Storytelling Helpers

We are on Spring Break here in Oregon.   Spring Break is always a reminder to me that the school year will soon be coming to a close.  At this time of year, I find that quite a few of the children I have been working are at a sentence level and I need to find something more difficult so that  they are working with connected speech.

I thought  storytelling would meet my needs.  Storytelling  is a good way to see language development on many levels to include, fluency, sentence development, story sequence, and ability to formulate a beginning, middle, and end.  A lot of these skills correspond directly to what is being taught in writing.

A few things magically fell into place. I discovered my new white board is magnetic, The secretary asked if I would try out a new box of multiple color white board markers for possible ordering next year (at this time of year this is a real find) and I found a stash of old refrigerator magnets.  I have some old felt backed storytelling materials for Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three Pigs, and Billy Goat Gruff.  Although I’ve used these in the past, I’ve found the children tell the stories very routinely and  it doesn’t lead to much variation.  I’m not always sure they have developed the skills I’m looking at.

I’ve found that by adding props and  structure the students get a better start I decided to print off characters and objects typically found in fairy tales but enough of a variety that the story plot could develop differently than the stories  they already knew. I cut the refrigerator magnets into strips that were then taped to the back of the characters and objects.  I started them out by adding some back ground with the markers;  a beach, mountain trail, some trees.  I told them they weren’t limited to the pictured objects because they could draw more if they needed it.

Children love to hear and make their own stories.   However many children  are quite daunted with the task of making a story because they have very little experience with it. Students end up with a tale that has very little detail or reasoning in it.  The story becomes a process of  labeling of objects or the characters do actions without explanation.  You may need to model how to make a narrative, add detail, and make a sequence of events.  You may need to model telling what the characters are doing as well as what they say.  You can suggest they use a story they are already familiar with and change the plot.  When working with a group, it becomes a running story as each student takes a turn.

I added   Storytelling characters: for download on the expressive sentences page.



  1. andrea

    The Walgreens in my area has these magnetic play sets with different themes…fairy tales, paper dolls, animal stories, sports, etc. They would work great with this idea!

  2. cjmonty

    I think I will have to look those up. They certainly would be more durable.

  3. Jill

    I just read your post and did this with a few students last week to increase spontaneous productions of target phonemes. I use story grammar marker to help students tell a narrative using the various story elements. It is a great tool!!!!

  4. cjmonty

    I haven’t heard of “Story Grammar Markers” in our area. That does look like a good tool. We’ve used a Rubric to get students to think of the elements of a story. The markers look a little more kid enticing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: