looking at the text. Students listen and guess the ending.
4. Then, the class takes turns telling the first story, the teacher told. The student who went outside tries to guess the ending.
5. Main Activity. Give all students a story. Give them 3-5 minutes to understand and read, ask any questions about the text. Then, put students in groups of 3-4 and each student tells their story to others. Stopping so others can guess the punchline.
6. Jigsaw. Give students in each group a number. The “1s” form a group. The “2s” etc… They change to new groups and retell their story a second time (and will do much better!). Continue to form new groups if you have time and give students more opportunities to improve in telling their story without reading.
7. Return to the first group. Students then must retell a story they were told by others in the last group!
8. Conclusion. As a whole class, finish up by asking what were the best stories. Get some better students to retell the best story to the whole group (some students won’t have heard it!).
Other storytelling resources in our Lesson Library.
Stories for Kids. These simple stories can be used. After reading, prompt students to retell the story.
Zen Stories. Very short but work well.
Movie plots. This works well for retelling without any text. Students prepare and then retell the plot of a movie they know well. See our cards.
Enjoy using stories in class! It is a fantastic, fun approach.
These are just some of the 1000s story related lesson materials in our library!