Children love stories. They can remain enthralled for hours listening to fantastic, scary or funny tales. Stories are an important part of bedtime and some kids can’t go to sleep without their bedtime story. Given this love for storytelling, it’s not hard to understand why storytelling is an effective tool for teaching English to early foreign language classes.
Why should teachers use stories? Stories use an all-inclusive approach to language learning that emphasizes children’s involvement with the use of foreign language. Young learners also learn language unconsciously so teachers should formulate activities that will foster this kind of acquisition. Stories offer a world of supported meaning that kids can relate to. Teachers can use stories to help children practice their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
Also it is important to note that telling a story is genuinely a communicative practice. It caters to an individual learner while still creating a sense of community in the classroom. Story time also creates a safe space for young learners and provides listening experiences with reduced anxiety.
Here are some recommended storytelling techniques for teachers.
- Read slowly and clearly to give your students more time to really listen and relate to stories they hear. Be ready for questions and comments from pupils about the story. Make comments about the pictures or illustrations used in the story to hold the students’ attention.
- Use gestures and make sound effects if you can. Children enjoy an entertaining story. Adding facial gestures or even varying the tone of the voice will add to the enjoyment. Use different voices for various characters to differentiate them from one another. This will also help convey the story’s meaning.
- Encourage your pupils to take part in the storytelling. Invite them to participate by pausing the story and asking them about the story or what they think will happen next. Repeat key words and phrases and ask them to join in.
- Be ready to repeat and expand the story. This will give you a chance to explain the meaning of the story and assess the children’s answers. You may need to walk around the classroom and show the pictures and repeat the text again.
- Before you begin story time, you need to capture the children’s attention. Introduce the story in an interesting way and try to connect the story to the children’s own experiences. You can preteach new vocabulary words or expression if there are key words that cannot be inferred from the text of the story. Give students time to think about what might happen in the story. This will help build critical thinking skills.
- Story telling is a fantastic teaching tool for young learners. It provides a teaching platform, gets children involved and, most importantly, offers loads of fun.