Published 8th August 2016

When teaching Young Learners, you soon realise that it is necessary to constantly do things to keep your learners’ attention. Your lessons need to be filled with colour, texture, sound and activities to make sure your learners are engaged and learning.

This is why storytelling is such a great tool for the Young Learner classroom. Young Learners love stories and they are a great way to introduce language in a classroom. They are fun and interesting and can involve a range of activities appealing to the different senses.

The key to storytelling, though, is what you do with the story to make it engaging for your learners.

Don’t be afraid to be dramatic

Using different voices for the different characters should be the least you are doing! Be imaginative in your reading and your learners will get more involved. Make sure you use mime, gesture and actions to supplement your words.

Create suspense

Ask questions to allow the learners to predict or respond to the story and use pauses to create suspense.

Tell the story more than once

To get the most out of a story, it is necessary to tell the story more than once. If you don’t, the learners may not fully understand the story and will derive no language benefit from it. However, each time you repeat the story, let your learners do a different activity related to it. This can be games like holding up the correct picture when a vocabulary word is mentioned, acting out the stories with puppets or trying to remember what the characters say at different points in the story.

Build on the story

Use the story as the foundation for other activities which won’t necessarily involve retelling the story. Learners can sing a song or play a game related to the story. Learners can draw pictures or make masks of the characters. Older learners can even write their own stories.

Telling a story to a group of Young Learners is a sure way to keep them quiet, entertained and interested. Stories are a fun way of teaching language and celebrating culture and are an essential part of any Young Learner classroom.