Storytelling is not only a means to an end but an end by itself. We do

2.1. OBJECTIVES Conceptual objective: to enumerate ways in which story-telling as a technique promotes learning at different ages Procedural objective: to use a wide range of story-telling techniques for teaching Attitudinal objective: to reflect about the possibilities of telling stories

2.2. STORY TELLING. INTRODUCTION Storytelling is not only a means to an end but an end by itself. We do not tell a story only to help our students learn words or sentences, but also to enjoy and receive oral input. When teaching initial stages the most important source of input is the teacher. As a second objective we could also introduce stories with specific vocabulary and/or other L2 elements. However, we should keep in mind that storytelling is not only an excuse to learn new words. Or to play at the end of the session on a Friday. It is a form of communication using a new language. It is also a way to approach the students’ background knowledge, their schemas and thoughts, combining them with the classroom reality. 2.3. WHY USE STORY TELLING AT ALL? First, narration as a genre is one of the first children in their first language listen to, enjoy and produce, so that we assume, perhaps erroneously, that if a wide background knowledge on this particular area is already developed, the process of communication will be ‘easier’, as there has been a familiarization in previous stages. That is, the children will be able to concentrate their efforts on the L2, and not on trying to use the language for a function they have not ‘arrived at’. Second, stories are as universal as TV or jeans, and even if there might have been some differences, they are being shortened with the mass media and government policy. Probably cultural distance would be a problem if our cultural distance were bigger. Third, story-telling is one of the most ancient and enjoyable ‘techniques’ which mothers use to introduce the language and the culture to their children, and at the same time it is one optimal way to keep children’s attention and interest . Fourth, story telling preserves all the major theories that explain L2 acquisition and support a teaching approach, such as the use of comprehensible input, use of repetition and memorization as a learning tool, starting from the interests and background knowledge of the students and use of contextual cues -in other words, a relevant context- as this information is used to elaborate and adjust the most ambiguous aspects of the stories so that the remembrance and recall are more effective. Fifth and last but not least, stories have the potential to create a very wide linguistic and extralinguistic context which makes use of textual elements such as reference, deixis, time and place

clauses, and discourse elements such as monologic and dialogic ‘interactions’, oral/written distinctions and story grammars. 2.4. WHAT TO DO BEFORE/ DURING / AFTER TELLING A STORY? ƒ

give students drawings so they order them before and after the story


show them a drawing for them to imagine what is the story about


mime it with students


write it down on strong paper, cut it and give one line to each student, so that they lift their line when you say it


write it down and cut it, and then give the whole disorganized story so students can short it out while they listen to it


assign one word to each student and they stand up whenever they listen to that word


ask questions so that students may create part of the story (they can use their first language)


write down some vocabulary and their drawing so that they can link word and picture


after telling it several times, introduce very easy errors (on main words) so that they can tell you: ‘you are wrong’


tell students to tell it using visual support and some vocabulary


tell students to draw a different ending


tell students to imagine what each character would say at a given situation. (if you do it in Spanish you may also check they are understanding)



Every morning, Mr Pig goes to play golf, his favourite sport. That day was marvellous and Mr Pig got up very happy. (SHOW THE PICTURE) ‘Goodness me!’ -said Mr Wolf who was walking .(SHOW PICTURE) ’What’s this sport?’ ‘Golf!’ - answered Mr Pig - ‘This sport is very healthy (good for you) and very calm /relaxed. I’m going to show you how you must play!’ Then he took a ball (TAKE A BALL) and put it on the ground ( PUT THE BALL ON THE GROUND) and... Zas! Mr Pig gave a strong blow to the ball and threw it very far (GIVE A BLOW TO BALL -EXAGERATE- AND PUT YOUR HAND ON TOP OF YOUR EYES, TO SUGGEST HOW FAR IT GOES) But the ball hit a tree ( HIT TREE WITH BALL) and it bounced very fast ; then the ball hit the eye of Mr Wolf, who saw a lot of stars. ( BALL HITS MR WOLF EYE) -’Oh’ - exclaimed Mr Pig -’ I’m sorry, I’m going to try it again’. Mr Pig raised the golf club (RAISE GOLF CLUB) and then , when he was going to throw the ball far, far away, was a pity, because Mr Wolf was behind Mr Pig and...he received a strong blow on his nose. Mr Wolf fell on his back ( PUT HANDS ON NOSE AND -?- FALL ON YOUR BACK) It was the end, because Mr Wolf began to run: ( RUN) -’Ahhhhh.....! you said this sport wasn’t dangerous, but a little more and you kill me. Mr Pig didn’t know what to say.

