Children love stories. They love to listen to them, read them and write them. Use stories in your classroom to engage students, improve reading and writing skills and develop your students' imaginations and increase their knowledge. Make time every day to read a story to your class, either a short story for younger students, or a chapter of a longer story for older students. Use storytelling activities to motivate your students.
Other People Are Reading
Talk About Stories
Talking about stories helps students to develop their language skills. It gives them an opportunity to express their ideas and responses to literature and to hear others' ideas which may then develop their own ideas and thinking. When you have read a story to your class, let them spend time talking about it. Ask students questions about the text: what did they like? Has anything similar ever happened to them? Why do they think characters behaved as they did? Students will often respond with anecdotes and examples from their own lives. Discussing the story in depth helps students to construct a deeper understanding of the story.
Write A Letter
Ask students to choose a character from the story. They need to write a letter to that character. What the content will be will depend on the character and on the story. They can use this opportunity to ask any questions to find out more about the characters and their feelings and motivations. When everyone has written a letter, give out the letters to the class and have everyone write a reply. This activity will help your students to relate more deeply to the characters in the story and will also develop their own ideas and imaginations.
What Happens Next?
Share a story with your class. Stop reading when you get to a problem in the story; when a character is faced with a decision or a dilemma. Have the class discuss what the character should do next. They then write the next part of the story based on their own ideas of what the character should do. Share the stories with the class, then finish the original story and compare your students' ideas to what actually happened.
Choose a book with striking illustrations. Anthony Browne's books such as "Gorilla" or "The Tunnel" work particularly well with this activity. Share the book with students. Photocopy some of the illustrations, enlarge them and stick them up at various points in the classroom. Separate the class into small groups. Each group goes to one picture and spends some time looking at the picture, discussing what they can see and how it makes them feel. One person in the group writes notes. The groups then move on to a different picture until every group has visited every picture. Groups feed back to the rest of the class. This activity helps students to explore their own responses to a story and gives them the opportunity to interact with other students, listening and learning from each other.
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