Published 1st March 2019


Teaching children can be a rewarding but incredibly challenging task. Between making the lessons interesting and keeping the children’s attention for longer than five minutes, there’s a lot for teachers in the Young Learners’ classrooms to think about. Making lessons interactive and engaging the learners’ senses with colour, texture, sound and activities is vital if you are to be successful.

Storytelling is one of the oldest and most effective tools for teaching Young Learners. It’s the way lessons have been passed down from generation to generation and what child doesn’t love a good story? It’s an effective way to keep them entertained, introduce language and celebrate different cultures.

Four tips for using storytelling in the Young Learners classroom

1. Anchor the learning in the story

A story can be used as a foundation for introducing different learning activities in the classroom. By centring everything around the story, learners will engage more effectively with it. They can sing or dance or complete a puzzle or paint masks of the different characters. There are many ways in which to bring it to life and by building elements into the story, your teaching opportunities are endless.

2. Be dramatic

Not everyone is a born storyteller, but learning how to put on humourous voices, accents and even actions such as funny walks can take a story from boring to captivating in seconds. Children love a bit of drama and channelling your inner child and being over the top in your storytelling, will bring success in the classroom.

3. Build suspense

No matter what age we are, a story with suspense will grip us to our very core, leaving us enthralled and dying to know more. The same can be said for using story time in the classroom and by pausing to ask the learners what they think might happen next, you create an environment where they will hang on your every word.

4. Tell the same story more than once

By repeating the same story, learners will derive the most benefit from it as hearing it only once may not necessarily mean uptake. When retelling the story, get the learners involved by using puppets to act out some of the characters, or holding up pictures when a specific word is mentioned. There are many fun ways to integrate different learning techniques into the same story and when children understand the story they will benefit from it the most.

Storytelling is an effective tool in the Young Learner classroom and teachers who spend time building on stories and creating fun and interactive lessons around it will reap the benefits of happy, engaged and captivated learners who enjoy every lesson.