LEVEL: First cycle. (1º or 2º). The vocabulary is somewhat complex, specially the verbs representing actions. MATERIAL: 1. Pictures of Mr. Pig and Mr. Wolf. 2. Pictures representing ( + photocopies): Mr. Pig takes a ball and puts it on the ground. Mr. Pig raises the golf club. Mr. Pig gives a strong blow to the ball. Mr. Wolf sees a lot of stars. 3. Pictures on the blackboard: ball, golf club, ground, star, to blow.

PROCEDURE: A. Before the story 1. On the blackboard we make the following pictures: a ball, a star, a golf club and the action representing the verb ‘blow’. The words are repeated in chorus. We write the following sentences: -Mr Pig takes a ball and puts it on the ground - Mr Pig raises the golf club - Mr Pig gives a strong blow to the ball. - Mr Wolf sees a lot of stars. Each sentence can be mimed so that students understand the general meaning. 2. Total Physical Response (T.P.R). Using imaginary objects, the teacher speaks and does the actions of the story. Students can imitate the teacher. Once they have asociated the meaning the teacher speaks and the student mime the actions. - take a ball - put the ball on the ground - raise the golf club - give a strong blow to the ball - receive a strong blow in your eye - receive a strong blow in your nose - see a lot of stars 3. Students are introduced to the different characters of the story. B. During the story 1. The first time we tell the story it is essential not to forget the gestures and point to the character speaking at that moment, using the drawings with the different characters. 2. The second time we can be less explicit, but we should still use the pictures. As an option the class can be divided in groups who have the photocopies representing the different parts of the story (pictures and written sentences). They can identify them while we tell the story. As a second option all the students are given all the sentences, shorting them out while they listen to the story. 3. We tell the story again, and two volunteers represent it. 4. This time students stop the teacher when he makes an error, telling him: STOP, and giving a correct answer. Every morning Mr Wolf goes to play golf, his favourite sport.

That day it was raining and Mr Pig got up very sad. -Goodness me! said Mr Wolf who was walking. What is this sport? -Golf!- answered Mr Wolf; this sport is very healthy and very calm. - I’m going to show you how you must play’. Then he took a ball and put it on the table, and zas! Mr Wolf gave a strong blow and threw it very far. But the ball hit a tree and it bounced very fast, then the ball hit Mr Wolf in a leg.... C. After the story 1. ‘What do they say?’ They should link the pictures of the main characters with the sentences they say, already written down. Correction should be individual, not class-fronted. They ought to check their answers first with their classmates. 2. ‘Easy words to learn. Write’ 3. ‘Remember and Change’ 2.6. A DIFFERENT KIND OF STORIES 2.6.1. THE WEREWOLF Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen a monster? Have you ever been attacked?... It was night and there was a full moon. A boy and a girl were walking down the main street of a small town in Jaen. The wind was whistling through the trees and the couple were walking as fast as they could towards the church at the end of the street. Suddenly a huge shape -half man, half wolf -rushed out of the shadows. The girl was killed instantly by a blow from the creature’s enormous paw. The boy screamed and ran towards the church, but he never reached his destination. How old is the girl? How old is the boy? Are they students or do they work? What is their relationship? What do the trees look like? What colour is the monster? etc...

2.6.2. Draw a circle on the board. Build it into a character with the help of your students: Is it a man? a woman? Does it have a moustache? Does it have dark hair? does it have a big nose? 2.6.3. Kitty Redcape’s story. One day, on her way to visit her grandmother, Kitty Redcape saw a handsome prince

So he rode away, sadder, but alas, no wiser.

