Storytelling in the Classroom

Lesson Plans and Activities

Story Library
Storytelling Books and Tapes Articles


Curriculum Ideas Exchange

Storytelling in the Classroom

Concepts and Activities

by Heather Forest


*It is empowering for a child to be able to express his or her thoughts and feelings articulately through oral language.

*The art of storytelling can be an enjoyable tool for practicing both listening skills and verbal expression.

*Teachers can effectively model interesting, expressive language for students to emulate.

*New vocabulary can be introduced and easily comprehended within a story's context.

*Diverse ways in which language is used can be depicted in folktales, including instructions, recipes, secrets, riddles, warnings, questions, and explanations.

*People learn new skills when they are interested in the topic or when it is useful to them. Finding folktales to tell can stimulate reading and research interest. Folktale collections can be found in the 398.2 section of library.

*Storytelling is a way to emphasize the uniqueness of each person's imagination.

*Imagination can generate language.

*Comprehension, or the ability to make sense of a story's plot, is facilitated by being able to mentally map the story's main events.


*Simplify the plot of a folktale into a story skeleton and then, using personal imagination, flesh it out as a retelling. Use vocabulary that is based on visualization of the tale.

*As a preliminary step in learning a traditional folktale to retell, sequence the story as a map, a mural, an outline, a flow chart or any other form which summarizes the flow of events.

*Make sense of a tale by sequencing the tale as a time line.

*Explore pre-prepared story skeletons given on a printed sheet by having partners read the tale out loud to each other and then improvise a retelling in their own words.

*Read a picture book out loud to students whose eyes are closed. Without showing them the book's illustrations, discuss the pictures students saw in their imagination. Then compare and discuss the illustrator's vision of the tale as the book's pictures are shown.

*Explore acting out the characters in the story to bring color and variety into the face and voice.

*Try retelling a story using lots of characterization as well as being the narrator.

*Arrange to trade classes with another teacher for a few minutes to try the story out on new ears.

*Explore spontaneous speech or improvisational language by making up oral poetry.

*Try reading a folktale out loud one day and then, visualizing it like a movie, retell it in your own words the next day.

*Ask the students to retell the tale in their own words with the prompt, "And then what happened next? Have them act the story out as a play.

*Improvisation: Retelling a small section of a printed tale as part of a chain story. Each person tells a bit of the story until it's over.

*Create a story corner in the classroom where stories are read or told by both students and teachers.

*Have a Story Exchange Week. During this celebration of stories, teachers can use their story corners as a place to have guest teachers from other classrooms share favorite stories. The stories could be read (with lots of characterization) or retold.

*Students could ask parents or older family members to tell them something amusing or interesting they remember the student doing when they were small. Students could share this autobiographical tale in the story corner.

*Students could make a class book retelling a favorite folktale and send it to other classes.

*Tell students personal tales recounting stories of your youth.

Copyright © 2000   Heather Forest

Storytelling in the Classroom | Lesson Plans & Activities
Story Library | Articles | Links | Curriculum Ideas Exchange
Storytelling Store | Story Arts Theatre | Awards
Newsletter | Site Map | Contact Us | Home

Copyright © 2000   Story Arts