‘Oh, shut up, you silly old woman,’ he retorted.

The bear, who by this time was fed up with being ignored, followed the prince into the forest and ate him.

At that moment the prince rode by and charged into the garden

‘I’m sure you were,’ said the prince. ‘Come on, let’s get away from that silly old lady and go to my castle for lunch’.

‘I have come to save you, young maiden’, he cried, knocking the grandmother down in his haste to be by her side

Her heart skipped a beat or two, but the prince hardly noticed her as he rode by.

‘Hey! Watch what you are doing! said Kitty Redcape’s grandmother.

‘Thank you for coming to our rescue,’ Kitty Redcape said to the prince, ‘though I have a gun and was quite capable of looking after myself.’

‘That silly old lady is my grandmother, actually’, said Kitty, ‘and I didn’t like the way you spoke to her. And now that I can see you close to, I can’t imagine why I thought you were good-looking. Why don’t you rejoin your hunt?’

2.6.4. Mime story ‘We are sitting in a boat, a small rowing boat. Let’s row. We row and row. Now what’s that? A bird. A big bird flying over the water. Now it’s gone. We keep rowing. Can we see the bird? No, no bird. This is hard work. Row, row. We’re tired. We row slowly. There’s the shore. Let’s go home now. We are so tired we’re dragging our feet. We’re tired. We want to go to sleep. We lie down on our beds. We close our eyes, and ... shhhhhhhh.........we’re assleep’. 2.6.5. Sort it out: Find out the two titles: Devi


tree and



If the students are not able to give the two titles, help them.1 Then give them these two texts, and let them work in pairs. You can tell them to find cues in the text, such as pronouns, topics, etc. Five hundred years ago, a young girl called Devi lived in a town in the mountains in India Taffy was a thief Her family’s house had a big garden Sometimes Devi and her friends had picnics or played games together there. Juke was a thief, too. One day Jake saw some pictures in the newspaper. ‘There are some diamonds in one of the rooms of the big house on the hill,’ Jake said. Sometimes she sat and read her book under the trees.


The Thieves Devi and the tree

‘Let’s go to the house tomorrow night. Let’s steal the diamonds!.’ There were some beautiful trees in the garden, but one was Devi’s special tree. ‘Good idea! said Taffy. ‘We are going to be rich!’ 2.6.6. The dragon The teacher tells the children a story that leads to an argument. When the story reaches a critical point the children continue writing who said what. Set up the situation and put the children in groups of three. Get them decide who is going to be the dragon, the girl and the boy, and tell the story. Remember to describe the place and the personalities of the characters. Build up the suspense, until the girl enters, and then say, in a non-story-telling voice Now write what the girl said. Give the ‘girls’ some time to write what they say, and continue with the rest of the characters. The groups then practice their dialogues and then perform, as dramatically as possible, for the rest of the class. Story Outline:

THE DRAGON A story about two children and a dragon. Two children had to walk through a dark wood to go to school. Problem -the wood had a dangerous dragon in it. The dragon was only frightened of one thing -a whistle. The children always took a whistle - no problem. Walking along peacefully -suddenly a terrible noise -the dragon! ‘Give me the whistle’ -looked in the bag - not there! The dragon came closer. The girl said... The boy said... The dragon said...

2.6.7. Another Story THE CHOCOLATE CAKE A story about Mark, his friend, his sister Sue, and his mother. Sue’s birthday -mother made a beautiful chocolate cake -put in the fridge for Sue’s birthday party. Mark and his friend came home from playing football -tired, dirty, and very hungry. Opened fridge -saw cake - took a knife -cut a small slice each - ate it - delicious - another slice and another... Door opened -mother came in -boys had their mouth full - shut the fridge door. The mother said... Mark said... His friend said... The mother said... Just then Sue came home. Sue said... The boys said... The mother said... Sue said...

2.6.8. The Pied Piper

The Pied Piper

Once upon a time there was a town called Hamelin. The people in the town had a problem: the town was full of rats! There were rats in the street, in the houses, in the schools, in the shops, even in their beds! “We must get rid of the rats!” The people said. But how? Then, one day, a strange man came to the town. He wore a tall hat and had a flute. “I can get rid of the rats”, he said. “What will you give me if I take them all away?” “Lots of money!” said the people. So the Pied Piper started to play his flute. Strange music came out of the flute, and soon rats came out of all the shops, houses and schools. The road was full of rats! They all followed the Pied Piper. The Pied Piper led the rats: Over the bridge Up the hill Down the hill Round the castle Along the road Past the little house Through the garden of the big house Into the wood Out of the wood And into the river

(Phillips, 1993: 29)

2.6.9. Stories on a theme Choose a general theme -for example summer holidays, witches... and write it in the middle of the blackboard. Ask the children to draw pictures connected to the title and stick them up on the board. (If you don’t want to loose too much time, collect newspapers and magazines and let the children choose from the pictures). Put the children in groups and tell them to invent a story, using the pictures they choose from the board.

2.7. EVALUATION SHEET Name of activity Skills practised

Level of activity


- Information gap - Choice - feedback

Preparation Time


Realisation Time

‘learnt’/’revised’ things Appropriate (Would you use it?)

2.8. BIBLIOGRAPHY CAMERON, L. 2001. Teaching Languages to Young Learners. Cambridge: C.U.P. ELLIS, G. & BREWSTER, J. 1991. The Storytelling Handbook for Primary Teachers. Harmondsworth: Penguin English. KLIPPEL. F. 1984. Keep Talking, Cambridge: C.U.P. LUQUE, G. 1996. “Create your own stories for the L2 Classroom: here are many reasons to do so’ In S. Hengge Cardell (ed.) Actas XII Jornadas Pedagógicas para la Enseñanza del Inglés. Granada: GRETA. 55-61. LUQUE, G. 2001ª. “La historia corta para evaluar la competencia oral en el aula de inglés” Cultura y Educación, 2: 195-212. LUQUE, G. 2001b. “Oral short stories as a vehicle for communication” The Journal of English and Foreign Languages. June Issue: 18-30. LUQUE, G. 2001c. Aprendiendo inglés mediante historias. Jaén: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad. MORGAN, J. & RINVOLUCRI, M. 19932. Once upon a time. Cambridge: C.U.P. PHILLIPS, D., BURWOOD, S. & DUNFORD, H. 1999. Projects with Young Learners. Oxford: O.U.P. PHILLIPS, S. 1993. Young Learners. Resource Books for Teachers. Oxford: O.U.P. PHILLIPS, S. 1999. Drama with Children. Oxford: O.U.P. REILLY, V. & WARD. S.M. 1997. Very Young Learners. Oxford: O.U.P. REVELL, J.& NORMAN, S. 1997. In Your Hands. London: Saffire Press RODARI, G. 19852. Gramática de la Fantasía. Introducción al arte de inventar historias. Barcelona: Hogar del Libro. RODARI, G. 1987. Ejercicios de Fantasía. Buenos Aires: Aliorna. ROTH, G. 1998. Teaching Very Young Children –Pre-school and Early Primary. New York & London: Richmond Publishing. SALABERRI, S. & ZARO, J. 1993. Contando Cuentos. Madrid: Heinneman. TAYLOR, E.K. 2000. Using Folktales, Cambridge: C.U.P. VALE, D. & A. FEUNTEUN. 1995. Teaching Children English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chaps. 7 to 10: 91-126 & Resource File. ZANÓN, J. 1992. ‘Cómo no impedir que los niños aprendan inglés’. Comunicación, Lenguaje y Educación, 16: 93-110. USEFUL SITES FOR ENGLISH TEACHING (For teachers and students of English) (English now) (A web of online dictionaries) (Disney homepage)


Storytelling is not only a means to an end but an end by itself. We do

2.1. OBJECTIVES Conceptual objective: to enumerate ways in which story-telling as a technique promotes learning at different ages Procedural objective...

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